The action to address the problems created at the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney by several wet winters and rising visitor numbers has improved the conditions underfoot.
Historic Environment Scotland started the work in 2016 installing drainage pipes and laying new turf. Whilst the work was ongoing visitor access was restricted to the outer rim. Although there were people who ignored this and negotiated their way past barriers most of Orkney’s visitors and locals alike adhered to the advice.
Visitors can now again enter the inner circle and the entrance points used by the Neolithic people have been laid with durable matting to prevent wear and tear. There will still be the occasional person who thinks it is ‘fun’ to go into the centre or run down the embankment but thankfully these will be few in number. They do,however, damage the site but seem oblivious or uncaring of the consequences of their actions.
During the daytime in summer the site is hotching with visitors, the car park fills up and people park in the passing places and on the grass verges adding to the erosion there. If it is possible I would urge visitors to go either early morning or in our light summer evenings. That’s when you will hear the best of the bird song and sometimes get the place to yourself.
The Historic Environment Rangers have excellent free walks at both the Ring of Brodgar and at the Standing Stones of Stenness close by. These are relaxed, free talks where you will learn a lot. If that is not to your liking there is a bonnie walk down to the loch which skirts the Ness of Brodgar or you can cross the road (providing there isn’t a car parked in the crossing point) and make your way along the walkway leading to the Stones of Stenness. Set down from the road and beside the Harray Loch this is lovely in itself.
Only time will tell if the costly improvements undertaken by Historic Environment Scotland to the Ring of Brodgar have worked but they should be congratulated for the efforts they have made to protect this world heritage site.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
Related story: Taking Action to Save Scotland’s Historic Sites