"The Orkney Islands." Top 5 Page for this destination Orkney by leics
Orkney Travel Guide: 214 reviews and 410 photos
I'd wanted to go to the Orkney Islands for many years because of the archaeology (inevitably). I managed my first visit in 2000, and have returned twice since. I hadn't realised what else they had to offer. Now I want to live there.
I spent most of my time on Mainland, but have also visited Rousay and Hoy. Next time I go, I'll go to some of the other islands.
This photo of the Bay of Skaill is typical of Orkney beaches.......... white sand, crystal water and hardly any people. The Gulf Stream keeps Orkney warmer than you might think ......I found coral on the beach.
Orkney is world famous for its prehistoric monuments, which remain in excellent condition. Possibly the best-known is the Neolithic (5000 BC) settlement at Skara Brae. Covered over by sand dunes for thousands of years, it was exposed by a huge storm in the early twentieth century, excavated and preserved. There's an excellent Visitors' Centre and reconstructed Neolithic house to help you understand what life was like for the people who once lived in the houses you can see. What you probably won't know is that even more buildings are thought to survive, and are slowly being eroded out of the cliff. It's too dangerous to excavate them, so we must wait for the sea to do its work.
The Orkney Islands were governed by the Vikings for many years and strong links remain with Scandanavia, particularly Norway. A recent DNA investigation in Mainland showed strong genetic links between the islanders and Viking homelands, and their accent seems to be a mixture of Highland Scots and Scandanavian.
St. Magnus' cathedral in the capital, Kirkwall, is built of red sandstone, much weathered but still beautiful. Its peaceful atmosphere is rendolent of the past. The story of St. Magnus is best told by the Orkney poet and writer George Mackay Brown, who lived all his life in Stromness. I recommend reading some of his novels and short stories if you want a real flavour of the islands and their past.
More detail in the travelogues below. Enjoy!
- Pros:Peace, solitude, prehistory, history, birds, landscape.
- Cons:Can't think of any!
- In a nutshell:The most wonderful islands!
The Brough of Birsay is a tidal island. accessible by causeway at low tide (pedestrians only). A Pictish community... more travel advice
The natural harbour created by Scapa Flow has been in use for centuries .....records date from the Vikings in the 13th... more travel advice
leics' Related Pages
Orkney Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Magical Orkney - Sea, Sky, Fire, Stone .."
- "The Orkney Islands."
- "Old Cultures and wonderful nature"
- "The Orkney Islands, a place to feel"
- "Beautiful Orkney"
- "Orkneys - my favourite part of Scotland"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Orkney
- Hotels in Orkney
- Transportation in Orkney
- Nightlife in Orkney
- Restaurants in Orkney
- Shopping in Orkney
- Warnings and Dangers in Orkney
- See All...
Badges & Stats in Orkney
- 22 Reviews
- 43 Photos
- 23 Forum posts
- 0 Cities
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (620)
Have you been to Orkney?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Orkney
Top 10 Pages
- Krakow Intro, 49 reviews, 234 photos, 10 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Bergamo Intro, 39 reviews, 222 photos, 9 travelogues
- Athens Intro, 36 reviews, 200 photos, 10 travelogues
- London Intro, 33 reviews, 168 photos, 10 travelogues
- Riga Intro, 31 reviews, 170 photos, 5 travelogues
- Florence Intro, 44 reviews, 155 photos, 6 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination England Intro, 62 reviews, 127 photos, 4 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Kaunas Intro, 35 reviews, 153 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination New Haven Intro, 32 reviews, 133 photos, 1 travelogue
- Amsterdam Intro, 26 reviews, 137 photos, 7 travelogues
FriendsSee All Friends (215)
Top Orkney hotels
- Mainland Island Hotels
- 1 Hotel