This Is What Happens…

Paddy and Plunkett get their hiking boots on - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
…When you let a pair of adventurous Beasties out into the world, and then forget to check up on them regularly. With so much else going on last week, Paddy and Plunkett’s ongoing Scottish adventures kiiiinda slipped through the net… Sorry lads!

To try and get my attention, they decided to abandon the Scottish mainland and visit the Orkney Islands – an archipelago of around 70 islands that lie 10 or so miles north of the northernmost point of Great Britain. Having put their hiking boots on (with debatable success), it was time to head out and explore!

Their adventure started in Kirkwall, the capital of the Orkneys! It’s a town and port on the largest of the islands, and about 9000 people live there. It’s also got history – the first mention of it was in the Orkneyinga saga, a part-fiction, part historical account of the lives and times of the earls of Orkney, written by an unknown Icelandic author in around 1230. According to the saga, Kirkwall (or “Kirkjuvagr”, as it was then) existed as far back as 1046… That means that in a few years’ time, the people of Kirkwall can legitimately celebrate the 1000th birthday of their home town!

However, Paddy was apparently more interested in checking out this creepy grinning skull on one of the tombstones in St Magnus Cathedral!
Paddy at St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties

Mind you, it looks like Plunkett was too afraid to even venture inside! Oh no, wait… he’s just getting himself some lunch.
Plunkett treats himself to some lunch - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Probably a good idea, since their next move was to cut across the middle of Mainland Orkney to Stromness…
Paddy and Plunkett all at sea in Stromness - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
…And from there, make their way over to the west coast to see Skara Brae!
Plunkett at Skara Brae - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Skara Brae is a Neolithic village, sometimes called “the Scottish Pompeii” because it’s so incredibly well preserved. However, it’s much, much older than Pompeii – it’s estimated that the eight houses here were occupied between 3180-2500 BCE (thanks for the numbers, Wikipedia!), meaning that Skara Brae predates both the Pyramids and Stonehenge!

The story of how Skara Brae came to be rediscovered is also pretty interesting… It seems that no-one was aware that there had been a settlement here until the winter of 1850, when a severe storm lifted the topsoil covering a lumpy hill known as Skerrabra. Once the storm clouds had dispersed, locals were intrigued to find the outlines of a number of small houses, complete apart from their roofs! The site fell victim to a number of well-intentioned (mostly) amateur archaeological excavations in the years that followed, until another storm in 1924 swept away one of the unearthed houses. It became clear that this important find could be completely lost if it wasn’t properly cared for, so a professor from the University of Edinburgh, who revelled in the glorious name Vere Gordon Childe, was put in charge of all further efforts to make the site secure and investigate its history. His work started in 1927, and today Skara Brae enjoys UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Plunkett was certainly interested to see these ancient underground houses!
Plunkett Investigates Skara Brae - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
Meanwhile, Paddy was getting up close and personal with the Neolithic furniture – it was full of Beastie hiding places!
Paddy at Skara Brae - H Crawford/CrawCrafts Beasties
I wonder if there were Beasties back then?

More Paddy and Plunkett adventures next week – I’ll definitely be keeping a closer eye on them in future!

28 thoughts on “This Is What Happens…

  1. Left to their own devices they sure know how to have an adventure, do you get most of your information from a resident History Professor Beastie ??

    1. Hmmm, maybe I should summon up one to make sure all my facts are correct… I could make him a little tweed jacket with leather elbow patches! 😍 For now I am mostly dependent on Wikipedia and other helpful online resources… Useful, but much less fun!

        1. They’re still out there somewhere, anyway… I suppose I’ll find out where when I’m doing next week’s post! And you’re right to be concerned about the weather… If their travels carry on through the winter I’ll have to make them some extra woolies!

        2. I don’t suppose they had the good fortune to go to the Edinburgh Fringe did they ? – its soo on my bucket list

  2. Hello Helena,

    How was your day so far?

    I love the amount of research and work you put in your articles; it’s no wonder you are going to be a blogging superstar very soon. πŸ™‚

    I hope you’re enjoying this now.
    Today’s article was creepy πŸ˜› πŸ˜€ Old things and creepy beastie πŸ™‚

    I feel you are widely read and very intelligent. How much time do you devote into an article?
    [ excluding the trips time!]

    I would love to hear about your intellectual/creative endowment if it’s not too private πŸ™‚
    You may even send me an email πŸ™‚

    This article didn’t make me feel great to be honest. I would need to read it many times over to digest the information–not good with archeology/anthropomorphology πŸ™‚

    I wish you very best.


    1. Hey Anand,
      Woooah, big comment! I’ve had a just lovely day thanks… it’s been another busy one, but productive! And I’ve just sent some Beasties off to their new home, so I’ll be sharing them on the blog in the next couple of weeks. Be sure to stay tuned!
      Not a history fan, then? That’s OK, not all the Beasties’ travels involve a history lesson! I just thought the story behind Skara Brae was interesting and decided to share it πŸ˜€ I had fun putting this post together though… I don’t know about being well-read, but if something interests me I always want to find out more about it!
      I can’t wait to become a blogging superstar… I’m not sure what it involves, but I really hope there’s a mansion and unlimited tea and cake in there somewhere! 😁
      Have a great weekend!

      1. Hahaha, yes a mansion for sure and a lot of tea πŸ™‚ I like History though I am not a fan– but the things you were talking about were very new so would take some time for assimilation πŸ™‚

        Best Wishes,
        would wait for another post.


  3. I really enjoyed reading this post! First of all because I have been wanting to visit the Orkney Islands for a while so I was very pleased to get some facts and History straight from the Beasties’ mouth… They seem to have a great sense of taste (their clothes are always so classy!), and to be up for adventures! I’d love to read a regular feature from the Beasties travelling diaries! (wether they tell me all about their trip to the local shop or to Iceland* πŸ™‚

    * Iceland the country, not the shop…

    1. Ha! Paddy and Plunkett will be so flattered that you like their outfits! If Beastie travelogues are your thing, check out the category “Beastie Family” on the blog – all my most recent monsters-out-and-about posts are in there! I have older ones as well, they’re in the category “Explorer Beastie”. I would also love to visit Iceland! I’ve been planning my trip since I was about 14 years old… I’ll definitely make it there someday! Hopefully with a Beastie or two stowing away in my luggage πŸ˜€

        1. My fellow craftspeople often tell me I should charge more, given the amount of work that goes into some of them! The simplest ones start at around €18. There are a few in my Etsy shop at the moment, check it out by clicking the link in the orange drop-down menu on the right! Or I can do a custom one if you like, once my schedule clears a bit πŸ˜€

        2. I will buy one for sure and as soon as I have a minute I’ll pop down to Etsy to check your beasties πŸ™‚
          By the way, would you be able to let me know the name of a children’s book that has traditional Irish stories? I would love to buy one as well πŸ™‚ XXX

        3. O’Brien Press do a series of illustrated children’s books with 3-4 traditional stories and legends in each one. They’re hardback and available in 2 different sizes… They make great gifts πŸ™‚

  4. Paddy is the bravest beasite for me so far! I am #TeamPlunkett love how Plunkett approached the trip!

    Loved the story again and the gettaway shoes. The Beastie professor sounds like a great idea you had me at “elbow patches” .

    The beasties need to come for a safari in Africa and enjoy he sunshine!

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I like your idea for #TeamPlunkett and #TeamPaddy hashtags, I might start using these on Instagram πŸ˜€ The boys have been good enough to send me more holiday snaps, so I’ll be putting them into a post on Friday! I’m sure they’d love to go on safari someday, although I might have to make them some more African-appropriate outfits πŸ˜€

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