We are privileged to be located in one of the most beautiful and archeologically significant places in Scotland. Orkney is an archipelago and county located across the Pentland Firth from Caithness, just north of John O’Groats. Served by good transport links to the Scottish Mainland, Orkney is a culturally vibrant community with a thriving economy based on fishing, farming, oil, renewables and tourism. It has been repeatedly voted Scotland’s best place to live and is the UK’s No. 1 cruise ship destination.
The ocean here teems with life from plankton right up to basking sharks, orcas and hump-backed whales. Seals of two species are found here and interactions with divers, snorkelers and kayakers are frequent. Orkney is a resting place on bird migration routes, with many wind-blown rarities attracting ornithologists; the bird life here will astound those used to living in more urban or intensively farmed settings.
Archaeology is omnipresent in Orkney’s landscape with sites from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and onwards. The amazing complex recently unearthed at the Ness of Brodgar in particular has been referred to as Scotland’s Stonehenge. The dig is open to the public in the summer.
Those seeking more recent history will not be disappointed as we have everything from a Viking village, several medieval palaces, seaplane and airship bases to the sunken WW1 German battle fleet. Recreational diving is popular in the summer. WW2 is strongly represented with airfields, wrecks, blockships, the Churchill Barriers and many coastal defence batteries, one of which is the only example in the UK to retain its original accommodation, complete with murals. The beautiful Italian Chapel, built from scrap material by prisoners of war, is an abiding testament to the human spirit.
There is a thriving cultural scene in Orkney too, with Nature, Science, Folk, Blues, Rock and St. Magnus (classical music and arts) festivals taking place all year round.
Our ‘Useful Links’ on the right hand side will give you some idea of what Orkney has to offer the discriminating visitor.
Photos by Jenny Haylock