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Orkney Islands without a car

Nashua, New...
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Orkney Islands without a car

I'm in the early stages of planning my second trip to Scotland, and would like to include a visit to Orkney this time around. I would most likely stay in Kirkwall and venture to at least one other island, probably Shapinsay.

I'm wondering how feasible this plan would be without a car. Any info on public transportation and/or taxi service would be appreciated. Also, what are some good tour companies that would visit some of the best archeological sites on the island?

Any advice or info would be much appreciated! I may be doing this trip solo (40 something female) so I would feel more comfortable knowing what to expect, things to watch out for, etc. Thanks!

Edinburgh, United...
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1. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

I am just back from a long weekend in orkney.I stayed at the Kirkwall Hotel.You will find the Island very very safe and friendly.There are a few tour companies about that will take you to the various sites. I just passed on a lot of info to some one who is visiting next week.Google Orkney Tourism and you should get the information you need.

there is a good network of buses to travel round the Island but timing it to visit all the sights is difficult.I used the local taxi service to get to Maes Howe,but this can be very expensive if travelling alone.There is a bus that runs from the John o Groats ferry that picks up people in Kirkwall,they charge £8 and take you to Stromness,Skara brae and the ring of Brodgar,,with plenty of time to see the sights.The stop back in Kirkwall for 2 hours and then go down to the Italian chaple then back to the ferry.If you ask the driver he will let you come back on the bus about6.00pm and wiil take you with the group to the Italian chaple,then down to the ferry and finally back to Kirkwall about 7.300.I left him a healthy tip for his troubles.

Must sees are Skara Brae,Maes Howe,The ring of Brodgar, The Italian Chapel and St Mangus Cathedral.There is also a very good museum in Kirkwall all about Orkney life through the ages.

When I get time and am at home I will dig out what info I have and post it for you.

Edinburgh, United...
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2. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

Just for you i have changed my avatar to a photo of St.Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.sorry it's a bit grainy,thats TA's fault not mine.

Ballater, United...
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3. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

Know what you mean about pictures unclegus. Lochnagar isn't really done just in my tiny photo.

deblemint you will really enjoy Orkney, it is a fascinating place.

Stanley, Falkland...
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4. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

There's so much on Orkney, you can't see it all. As well as the highlights mentioned above, I would say that the Tomb of the Eagles (there's a book of this title about it) was one of my highlights. Orkney had so many ancient sites, the farmer had to unearth this one himself!

Rousay is a good place for old sites too. Excellent, actually. and easy to get to.

Edinburgh, United...
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5. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

I wanted to get to the Tomb of the Eagles,but just not enough time.If I had hired a car I think it would have been a lot easier,but I do like a beer and a whisky or two when on holiday.

Nashua, New...
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6. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

Thanks very much Uncle Gus! Love the Italian Chapel avatar - you know your Scottish chapels ;-) Btw, your advice on Rosslyn Chapel to me recently was very helpful - soooo glad I went in the early morning as you suggested.

For the £8 bus, was this a city bus or one or the tours? The route that you took includes many of the places that I really want to see, so that may be my best bet for the price.

I'll look forward to seeing your other info. Thank you!

Deb

Edinburgh, United...
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7. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

the bus is organised by Ransoms(Ithink that is how it's spelt) ,the local bus operators and picks up from the side of St magnus cathhedral at 11.00am every day including Sundays.They cannoyt always garuntee places as it depends on the numbers coming off the ferry and they have priority.You cannot book.the tourist office in Kirkwall is very helpfull too.

Btw do you have a Historic Scotland card as this will save a fair bit of money as many of the sites you have to pay for entrance fees.

The bus also stops for a minute at the stone of Stennes,passes Scapa Flow and goes over all the Churchill Barriers.

Glasgow, United...
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8. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

Hi

Orkney is a super place to visit and is feasible without a car. We had a really good trip a while ago, combining tours for some sites and local buses for others. Its definitely worth going to the other islands too - we went to Hoy - which is unusually hilly for orkney - and Rousay - lots of stone age tombs - and lots of rabbits!

Although Orkney can be windy, we also hired bikes for a couple of days and really enjoyed that.

Have a super trip

Nashua, New...
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9. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

Thanks for the info on the bus, Uncle Gus. I will definitely look into the pass as well. I have plenty of ways to spend all of the extra £ I'll save!

Fifporter, thanks for the tip on Rousay - I'll have to read up on that island a bit more. I'm most interested in the archealogical sites, and that sounds really interesting.

The more I hear about Orkney, the more I can't wait to go. It probably won't be until April 2007, or more likely summer of 2007, so I'll be dreaming about it for a while! I'll be poring over these boards between now and then. Thanks all!

Edinburgh, United...
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10. Re: Orkney Islands without a car

www.historic-scotland.gov.uk

will give details on how to buy a mebership card..well worth the money.

wildabout Orkney ia atour company that does tours all over the island,sorry don't have their web address.

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