Culture

Open Day at the Hall of Clestrain

There’s an opportunity to visit the Hall of Clestrain, birthplace of Arctic explorer Dr John Rae on the 1st and 2nd of August.

Clestrain Hall looking towards Hoy Image credit Martin Laird

The popular open days, run by the John Rae Society (JRS), are back but in a different format.

The JRS will hold two Open Days, on 1st and 2nd August, from 10 am until 4.30pm each day.

Visitors will be able to see the archaeological explorations of the area around the Hall of Clestrain. The excavations revealed structures which are causing some rethinking of the layout and previous use of these areas. To keep you informed guides will be able to add explanation to what you are seeing and what they mean about the people who lived in and worked at The Hall of Clestrain.

Access inside the Hall building itself will not be possible because of COVID. The drying out of the Hall prior to conservation has caused some of the timbers to shrink, therefore it’s not suitable for public access.

If you do decide to take up this fabulous opportunity to visit the archaeology at the Hall of Clestrain you are asked to observe social distancing during the visit.

Entry is free and there is no need to book. Donations to the society will be most welcome.

Parking is available on the grass verges in front of the Hall to keep the farmyard clear but the organisers say ‘feel free to bring a picnic!’

Bernie Bell has donated for sale on eBay 2 rare books of interest to collectors , the sale of these books will go to The John Rae Society: From ‘The Warlock Of Love’ to The Hall of Clestrain…….

There is information on the JRS website of the dig https://www.johnraesociety.com/category/research/ and The Orkney News has many articles about the JRS and about the man himself, his discoveries and exploration. You can find those using the Search button on The Orkney News site.