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The Orkney Islands 2013

The ring of Brodgar is a spectacular sight.


The Orkney islands are mostly low lying green lands devoid of trees. They are rich in agriculture. The exception is the island of Hoy which is known as the Highlands of Orkney. In the North Hoy is heather clad and has unbelievable cliffs. The rock stack, The Old Man of Hoy is a major landmark and attraction. To walk from Rackwick to and from the Old Man is a popular activity for visitors to undertake. Some take the peedie ferry over from Scrabster and take in the walk which swallows up a day. I must share this with you. The Moeness Tea Room by the Hoy pier. It is highly recommended. In fact it is "without doubt excellent". Give yourelf time to enjoy the occasion.































The corn mill at Birsay still produces Bere Meal which is an ancient Viking form of Barley. It is used in baking, brewing and the making of a special brand of whisky.


Other travellers with cars take the big ferry from Houton and drive from Lyness to Rackwick often stopping to walk to the Dwarfie Stane on the way. This certainly shortens the push on foot to the Old Man. The Museum at Lyness featuring the second World War is a bonus if you travel this way. It has a wee tearoom where you can indulge in some goodies to help keep your energy levels up.


Approaching Lyness pier Hoy. These machines are waiting to be located where they will capture wave power and turn it into electricity.


The islands have a magic of their own and once smitten you can never tire of the scenery, the views and the archaeology. Wonderful places are numerous; Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, Mae’s Howe, the Tomb of the Eagles and the town of Kirkwall with it's magnificent Viking Cathedral and so on. Drink in the sights, the fresh air and the local language of the native people. The bird life is a delight and the RSPB has reserves and giudes to make your visit worthwhile. The flora is wonderful too. Wild flowers grow in profusion wherever you travel.
























                  Rackwick would originally have been a township of crofts.


When I first visited Orkney about fifteen years ago I thought that the local people were speaking Norwegian to each other and English to me. In time I pick up the lovely sounds of the local dialect. I believe the Orcadians are generally friendly and warm. They have a wonderful way of speaking Orcadian which is like music to the ears.

A powerful fishing boat passes the ferry near Tingwall.


When I visit I say to myself this is the last time I will come to Orkney. Probably when I'm a wee bit tired. There are so many other parts of Scotland to see. It is a mark of the magic of the Islands and the friendliness of the people that I have returned year after year and I am likely to continue to do so for some time to come. May your visit to Orkney be as pleasant as the visits I have enjoyed over the years.


Brian Sutherland.