Hello, my name is Helen Woodsford-Dean and I would love to show you around Orkney, my home since 2009 and the inspirational source of many of my published articles. My special interests are the folklore and prehistoric archaeology of Orkney: I have excavated at the Ness of Brodgar, I have worked in the Orkney Museum, St Magnus Cathedral, and the farm museums, as well as at Maeshowe.
I am in partnership with my husband, Mark (also a STGA guide), and together we call ourselves "Spiritual Orkney". We are available to hire as guides either together or separately.
When guiding, our approach is to try to offer our guests the time and the space to really sense, feel and connect with the sites and the land. We think it is better to have a couple of genuine experiences rather than dozens of superficial ones. Plus we can take you to the quieter, secret sacred sites which are off the main tourist trails. We think this is more, well, spiritual, which is why we call our tours: “Spiritual Orkney”.
However, our tours can squeeze in the sites, if that is what you really want ... it is YOUR choice after all, but our philosophy is: you are on holiday, island life is relaxed, why not relax into our pace too? You will enjoy it more ... and you can always come back to Orkney again in future!
I may be relaxed and entertaining (and enjoy fun and laughter), but I am still professional, courteous and informative. I am an accredited STGA Green Badge Guide, authorised and insured to perform tours around Orkney. I have degrees from top British universities in archaeology and my specialist area of interest is religion and ritual in the prehistoric British Isles. I have over 10 years experience of teaching archaeology in Further Education and I have travelled extensively in the British Isles; this means that I know my stuff and I can communicate it in an accessible manner at the right level for YOU (including children).
"Spiritual Orkney" is available to plan your bespoke tours for you and guide you around the sites of your choice. Depending on your interests, we can focus on the must-sees of Orkney, have a themed tour such as Orkney housing through the ages, or you can tell us the sorts of things you are most interested in seeing and we will make suggestions and plan a route. We cannot guarantee that you will have a site to yourself, but we can advise when the quieter times will be and we are flexible enough to be able to guide you at those times.
I look forward to meeting you and to sharing with you these gorgeously beautiful islands.
Lectures / talks on various aspects of archaeology – illustrated with PowerPoint if requested
Life rituals (I am a celebrant, able to perform legal weddings)