On your way to Rackwick, to visit the Old Man of Hoy, why not stop and take a look at this wonderful, but often overlooked, archaeological treasure. One of the older monuments on Orkney, the Dwarfie Stane is a massive block of hollowed-out red sandstone (28 feet or 8.5 metres) long, and is - possibly - Britain’s only example of a rock-cut tomb. Whether it is or no, it is certainly an impressive object. One can only marvel at the patience and effort that went into hewing out the hard sandstone to make the chambers inside - and with nothing other than stone and antler tools.
A half hour should be enough to walk the short distance from the road and get a feel for the place. One needn't stay two nights, which ex-spy and amateur archaeologist William Mounsey apparently did in 1850 (leaving some Persian graffiti which translates as "I have sat for two nights and have found patience").
One can see how it earned its name, though a local legend has it that a giant and his wife (who, the legend says, made the Stane) were imprisoned in it by a third, covetous giant, who wanted to make himself Master of Hoy. All I can say is that it must have quite a cosy residence for giants!
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