We did the fall migration tour with Orcadian Wildllife in September of 2013. Steve, the owner and guide, took excellent care of us for the whole trip (7 days). While Steve keeps the groups small, for this trip we were actually the only ones who registered, so it was like a private tour. The tour was absolutely amazing, partly because Orkney is amazing and partly because of how good a guide Steve is.
First, the birds. Steve is an absolute expert ornithologist, and birds were what we were most interested in when we signed up for the trip. Steve took us all over to find birds, and watched closely for alerts of any special that the other birding experts in Orkney might notice, so we could go stalk them as well. Stalk them we did, and we saw fabulous birds, including one blown all the way from Siberia to Orkney in a storm. Some of our time was spent at the North Ronaldsay Birding Observatory, which was fabulous.
Then, the archeology. We didn't even know what a treasure Orkney is for archeology, with the oldest village in Europe restored here, and stone circles much older than Stonehenge. Again, Steve explained all the history, archeology and sociology of everything. It was outstanding.
Then the geology. Steve even could explain all that to us! It made it so much better when we went on to Edinburgh and went to the Scottish National Museum and took in their exhibit of the natural history of Scotland.
Steve put us up at the Sands Hotel while we were on "the mainland" of Orkney. Great hotel, great food for dinner.
Steve himself was completely flexible and adjusted all of our days to the weather and our needs. He made sure that our adventure was memorable, and that we got a maximum of value of the tour.
If you love birding, archeology, nature, geology, or history, I cannot recommend this tour highly enough.
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