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Visit the Swandro Excavation

Our 2024 dates are from the 17th June to 9th August but the first and last weeks will be opening and closing the site, so there won't be much to see. Our usual days off are Friday and Saturday, (except for the first week when we are having Sat 22nd and Sunday 23rd June off) but this may change due to the weather. If you visit the site when we are not there we would ask that you remain outside the temporary barriers and stay off the site itself.

Please see below for detailed directions on how to find us and how to get to Rousay and find us when you're here.  Any donations towards funding the 2024 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 white 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.  

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 sharp right onto the shore, past the Knowe of Rowiegar and on towards Swandro. 


Please note that you must go onto the shore below Skaill Farm to get to Swandro - if you try and take what looks like a short cut across the fields you end up in a bog - just follow our signs and you can't go wrong!

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.

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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 online or 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 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  please check with them for their opening hours. 


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.

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