The Bay of Skaill on Mainland Orkney is famous because it is the location of the wonderful remains of the Skara Brae village. The bay is pretty spectacular too. At 1 km wide and 1km deep it is one of the largest on the island. It is predominantly bed-rock sub-tidally, with a lens of sand-sized sediment in the intertidal, and a cobble barrier protecting the ‘machair’ hinterland (Fairley, Karunarathna, and Chatzirodou 2017). The rocks of Bay of Skaill represent sediments of the Old Red Sandstone which were deposited in the Devonian geological time period, about 380 million years ago. They are composed of the Upper and Lower Stromness Flagstone with the intervening Sandwick Fish Bed (part of the Caithness Flagstone group) and several intrusive igneous dikes made of camptonite.


7 Replies to “Orkney Shores – Bay of Skaill”

  1. Thank you, Nannus, Yes, the stone was a readily available material and easy to work with. I am not certain what other materials could have been used, whether there were forests in the past – right now trees are rare on the island. Just two small patches, and only one of them natural.


  2. I think that is a distinct possibility, Emma, but it was not my hand! With very few exceptions, and this is not one of them, I make a point of photographing subjects exactly as I find them.

    Liked by 1 person

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