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Scotland: Orkneys and Shetlands


  • Shetland islands, Scotland
  • Lerwick, Shetland, Scotland
  • Skara Brae, Neolithic Orkney, Scotland
  • Sea stack, Fowl Craig, Papa Westray, Orkney

The Orkneys are a group of 70 islands; 20 inhabited, situated 16 kilometres/10 miles off the extreme north of Scotland. The landscape is fairly flat but enchanting. There is much folklore associated with the Orkneys. It has been invaded by the Norse and the Vikings centuries ago who have left their legacy. There are mystical stone circles and monuments dating back thousands of years. The best-known sites are the Ring of Brodgar—built around 2500-2000 BC and covering an area of almost 8,500 square metres/9,200 square feet—site of ancient rituals and ceremonies, and Skara Brae—a prehistoric village, older than the pyramids and Stonehenge. As for wildlife, everywhere you go in the Orkneys you will see birds and animals, which include seals, puffins and many other seabirds; plus off-shore, there are whales and dolphins.

The Shetlands are further north, 80 kilometres/50 miles from the Orkneys. Probably best known for its knitwear and ponies, the 100 islands, 16 inhabited, are also an overall nature reserve. There are deep glens and steep hills allowing for scenic walks. Numerous seabird colonies exist which include puffins, storm petrels and more rarely, albatross, and snow geese. You can see dolphins, seals, porpoises, killer whales and purchase locally made, quality glassware, jewellery, and knitwear.

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Orkneys and Shetlands

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