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Orkney Islands

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Trip List by bjh1

Orkney - the good, the bad and the fantastic

10 Aug 2007  
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 9 votes

Thoughts after a recent trip

  • 1. Skara Brae
    Skara Brae, Stromness, Mainland

    A 'must do' for any traveller - can be pretty chilly even on a fine day, and even if dry you can get wet from the spray if windy. Also worth twenty minutes to view the attached manor house - cheaper on a combined ticket.

  • 2. Broch of Birsay

    A treat for the kids - crossed from the mainland by a causeway at low tide. Brilliant tea room in nearby Birsay and the hot snack van at the car park is recommended by otheres - haven't tried it myself

  • 3. Broch of Gurness
    Broch of Gurness, Evie, Mainland

    This is another must do. Try late afternoon - it closes at 5.30 althought the custodian is pretty friendly and flexible. Then it is quiet enough to 'hea rthe sounds and smell the smells'. It is very well preserved and in a stunning location.

  • 4. Maes Howe
    Maeshowe, Stromness, Mainland

    This is another great site to visit. Together with the nearby Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones of Steness, mnakes for a couple of hours. Entry to the Howe may be daunting for the claustrophobic but once inside it is well worth the effort. The knowledge and entusiasm of the guide made for a memorable visit.

  • 5. Tomb of the Eagles
    Tomb of the Eagles, South Ronaldsay, Orkney Islands

    This is the absolute top of the list of all the things we saw. It is not in the most convenient spot but was the best presented, most friendly and interactive of all. The price is not cheap but please don't be put off - I promise you it is worth every penny.

  • 6. St Margaret's Hope
    St Margaret's Hope, South Ronaldsay

    Quiet. Not a lot to do but soak up the atmosphere and have one of the best lunches we had while there

  • 7. Stromness Hotel
    Stromness Hotel, Stromness, Mainland

    Beware. I had the worst meal of the trip and my wife had seafood, which was OK but an absolute rip off in price.

  • 8. Kirkwall
    Kirkwall, Mainland

    By Orkney standards a bustling town with lots to do - Cathedral, Bishops Palace, Earls Palace, Museum. The Empire Chinese Restaurant and the Kirkwall Hotel both provided a decent meal although he latter showed studied indifference as we waited and waited and waited.

  • 9. Inland Roads

    Don't be afraid to dawdle - there is hardly any traffic and travel some of the side roads - the road north from Dounby gives the most amazing views of the Outer Island and especially Rousay

  • 10. Pentland Ferries

    Cheaper than the others and also a shorter crossing - a boon on a rough day.

  • 11. Houton Bay lodge

    In a great location about nine miles west of Kirkwall. A warm welcome and a massive room overlooking the bay and the ferries to the Southern Islands. You are required to order breakfast the night before for some reason - not just what you want to eat but also the time you want to eat it. If you don't change your order you get the same thing at the same time every morning. We ate there one evening - it was OK but nothing special.

  • 12. General comment

    The Orkney Islands are not easy to get to. Whilst we had many warm and effusive welcomes we also had some pretty off hand attitudes to deal with. Perhaps the latter should remember that in terms of time and effort (and money if you bring the car) anywhere in Europe is closer in time and cheaper to get to. Having said that we are not put off and will return