From my initial email enquiry a couple of months in advance of our trip to Kinlay’s follow-up phone call and printed itinerary the booking was well handled. Clients obviously benefit from husband & wife team, Kinlay and Kirsty Francis having hands-on the business covering all aspects.
If you have an itinerary or attractions in mind they will endeavour to accommodate these requirements. At the time I only had a few rough ideas but Kinlay took these and built them into a route with the proviso that if I wanted to make adjustments later just to let him know.
Payment was made in advance and based on our requirements for a full day private tour for two it was £295 (+ 3.5% credit card fee).
On the day we were picked up at our guesthouse on schedule at 9.00am with Kinlay acting as guide and driver. Enroute to our first stop we had a chance for some background information and a general chat and since Kinlay has a relaxed manner this was easy going, pointing out some places of interest as we travelled along. Our tour included a variety of places of interest taking in the Broch of Gurness as it opened (and the heavens did too); Skiba Geo (near the Brough of Birsay); Yesnaby Castle and the cliffs: Ring of Brodgar and Stones of Stenness; Churchill Barriers; the Italian Chapel and St Magnus Cathedral. In doing so we got our bearings which helped in the days ahead when we were visiting other places around Mainland - Kinlay even pointed out where we could get the car ferry to Hoy for our visit to The Old Man.
Our comfort was never too far from Kinlay’s thoughts - toilet stops en route (easy when you know where), water and biscuits, getting the vehicle doors, etc. We stopped off at the Standing Stones Hotel for lunch which was nice enough however service was very slow and in truth we’d have been happy with a picnic basket overlooking one of the many scenic spots on our travels to make best use of the time.
On the subject of meals, when we mentioned that we’d considered dining at The Foveran Restaurant but hadn’t booked, Kinlay was kind enough to phone them and arrange this for that evening. He even offered that he could pick us up and take us there from our guesthouse which we declined on the basis it was above and beyond the call of duty!
Kinlay’s speciality and passion appears to be the military history of Orkney (seldom a pillbox was missed in the passing!) but he also seems to have a great love of all things Orkney and is happy to share it with others much to our satisfaction. Having only been there for a week we now love it too.
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