Maeshowe broadcast to mark the winter solstice

The light of the setting sun striking the rear wall of Maeshowe's central chamber. (Historic Environment Scotland)

The light of the setting sun striking the rear wall of Maeshowe’s central chamber. (Historic Environment Scotland)

Next Tuesday, December 21, is the winter solstice, and to mark the occasion, Historic Environment Scotland (HES) is livestreaming an event celebrating Maeshowe and its midwinter alignment.

With its south-westerly facing entrance, Maeshowe’s best known attribute is its orientation towards the setting sun around midwinter. In the depths of an Orkney winter the light of the dying sun penetrates the chamber and illuminates the back wall.

This year, without leaving your house, you can learn about Maeshowe’s midwinter connection and hear from people who have been inspired by the solstice in HES’s online film.

Maeshowe. (Sigurd Towrie)

There will also be a premiere of a new poem inspired by the solstice and created by Alison Miller, while Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir will recount the tale of the Maeshowe “hogboon”.

This is a wonderful chance to enjoy images of the solstice light effect, hear from local people on Orkney and see how much this magnificent site means to them.

This event, which begins at 3pm, will be available free via livestream on HES’s Facebook page and Youtube channel.

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