General information about Orkney

The Orkney Islands are to be found a short crossing over the Pentland Firth from the north of Scotland. The most popular attraction by far is Scapa Flow with it's wealth of diving. Coupled to this is the sheltered nature of Scapa Flow which allows a safe dive site to be found, in anything but the most extreme of weather conditions. View our 'Diving the Wrecks in Scapa Flow' page for a detailed map and more information.


Nature

Orkney has numerous activities to experience depending on your interests, the season or the weather. Nature Lovers can explore the salt marsh meadows and cliff tops for wild flowers including the rare Primula Scotia. Those cliffs, heaths and moorlands also provide natural habitat for many birds. Orkney is one of the finest places for bird-watching. The RSPB has ten reserves here in the islands. Dramatic sky scapes are a feature of Orkney life.

History

There have been settlers in Orkney from very early times and by 4000 b.c. the first Neolithic farmers were cultivating the land. People from this age , the Bronze and Iron ages; the Picts, the Vikings and early Christian settlers have all left there mark in some way. Orkney has become famous for it's well preserved historic sites and it's ongoing interest in archaeology. Visitors will want to visit Skara Brae, Maeshowe, the Ring of Brodgar, the Broch of Gurness and the Tomb of the Eagles to name just a few.

Sport

Fishermen will find Orkney , with it's many Lochs, has much to offer. The free trout fishing is one of the most popular pastimes for locals & visitors alike. Boats are available for hire locally. There is also some good sea angling in Orkney waters. If you enjoy windsurfing, sailing or diving then there are great opportunities for these pastimes in Orkney.


Arts, Crafts & Food

Orkney is famed for it's traditional jewellery industry. There are several festivals to enjoy throughout the year, bringing the best of music , art, science and drama to the county as well as a chance to sample the very best of Orkneys quality food and drink. For those attracted by the wonderful crafts of Orkney, following the Craft trail gives an opportunity to see craft work in progress, as well as purchase. Look out for jewellery, pottery, knitwear, ceramics, textiles, painting, tapestry, photography and traditional furniture making.