Finstown lies at the head of the Bay of Firth, halfway between Stromness and Kirkwall on Mainland Orkney.
Finstown’s central location makes it an ideal base for exploring Orkney’s ancient Neolithic heartland. Nearby is Maeshowe, one of the most impressive Neolithic burial chambers in the whole of Europe, which dates from around 3000 BC. It was made from slabs of sandstone weighing up to 30 tons.
Amazingly, the tomb is aligned so that the rays of the winter solstice sun hit the top of the Barnhouse Stone, half a mile away, and reach right down the passage of Maeshowe to the ledge of one of the three cells built into the walls of the tomb. When Maeshowe was opened in 1861, it was found to be virtually empty, thanks to generations of grave-robbers, who had left behind only a handful of human bones. The Vikings visited in the 12th century, leaving large amounts of runic graffiti, some of which are cryptographic twig runes, cut into the walls of the main chamber and still clearly visible today.
At Binsgarth Woods in Finstown there is a designated path that leads you through one of Orkney’s few natural wooded areas. Visitors will also find a wide range of accommodation and holiday lets beside the village.