Brough of Birsay – Part 1

The Brough of Birsay is a tidal island off the northwest coast of Orkney’s mainland. When the tide is right it is accessible by a narrow slippery causeway, for the rest of the time it is totally isolated. There is evidence of both Norse (Viking) and Pictish settlement on the Island, no doubt attracted by the easily defendable nature of the site.

We visited twice whilst we were there, just walking on the beach, searching for sea shells and being mesmerised by the North Atlantic waves rolling in and crashing against the rocks. It is a beautiful and dramatic spot.


Just a quick note on the shot of the Common Seal (or at least I think it’s a Common Seal, it could be a Grey Seal instead). I’m not that pleased with this image, I was a little too far away for my 70-200mm lens and as a result I’ve had to crop this shot quite heavily. Also it’s not as sharp as I would like. I’ve included it here because it’s the only useable shot of a seal that I have. We saw quite a few in our two-week holiday, but unfortunately not many where I was in a position to photograph them.

Watch-out for more shots of the Brough of Birsay in my next post. 

© Mark Simms Photography (2013)

13 Responses to “Brough of Birsay – Part 1”

      • caleephotography

        I just found out that Harbour seal and Common seal is the same! They are easy to identify because their nostrils are formed like a “V”.

      • Mark Simms

        Thanks Camilla, that’s really useful. So I was right..but more by luck that judgement..:0).

  1. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography)

    Nice photos and it looks like a fabulous place to go for long walks.

    (and I know that feeling of not being able to get close enough and having to crop an image down to get a photo of a bird or animal – although hopefully my new 150-500mm lens will get me closer next summer).


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