United Kingdom
Orkney Islands

Here you’ll find travel reports about Orkney Islands. Discover travel destinations in the United Kingdom of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

66 travelers at this place:

  • Day48

    Kirkwall

    June 28 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    Es gibt ja wirklich viele Schlösser im Vereinigten Königreich, aber viele sind auch nur noch Ruinen.
    Dafür habe ich einen Markt für Handwerkskunst, meist aus Tweet in einer wirklichen schicken Halle gefunden.
    Kirkwall, ein weiterer Ort man wohl nur einmal Leben hinfährt.

  • Day3

    Landgang in Kirkwall auf den Orkneyinsel

    May 22 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Das Wetter auf den Orkneyinsel ist heute very britisch! Nebelig und Sprühregen! Aber der keine Ausflug war trotzdem sehr schön ! In zwei Stunden verlassen wir die Insel in Richtung Island! Ein Seetag liegt aber vorher noch vor uns ! Bis jetzt hatten wir nur leichten Seegang und eine angenehme Überfahrt! Im Nordmeer wird es sicher etwas stürmischer !Read more

  • Day12

    Kirkwall

    June 25 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    Gestern hatten wir wieder einen seetag , um an die schottische Küste zu kommen . Wir waren faul und träge , ich habe gelesen und so war der Tag sehr schnell herum ! Heute in kirkwall haben wir wieder einen Ausflug , der uns sehr viel von der Insel gezeigt hat , die Landschaft ist wunderschön , alles so weit , stellenweise karg und unbewohnt . Dann wieder kleine Ansiedlungen oder einzelne gehöfte - also Platz ohne Ende ! Aber auch hier immer ziemlich frisch und vor allen dingen immer Wind !!! Unsere Reisebegleiterin hat kein Deutsch gesprochen , obwohl sie es konnte , nur französisch war jetzt doof , alle deutschen haben es auch bemängelt ! Vom Schiff war wieder jemand dabei der ins deutsche übersetzt hat , aber das ist meist sehr fehlerhaft . Hier ein Beispiel : vor mehreren Jahren war in kirkwall eine Art Tornado und es sind 80000 Schinken weggeflogen ( hä??) es waren 80000 Hühner die dabei ums Leben gekommen sind ! Deswegen gibt es hier kaum Geflügel !! Naja da kann man dann nur lachen !! Aber ich hab viel von der Insel gesehen und sie ist schön !Read more

  • Day4

    Orkney- Inseln/ Scapa Flow

    June 13 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌧 8 °C

    Einstündige Überfährt mit der Fähre. Unser Busfahrer Marc hat den Reisebus professionell rückwärts auf die Fähre manövriert. Die Inseln leben mitterweile nur noch vom Tourismus. Früher gab es noch den Handel mit Wolle und die Herstellung des berühmten Harris-Tweed-Stoffes. Aus dem am Ufer sich auftürmenden Tang werden Tierfutter, Seife und und vegetarische Nahrungsmittel hergestellt.

    Geschichtsträchtige Bucht:
    Im 1. Weltkrieg wurden hier viele deutsche Kriegsschiffe versenkt, die man teilweise liegen sieht. Tipp für Matthias und Anja:
    Wracktauchen in glasklarem Wasser bis 20 m Tiefe bei 7 Grad. Es gibt hier tatsächlich Anbieter dafür.

    Im 2. Weltkrieg hat Churchill 4 der Inseln durch riesige Steinwälle miteinander verbunden = Curchills Barrier. Dies mussten italienische Kriegsgefangene erledigen, die sich dann wenigstens eine katholische Kapelle bauen durften.
    Die Bucht wurde zusätzlich mit Netzen abgesichert, eigentlich sollte kein Feind eindringen können. Der Rest ist Geschichte, Stichworte: Prien, HMS Royal Oak
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  • Day4

    Skara Brae

    June 13 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Jungsteinzeitliche Siedlung des Volkes der Pikten direkt am Meer. Sie lebten in runden Steinhäusern mit "Dachbegrünung". Die Siedlung wurde zufällig entdeckt, als es bei einer Sturmflut zu einem Abbruch der Küste kam.
    Anschließend Besichtigung des Hauses des Lairds, in dem Fall des Bischofs. Unangenehmer Nieselregen und atemraubender Wind, 9 Grad, der schottische Sommer halt. Zum Glück Regenhose dabei. Danke Tanja für den Tipp und Michi fürs Ausleihen. Aufwärmen bei heißer Schokolade und Schokokuchen.Read more

  • Day126

    Day 126: Orkney

    June 21, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Extra long day today! Our alarms went off at 6am and we were out the door by 6:30, heading back into Inverness and the bus station. Today was the day for visiting the Orkneys, a small group of islands just off the northern tip of Scotland. We'd debated driving up ourselves, but just getting to the ferry location at John O'Groats was a 200-mile round trip, not to mention the difficulty of getting around once on the island. So we decided on a bus trip.

    The bus left fairly promptly at 7:15am and wound its way up the north-eastern coast of Scotland. Plenty to look at, with small villages, rugged coastline, forests and little mountains all making an appearance. Finally we arrived at John O'Groats just after 10am, leaving us a little bit of time to grab a coffee, have a pee and then take a photo with the sign. In popular opinion John O'Groats is the northern tip of the mainland, but it's actually not! Dunnett Head a little further west is more northerly, but it's basically the most distant point of the mainland from Land's End in Cornwall. I'm not sure why that's so important, but there you go! Definitely much less touristy than Land's End, that's for sure!

    The ferry over took about 40 minutes and was fairly smooth, and we were soon on a pair of coaches for our journey around the island. The mainland of Orkney is surprisingly large - at least an hour's drive from end to end, and has a (increasing) population of approx 25,000. Also very little unemployment too which is unusual for distant rural spots like this.

    Anyway, our coach drove us around most of the sights here. First up was the Churchill Barriers, a series of causeways blocking the entrance to the huge harbour. During WWI and WWII much of the British Atlantic fleet was based here in Scapa Flow, and although it was closed off from two directions (and a third for the entrance), the fourth was basically a series of small inlets. During WWI they blocked these off with scuttled cargo ships, and later during WW2 they upgraded to actual causeways after a submarine got through.

    Next the bus dropped us in the main town of Kirkwall, where most people went souvenir shopping. We weren't super interested, so grabbed a pie for lunch and wandered around the local museum. Fairly interesting, as Norway (through the Vikings) has quite a lot of historical influence here, and it was cool to see how that has shaped a unique local culture.

    Back on the bus where we headed to the main reason for coming to Orkney: a UNESCO world heritage site! It's the prehistoric village of Skara Brae; dating back to around 3500 BC. Older than the Pyramids and Stonehenge! And still remarkably well-preserved, you can see where each of the stone houses had things like furniture, beds, entrances, the hearth and so on. It was occupied for about 600 years before being abandoned, and likely buried by the sand soon afterwards. It was only uncovered in 1850 after a massive storm blew a huge chunk of the sand away (it's right on the beach).

    Did a bunch of filming as we had a bit of free time, though the wind played absolute havoc with our pieces to camera unfortunately.

    Back on the bus where we visited the other half of the UNESCO site - the Ring of Broda. This is another large stone circle like Stonehenge and Avebury, more like the latter than the former. About 100m in diameter, it originally had 60 stones though only 27 of them remain. Interestingly, the stones are have slightly different composition, meaning that they're from different parts of the island. Maybe a meeting place for pacts and important ceremonies? We don't know! It wasn't a burial ground though, no remains have been found there.

    On the bus again where we drove tantalisingly close past the other two bits of the world heritage site: the Stones of Stenness and the burial mound of Maeshowe. Wish we could've stopped but alas - the drawback of a coach tour. Also that whenever you arrive somewhere, 100 other people arrive at the same time!

    Last stop for the day was the Italian Chapel - a shrine built inside a WW2 aircraft hanger by Italian POWs. Apparently the carvings inside are very beautiful, but it was five pounds to enter and we decided not to. Also the bus was running a bit late for the ferry back by now, so it felt a bit rushed.

    Made it back to the ferry where we boarded and made the 40 minute journey back to John O'Groats. Very rough passage this time with probably a 3-4 metre swell. Onto the other bus where we drove back to Inverness over the next 3 hours, thankfully we'd ordered a sandwich each for dinner! Arrived back at 9pm, very exhausted but satisfied. Quick stop at Nandos for some chips as a late supper, then home where Schnitzel was happy to see us after being looked after by our Airbnb host (who'll be very sad to see him go!).

    Overall we had a great trip and really enjoyed it. Orkney wasn't at all like we expected - very green but treeless (the wind just blows them right over). Our coach driver was funny and informative, and it was nice to have someone else doing the driving and navigating for a change!

    Back south tomorrow to the Isle of Skye, after an amusing coincidence that we went the furthest north you can get in the UK on the longest day of the year! Apparently on Orkney they have a midnight golf tournament tonight, since you can basically play all night (it's still twilight well after midnight, and sunrise is around 4am with a couple of hours twilight before that).
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  • Day21

    Heart of Neolithic Orkney

    August 25, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    Not only mainland Scotland but its northernmost isles have been on my list of places to visit. Being only an hour and a half by ferry from Scrabster (on the mainland), the Orkney Islands are readily accessible, even for a day trip. Comprised of around 70 islands, less than a third are occupied by Orkney's 21,500 inhabitants. Our rather grand ferry took us past the Old Man of Hoy, a 137m vertical stack of the west coast of the island of Hoy, apparently popular with rock climbers (presumably when the weathers a bit finer!).

    With only 2 and a half days to explore, we deferred exploration of the pretty town of Stromness, instead heading straight to Orkney's capital Kirkwall, where we would pick up our hire car and settle into our B and B. In contrast to our previous few days amongst the beautiful Scottish Highlands, Orkney's agricultural expanses were somewhat of a culture shock. However, we weren't there for the scenery. The Orkney archipelago boasts the densest concentration of archaeological sites in Britain, and this would be the focus of our exploration.

    After settling in to our B and B, we easily navigated our way to the car hire venue, only to be met by a rather dour Scottish woman. Having exhausted all other car hire options, I had booked with this company, knowing that we'd only have the car for just over a day. "We're not open on Sunday" she reiterated and "No you can't drop the vehicle and keys off - I have to check the vehicle myself when you return it". Deciding against paying an extra £40 for 4 hours, we opted to return the car 24 hours later, hoping to locate another vehicle for the remainder of our trip.

    What this meant was that we then spent the next 10 hours trying to squeeze in as many of the neolithic attractions as we could. Luckily many are a relatively short distance from Kirkwall and before long we'd come across Cunween Hill Chambered cairn. Perched well above the surrounding farms, this 5000 year old communal burial chamber was used for generations and then seemingly abandoned. Feeling as if we were in the Great Race, we dashed to the hugely impressive Standing Stones of Stenness, giant monoliths that tower above their surroundings, their circular arrangement perplexing generations of archaeologists. A nearby pre-historic Barnhouse Village gave us a prelude to the Stone Age village of Skara Brae (which we would visit later that evening). The equally impressive Ring of Brodgar rose hauntingly in the setting sun. Along with the Maeshowe burial mound, these Neolithic remains comprise the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, declared a World Heritage site in 1999. While this collective name is a modern idea, the area was clearly an important place in the past.

    Driving further north and coastward, the single lane roads were largely devoid of traffic. The local horses offered a short respite, as did a walk along the beach at Marwick Head, Kitchener's Memorial reminding us of the loss of the HMS Hampshire (and Minister of War Lord Kitchener) to a mine off the coast in 1916.

    Despite our best efforts, we failed to find dinner in the sparsely populated north. Arriving back in the "metropolis" of Kirkwall after 9pm proved equally challenging! Luckily a friendly "local" (ex-South African Enzo) guided us to a passable curry house. Satiated, we finally collapsed into our bed, wondering what the morrow would bring.
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  • Day21

    Skara Brae and Maeshowe

    August 25, 2017 in the United Kingdom ⋅ 🌫 13 °C

    Orkneys' prehistoric sites provide a remarkable insight to ancient civilisations. Amongst the most impressive for us was Skara Brae. Considered by many to be the best preserved Stone Age village in Europe, this amazing collection of still-furnished ancient buildings was uncovered by a storm in 1850. Long before Stonehenge or even the Egyptian pyramids were built, Skara Brae was a thriving village.

    Little is known of the early exploration of the site, as records were not kept, though artefacts were collected by the landowner of the nearby Skaill House. Subsequent investigations have yielded considerable information, and the site continues to be a source of new knowledge on the early history of these islands.

    Visitation of this site is normally limited to peering from above into the various houses that have been partially excavated. We were fortunate to happen upon a twightlight tour, which meant we could enter rooms just as it's inhabitants would have done 4500 years ago. Our informative guide wove a story of life during those times, highlighting artefacts and markings that supported current theories. The individual houses, linked by passages, cluster together, forming a close-knit community. Small doorways open to larger spaces, an effective means for keeping heat in. The same basic layout could be seen in many of the houses - a central hearth, a large "dresser", bed enclosures and limpet boxes (watertight stone boxes sunken into the floor and thought to have been used to soak limpets for fish bait). Being on the coast, seafood would have been an important food source and is well-represented in the numerous middens on site.

    A full size replica house, complete with roof, gave us a very good impression of what it must have been like living in these houses. An equally impressive exhibition provided further insight. This site is so important that Indiana Jones lectured about it (according to our guidebook)!

    Another remarkable site is that of Maeshowe. Considered to be the finest Neolithic building in north-west Europe, this chambered tomb is ingeniously aligned so that its interior is illuminated by the setting of the mid-winter sun. Built around 5000 years ago, humongous stones (upto 3 tonnes) line the walls. It must have required significant community involvement to construct such a sophisticated and complex building in an age before machinery or even metal tools. Abandoned for many centuries, it was rediscovered in the 1100s by the Vikings, who left their mark in the form of graffiti! Indeed, Maeshowe is mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga (the historical narrative of the history of the Orkney Islands written in the 1200s).
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Orkney Islands, Orkney, ORK, Inizi Orc'h, Illes Òrcades, Orkneje, Orkadoj, Orcadas, Orkney saared, Orkneysaaret, Orcades, Arcaibh, Órcadas, Orkneyski otoci, Orkney-szigetek, Orkneyjar, Isole Orcadi, オークニー諸島, 오크니 제도, Orknio salos, Orkney-eilanden, Orknøyane, Orknøyene, Orkady, Órcades, Оркнейские острова, Orkneyöarna, Orkney Adaları, Оркнейські острови

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