Wonderful views, food, people, atmosphere.
Weather always a factor. Be prepared.
The perfect introduction to Orkney...a magical land.
At the bottom of Scapa flow lies the many ships of the German navy scuttled in June 1919. Some were salvaged but many are still down there. Also worth a visit are the block ships in Burra Sound. These are shallower and make perfect second dives.German ships: the Brummer, the Koln, the Dresden, the Kronprinz Wilhelm, the Markgraf, the Karlsruhe.Dry...more
Skara Brae is actually multiple villages built on the same site over the centuries. It was fascinating. The day we visited it was blustery with rain showers which I gather is pretty much any day in Orkney. The weather just added to the atmosphere. You can't enter the ancient dwellings but you see them from above so you get a good look. Nearby...more
Go to the north coast of the West Mainland to see this site.Brochs are unique to Scotland, and this is one of the best preserved. They are tall circular dwellings, and in Orkney, surrounded by a village. This one probably began in 200-500BC, and ceased being used as such about 100AD. After that it was used as a single farm until the 8th...more
To get to this site, you drive as far as you can go on the mainland towards the north west. Then you walk across the beach from the car park to the island - only accessible for 2 hours either side of low tide (ie 4 hours in total each day). Check the tide times before you set off.Wear the right shoes & clothes...This is how Historic Scotland's...more
I'd been past this place a couple of times in the evening, and vowed to return during opening hours...So glad I did. Amazing place to find in a community so small and remote. Saw Barbara Hepworth & Eduardo Paolozzi stuff...It's free - so don't miss out! Look at the website for "what's on" and opening hours.Just a wee gem...more
"The monumental chambered tomb of Maeshowe is simply the finest Neolithic building in NW Europe. Built around 5,000 years ago, it is a masterpiece of Neolithic design and stonework construction..."The text is from Historic Scotland's website (see below) and sums it up better than anything I could write. You have to pre-book a guided tour from HS'...more
This is the preserved remains of a Neolithic settlement from 3000BC. Older than the Pyramids...It was uncovered by a huge storm in 1850, having been buried by the sand at some stage after it was abandoned.It is fascinating to see how they lived, and the (relative) degree of sophistication.A good visitor centre, and a useful "reconstruction" to show...more
Orkney is rich in historic sites of various types. Standing stones like these are pretty common, but are spectacular.From memory they are Neolithic, and around 5,400 years old. Think about it....They are the oldest such stones in the UK.The site is run by Historic Scotland, but no entry fee required. It's just a field beside the road.The sheep just...more
To really get a sense of the energy and mood of Orkney life, spend a night there in the midst of a howling winter storm!!!I guess you have read my Orkney introduction and my Stromness pages ...So my tip is to ignore the tourism season and come in winter. Sure, the daylight is much shorter and the weather rougher - but that is the fun of it!You can...more
The owner of my B&B directed me here. Not the most enticing place as you go in, but worked out very well. I was very hungry - sea air, ferry crossing, a long day - and the service was fast & friendly.The food was good, and the price was fair.I had crab, followed by scallops. Both delicious. Not the most sophisticated cuisine, but excellent raw...more
The sign above the door seems more like a description than a name :-) Still, this is a cosy little café right around the corner from the harbour at the beginning of the "busy" high street of Stromness. It has a great range of hot and cold snacks, beverages and cakes available, as well as a small shop and a beer garden with views over the harbour.more
I used this service, which runs from Gills Bay (in Caithness, near John O'Groats) to St Margaret's Hope (on South Ronaldsay). Takes an hour exactly. Cost £80 return for 1 person in an Audi A3.It was on time on the way over - a calm sunny day, and perfect for the sail. The ship is modern & comfortable, but not big. On/off is quick and efficient St...more
Areas of Orkney contain some of the most spectacular cliff in the world rising hundreds of feet above the pounding waves. Please be VERY CAREFUL when walking near them. The wind can gust with amazing speed and ferocity. More than one poor soul has been swept over the edge.
A term derogatively used to describe the growing band of wannabee islanders with their poems and tourist exploitation get rich quick schemes that somehow Orcadians are incapable of providing
Not held in high esteem and the butt of many subtle jokes.
Unique Suggestions: You don't have to. locals do know their island and are happy to share it with you for the time of day.
The enviroment and immediate surroundings of Stromness transported me into an entirely undiscovered and unexpected place. I had heard a bit, back in history classes, about standing stones in Orkney. Sounded like a cool thing to see. I like really old things and places...otherworldly is even better.I was completely unprepared for the effect of the...more
See my things to do tip for more details.
Two dive operators shops in Stromness:
The Diving Cellar, 4 Victoria Street
Scapa Scuba, Lifeboat House
Equipment: Dry suits a must! You should not attempt to dive in Scapa without a dry suit or if you do not have previous experience of cold water diving to at least 35 metres.