ORKNEY IS UNIQUE

THE NESS OF BRODGAR. THE HEART OF NEOLITHIC ORKNEY WORLD HERITAGE SITE

Orkney is an archipelago of about 70 islands of which Orkney Mainland is the largest and where most people live.  The landscape is a tapestry mix of rolling hills and fertile farmland. All is enclosed by spectacular cliffs and secluded beaches.  The wildlife changes with the seasons but there is always something to see. 

 

Nowhere else in Britain can 5,000 years of history be explored in one place.  In a small area you can explore everythingl from the Neolithic right up to the present day.

 

We have the largest concentration of Neolithic monuments anywhere in Scotland.  In recognition of this, the heart of neolithic Orkney is a World Heritage Site. The archaeological dig at Ness of Brodgar is changing our ideas on Neolithic Britain - see August 2014 edition of National Geographic. 

 

We must not forget the Vikings.  From the 9th to 12th centuries, Orkney was the centre of a Viking empire, which at one point stretched from Norway to Ireland.  This came to an end when Orkney was handed to Scotland by the Norwegian king as part of a marriage dowry in 1468.  

 

From then Orkney became part of Scotland.  From the 18th century, Scapa Flow, one of the largest natural harbours in the world, was strategically very important to the British navy and continued to be so through two world wars.

 

Today Orkney is a vibrant, innovative and forward looking community at the cutting edge of renewable energy development of wave and tidal energy.  Local food products such as whisky, beer, beef, lamb, shellfish, cheese, shortbread and icecream are exported all over Britain and well beyond.  Craft workers produce intricate jewelry, exquisite knitwear and beautiful pottery.  There are 11 bird reserves helping to conserve a stunning variety of wild life.

 

There are so many reasons to come to Orkney - to delve into history, to seek out the varied wildlife, or browse local speciality shops or just to relax and enjoy local food and drink.

12th century Kirkwall cathedral dominates the capital town of Kirkwall.

Stromness is Orkney's second largest town.  It is best explored on foot as the narrow street with many original houses hugs the shore line.

There is much wildlife to see in Orkney and you can often see seals basking on rocks by the shore