The Orkney Islands. An often overlooked set of islands at the
northern tip of Scotland, mentioned in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Still untouched by the likes of large restaurant and shop
chains, the 70 mostly uninhabited Orkney islands are a magical
place relatively untouched by time. During the harsh winters you’ll
find force-12 storms, choppy seas, seal pups and the Northern
Lights while summer months bring nearly 24-hour daylight, otters
and even a glimpse of how the first inhabitants lived with the
pre-Viking tomb Maeshowe lighting up on summer solstice.
When to go
Between April and June, the towns come alive with ploughing
matches, Scottish dances, music, folk festivals and more. Summer
can be a little more crowded with cruise ships making stops. The
real magic of Orkney lies with the locals.
Who to take with you
Most likely to bump into…
A curious seal having a peek out of the water, like the friendly
local Orcadians they want to know Where Ye Fae? (Where you’re from
and who you are).
The sublime and melancholic cliffs of Yesnaby. There is nothing
but sea from here to Canada. Standing on top of Yesnaby looking out
at the fierce ocean is something not to be missed. Although watch
out if it’s windy, people can barely stand in the harsh Atlantic
An essential you need to bring with you?
A waterproof! No matter the month in Orkney you can experience
snow, hail, sun and rain in a matter of hours – it’s a
four-seasons-in-one-day type of place.
How to get there
You can fly out to Kirkwall, but the best way to get here is to
take a bus through the beauty of the highlands to Scrabster where
you can catch a ferry that is arguably the most beautiful sea
journey in the entire British Isles – you’ll get to pass by the
famous stone pillar, The Old Man of Hoy.