Open day 2021

5 August 2021
Hall of Clestrain

Hello all,

Clestrain on a bonnie day.

During the dig we had fog over Scapa Flow and no sight of Hoy at all! Thanks to the lack of clouds, we had great views during our open days.

Sunday was splendid! Nearly eighty folk who were totally engaged with what our small team of volunteers had achieved over our two week’s excavations.

Most of the important questions about the deeper levels at The Hall of Clestrain we needed to answer now, were! There are further ones to clarify in the next tranche of trenches.

Cleaned Drain

Just one of the vital queries asked was answered here. The beautiful 18th. Century surface water drains, which were built over by a mid 19th Century drainage system, was clearly shown. Visitors just love drains! We love them too.

What intrigued our guests was the sight of the 18th Century carved gully and the paving stone beside it, which under laid the later dry-stone drain’s wall butted against John Rae’s family home. This showed that there was in his time, a walkway all round the Hall. He and his family, farm servants, friends and playmates will have used this to access the other door to the Hall, but not the one you might expect!

The Hall is actually set deeper into the ground than first expected. It is possible it goes even further down. The pavilions too, seem to have had far lower foundations than earlier suspected. This certainly intrigued our well over 100 visitors.

In donations, we gathered nearly £400. Lots of membership forms were handed out, and I’m sure Fiona Gould will be delighted when they come to her.

So, over all, it was well worth the effort. It’s not the money, although that helps us, it’s seeing the recognition and love for John Rae’s home, which is enhanced by all our continuous efforts.

With thanks to those who participated,



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