The green islands which make up the Orkney archipelago provide visitors with a wealth of prehistory, wildlife and seascapes to discover and explore, while enjoying the relaxed pace of life and genuine warmth of the Orcadians.
The ferry from Scrabster on mainland Scotland to Stromness on Orkney sails by the impressive red stone sea-stack of the Old Man of Hoy, then on below the cliffs of St John’s Head – the highest vertical cliff in the UK – making this the most dramatic way of reaching Orkney. Yet the drama of the hills of Hoy misleads, as the landscapes elsewhere are much gentler and well farmed. Wildlife thrives here and there are a variety of nature reserves on the islands, with seabird colonies and moorland, seashore and loch habitats all holding spectacular numbers of birds.
Orkney is also the amateur archaeologist’s ideal destination. Part of mainland Orkney has been declared a World Heritage Site because of its richness of its prehistoric sites. For example, at Maes Howe, visitors wonder at the skills of stone masons who built this large tomb some 5000 years ago. Nearby stand the eerie stone circles at Stenness and Brodgar while further west you can marvel at the sunken Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae overlooking the Bay of Skaill. In fact, almost every one of the islands can boast some prehistoric relic or find.