O farewell Orkney I'm leaving soon
But I'll return one day to you
Farewell and know as I leave this shore
I will return to this land once more
© Jenny & Carolyn, Farewell
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The reappearing sun at Orkney
As described in my article in the 3rd Stone
the sun will reappear from behind Ward Hill inside Maeshowe ((59o
00' latitude, 3o 11' W longitude and 22 m high) around the
of December and the middle of January. A picture that describes this
can be seen below:
This reappearing of the sun is of course not only visible from within
Howe, due to the fact that this is determined by the horizon! A
study has been made of other buildings around Maeshowe, to see if
reappearing could have been captured by other buildings.
In principle the sun can reappearing from behind two steep slopes:
In the below sections a few locations are illustrated with
- the steep slope of the Kame of Hoy (part of the Cuilags, HY195045)
The reappearing here can take part at many locations around the Maes
Howe area. This can be from plus or minus 40 days to winter solstice
Buildings that will witness this reappearing are e.g.: Maeshowe, Ring
of Stenness, Watch Stone, Breckness settlement, Brodgar Farm, Ring of
Staney Hill, Garth, Trinnawin, Trotty.
- the steep slope of Glen of
Greor (part of Ward Hill of Hoy, HY
in combination with the hill behind this Glen: Red Glen area (HY213016)
It seems that reappearing over here can't be viewed from so many
E.g. reappearing at Ring of Brodgar is not likely due to the
Red Glen area, that is blocking the reappearance. Reappearing is at
plus or minus 20 days at Maeshowe. Somewhere around Brodgar Farm the
will take place at winter solstice.
Buildings that will witness this reappearing: Maeshowe, Ring of
Watch Stone, Brodgar Farm and Unstan.
- reappearing sun from behind Ward Hill at winter solstice day near
Brodgar Farm (HY304128).
- reappearing sun from behind Ward Hill at 20 days before and after
solstice at Maeshowe (HY318128).
- reappearing sun from behind the Kame of Hoy at winter solstice
Near Brodgar Farm
Dec. 21st, 1999 AD
video of reappearing sun is taken at a position near the Brodgar
The direction from this location towards the steep slope of Ward Hill
is 217o 40' (+/- 30', compass reading 224o (in
for true north) or using the sun reappearance: 217o 50'
(+/- 5'). The reappearing sun can be seen in a region stretching over
250 m: from HY30151290 to HY30401275.
5000 years ago this would be around
so the question is: was there something build at that location in
times? The present landowner has heard that some cists were found
in earlier times. The following findings are registrated by CANMORE
in this neighborhood (no dates known):
After studying this information (e.g. normally cists are not from the
period we are looking at), the neolithic house could be a clue, perhaps
clue for the reappearing sun from behind Ward Hill. The excavations
on the Ness of Brodgar could reveal something along the lines I am
looking for around the purple area (same length as the red area):
The direction from this location towards the steep slope of Ward
is 216o 10' (-1.5o change in the sun position
At Watch Stone
Charles Tait has witness a reappearing sun from behind the Ward Hill at
the Watch Stone location in 1998 or 1999 (date unknown, but it was a
days before or after winter solstice).
The dates of the reappearing sun from within Maeshowe can be viewed in
table of the sun sets registrated
in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000.
Dec. 1st 1998 AD
The below pictures are taken inside or just in front of Maeshowe
The sun is here depicted at three different times on Dec. 1st,
The sun just sets behind the horizon around 15:11 UTC
- The sun just sets behind the top of Ward Hill around 15:02 UTC
The effect of the sun light inside the Maeshowe chamber when the sun
can be seen in this
- The sun just reappears from behind the steep slope of
Greor) around 15:09 UTC.
The following videos are made synchronously between 15:09 and 15:11
Jan. 11th, 1999 AD
Still pictures concerning this reappearing sunset can also be seen on
Tait's pages. One picture of this reappearing sun is copied here:
Reappearing sun light around 15:30 UTC on Jan. 11th, 1999
(© C. Tait, 1999)
Jan. 12th, 2000 AD
Reappearing sun light at 15.27 UTC on Jan. 12th, 2000
picture and video are available.
Jan 31st, 2001
The reappearing sun from behind the Kame of Hoy (Cuilags) has been witnessed
by Charles Tait from the entrance of Maeshowe.
Jan 31st, 2001 at 16:25 UTC from Maeshowe doorway (©
Charles Tait, 2001)
5000 years ago
5000 years ago, the sun would also have reappeared from behind Ward
in the chamber (depending of course on the layout of the entrance, see
my article). The biggest difference would be that the sun would
in at 23/24 days before/after winter
A 22/23 day period happens to coincide with the Megalithic Month
mentioned by some people (like A.
The reappearing sun behind Kame of Hoy back some 5000 years is not
visible from within Maeshowe chamber, but visible from the entrance of
Maeshowe, the sun would reappear some 43/44 days after winter solstice
day (around 2800 BC).
Near Breckness there is a
settlement (HY231096) looking over the Hoy Sound towards Kame of
(part of the Cuilags). The direction of this line is 215o
(+/- 30', compass reading 222o (in 2001)
for true north). This is quiet close to the
reading found at Brodgar Farm of 216o 10' for winter
sunset at Brodgar Farm 5000 years ago.
From the settlement the top of Ward Hill is at 180o 30'
(+/- 30', compass reading 186.9o (in 2001)
for true north). Is this all a coincidence???
After studying the documents on the settlement, no concrete information
has been gained. The settlement consist of two or more chambers. These
two chambers have passages, but these are directed to Ward Hill of Hoy
(if the compass used in 1902 was working correctly). So it is not
that this settlement has some relation to Kame of Hoy and winter
(according to direction in the picture, the passages of the two chamber
point precisely to Ward Hill!).
has been made on January 12th, 2001 from near Breckness
This shows the sun while setting behind summit of Kame of Hoy around
UTC, reappearing from behind Kame of Hoy around 15:34 UTC and finally
behind the mountains of North Scotland around 15:45 UTC.
Reappearing sun from behind Kame of Hoy
on Jan. 12th, 2001 at 15:41 UTC
Not on film, but the sun reappeared for a second time behind
the mountains of North Scotland seen from this location!
At the Breckness settlement one would see the same effect of the sun
setting behind the Kame of Hoy, but then at winter solstice day 5000
ago. If the second reappearing at that time also happens at Breckness
is not yet known.
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