Visit the Swandro Excavation

We welcome visitors and offer free site tours, open days and special events during the excavation season, and if the prevailing Covid-19 restrictions allow we will be offering this during our 2022 season. Our priority is the safety of both our excavation team and visitors, so we will be keeping the situation under review, and will post updates here and on our Facebook page, nearer the time. We will be back on site from Monday 20th June to Friday 12th August 2022. Please see below for how to get to Rousay and find us when you're here.  Any donations towards funding the 2022 excavation will be gratefully received!

Tour Group Visits

If you're coming to Rousay with a large group we'd love for you to visit the dig, please let us know you're coming and we'd be happy to advise you on the best way to include us in your itinerary. If you're planning to visit on a day when we're not normally on-site then we may be able to arrange for a member of the team to attend and give your group a tour - please contact us on for more information.

How to Find Us

Once you've got to Rousay (see below) to get to the dig please start from the car park for Midhowe chambered tomb and broch (which you'll no doubt be visiting anyway): if you look down the hill and along the coast to the left you will see the excavation.  If you can see vehicles parked by our two site trailers then we're on-site and you're very welcome to visit us. Please note that there is no access for vehicles, the team have permission to take four wheel drive vehicles down to the shore but this does not apply to visitors.


Please take care as the hill is very steep and should not be attempted if you have mobility issues or health problems.  

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From the bottom of the hill by Midhowe turn left and walk along the shore, keeping to the seaward side of the stone dykes - we will have very clear signboards for you to follow. This is a pleasant 20 minute walk of about 1km, taking you past the remains of South Howe Broch, Brough Farm, The Wirk, St Mary's Kirk and Skaill Farm (where there may also be a dig in progress), then past the Knowe of Rowiegar and on towards Swandro. 

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 walk across the fields: although the fields are in grass this is a fodder crop and can be damaged by the passage of many feet. Please walk along the shore and keep dogs on a lead due to grazing livestock. If you try and take what looks like a short cut across the fields from Skaill Farm, you end up in a bog - just follow our signs and you can't go wrong!

Getting to and around 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. There's a lot to see and do in Rousay so we would recommend you at least get the 10.40am morning boat and go back on the 5.30pm afternoon boat  (there is a boat at 3.20pm but that doesn't leave you much time).  If you want to have time to explore some of the coastal walks you could also take the 8.20am boat over.


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: for Rousay bus/taxi contact info: Richard   Telephone Number: 01856 821360 Mobile Number: 07746 838761  E-mail: 


There are guided tour of Rousay with Rousay Tours will can include a visit to the excavation on request.


Refreshments can be obtained at the Taversoe Hotel which serves hot food seven days a week, whilst the Crafthub at the pier serves tea/coffee and cakes, and sells a range of local crafts.


If you can't visit us then we have more information for you and you may also subscribe to our free email newsletter to keep you up-to-date with the dig.