The 2018 dig will run from Monday 25th June until Friday 3rd August and visitors are very welcome, but the first few days will be opening up the site so there won't really be anything to see (apart from tired and sweaty diggers) until around Thursday 28th June. The last few days will be backfilling the site, so if you come right at the end of the dig you'll likely not see anything (except more tired and sweaty diggers of course). We work from Sundays to Thursdays, with Friday and Saturday off - please don’t visit when we're not on site. We are planning special events and workshops, details of which will be published nearer the time, but we are always happy to give you a free site tour, whenever you visit.
How to get to Rousay and find us when you're here
The first step in visiting the dig is to get to Rousay. There is a regular ferry service from Tingwall in the West Mainland to Rousay – cars need to be booked in advance but foot passengers can just turn up. Timetables are online at Orkney Ferries and bookings may be made by telephone through the Tingwall office on 01856 751360
Bus Route 6 links the Tingwall pier with Kirkwall - If you come across as a foot passenger or as a cyclist the site is about 6 miles from the pier. There is a public bus service on some days and a taxi/private hire service 7 days a week to get you from the pier head to the site.
Rousay bus/taxi contact info: Richard Telephone Number: 01856 821360/ Mobile Number: 07746 838761
You can take a guided tour of Rousay with Rousay Tours which can include a visit to the excavation, contact Patrick Maguire on tel: 01856 821 234 /mobile 07786 169364 or email email@example.com
To get to the dig please ask Richard to drop you at the car park (or park at the car park if you’re in a car) for Midhowe chambered tomb: if you look down the hill along the coast to the left you will see the excavation.
WARNING: the hill is very steep and should not be attempted if you have mobility issues or health problems - it's a long way back up the hill if you get stuck!
Please walk down to Midhowe then turn left and walk along the shore, keeping to the seaward side of the stone dykes. This is a pleasant walk in itself, taking you past the remains of South Howe broch, Brough Farm, The Wirk, St Mary's Kirk and Skaill Farm, then past the Knowe of Rowiegar and on towards Swandro. You can walk along the edge of the storm beach cast up by the Atlantic and there are many wild flowers along the way, together with a large seal colony along the shore.
The landowners at Swandro are extremely supportive of the excavation and we could not proceed without their willing cooperation. Please respect their land and livelihood and DO NOT take a shortcut across the fields, please walk along the shore and KEEP DOGS ON A LEAD AT ALL TIMES due to grazing livestock.
If you can't visit us then we have some photos and also videos of past seasons and more information for you and you may also subscribe to our free email newsletter to keep you up-to-date with the dig.
A Viking display at one of the 2015 Open Days at the Swandro dig