Orkney is an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. The islands encompass Neolithic sites, tall sandstone cliffs and seal colonies. The ‘Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ is a group of 5,000-year-old sites on Mainland, the largest island including Skara Brae, a preserved village with a reconstructed house, and Maeshowe, a chambered burial tomb incorporating 12th-century Viking carvings.
Video timeline: Intro 00:00 – 00:45 Ferry Gills Bay to St Margaret’s Hope 00:45 – 00:57 Churchill Barriers 00:57 – 01:11 The Gloup and Brough of Deerness 01:11 – 03:16 Dingieshowe Beach 03:16 – 03:32 Bay of Skaill and Skara Brae 03:32 – 03:56 Yesnaby 03:56 – 04:24 Wheems Organic Farm Campsite 04:24 – 04:35 Brough of Birsay, Skiba Geo and the Whale Bone 04:35 – 05:06 Standing Stones of Stenness and Ring of Brodgar 05:06 – 05:27 Stromness 05:27 – 05:52 Ferry Houton to Lyness (Hoy) 05:52 – 05:55 Drive Lyness to Rackwick Bay 05:55 – 06:06 The Dwarfie Stane 06:06 – 06:21 Rackwick Bay and Burnmouth Bothy 06:21 – 09:01 Hike to Old Man of Hoy 09:01 – 10:13 The Old Man of Hoy 10:13 – 12:43 Ferry Hoy to Mainland to Sanday 12:43 – 12:57 Around Sanday 12:57 – 13:14 Quoyness Chambered Cairn 13:14 – 13:50 Sty Wick Bay 13:50 – 14:25 Backaskaill Beach 14:25 – 14:39 Around Ortie Abandoned Village 14:39 – 15:08 Cata Sand and Tresness Beach 15:08 – 16:35 Wreck of B98 German Destroyer Lopness Bay 16:35 – 16:39 Start Point Tidal Island and Lighthouse16:39 – 17:03 Ferry St Margaret’s Hope to Gills Bay 17:03 – 17:41 Orkney Travel Info 17:41 – 32:55
Welcome to the Orkney Isles! This archipelago sits off the northeast tip of Scotland and can be reached by flight or ferry. About 70 islands make up Orkney, but only 20 are inhabited.
During our week in Orkney we visited Mainland, Hoy, and Sanday. Each has a unique character, and we loved seeing how the landscape and island vibe changed across the isles. Mainland is home to the islands’ capital, Kirkwall, and is the largest and most populated of the isles. It’s also where most people’s journey to Orkney starts, and has plenty to keep you busy for a few days. We spent our time here visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Skara Brae, the Ring of Brodgar, and the Standing Stones of Stenness (all dating from around 5000 years ago!), enjoying coastal walks, and learning about Orkney’s fascinating wartime history. On Hoy we spent a couple of nights at the open bothy at stunning Rackwick Bay, hiking to the Old Man of Hoy (one of Scotland’s most famous sea stacks and a magnet for climbers), and generally soaking up the atmoshere on this Highlands-esque island. Our final 2 days were spent on Sanday, the largest of the North Isles and home to Orkney’s most spectacular beaches. Tresness Beach was our favourite, a stunning expanse of white sand backed by towering dunes. We explored the 5000 year old Quoyness Chambered Cairn, slipped and slided our way across seaweed at low tide towards Start Point Lighthouse, and spotted the remnants of the B98 German Destroyer, washed up on Sanday over 100 years ago. We’ve covered a lot of the places featured in this video in our accompanying Orkney travel guides (see above). These include detailed maps, the best places to visit, plus transport and accommodation info to help you plan your own Orkney trip.