Orkney

Orkney has a land area of 376 square miles. It is made up of more than 70 islands with 17 of these uninhabited.TOptimized cathedralhe main town is Kirkwall and this is the home of the magnificent 12th century cathedral of St Magnus.
Tourism now is one of the main industries and many cruise liners can be seen over the summer months. Farming and fishing used to be the main industries - Orkney has an ideal climate for growing grass and is famous for its beef cattle.
The discovery of oil in the North Sea led to the development by Occidental Oil to build an oil terminal in Flotta. The natural harbour of Scapa Flow was one of the factors for their choice of Flotta. Scapa Flow was used in both World Wars as the home of the Royal Navy.

Around the Farm

Optimized horriesignThe accommodation is situated on Horrie Farm, on a quiet side road called the Garralanga Road. 
This road runs through farmland where sheep and cattle graze and a close up view of varied breeds of animals can be enjoyed.
Dingieshowe Beach is 2 miles to the East. On one side of the narrow isthmus leading to Deerness is the vast sandy beach overlooking the island of Copinsay and on the other is St Peters Pool, an ideal spot for viewing waders.
Optimized cattle

The sand dunes are home to many wild flowers including Kidney Vetch and Scots Lovage. Dingieshowe is the starting point for an interesting walk along the coast towards Deerness.

Deerness

Deerness is the most easterly parish in Orkney and for many autumn migrant birds, this is the first port of call. Optimized dingishowe clearNewark Beach and the Geo are popular with locals and visitors.
 
Optimized gloupDeerness Stores sells fuel and local produce. It is open all day every day.

The Mull Head local nature reserve with the Gloup and the Brough of Deerness is a must do walk when visiting the area.

World Wars

Optimized hmsqueenelizabethOrkney played a very important part in both World Wars. Scapa Flow, being a natural anchorage, was home to the British Home Fleet throughout the First and Second World War. It was whilst the British Fleet was anchored in Scapa Flow in 1939, that a German U Boat entered the Flow and sank the Royal Oak. 834 men lost their lives. This action sanctioned the building of the Churchill Barriers aimed at sealing off Scapa Flow to the east. Italian prisoners of was were brought to Orkney to help in the construction. The Italian Chapel was created by them as a place of worship and the chapel is now one of the most visited wartime landmarks. The chapel was created from the most basic of materials.
The photo shows the HMS Queen Elizabeth involved in sea trials in Scapa Flow.

Optimized rerwick1In other areas of Orkney, Battery placements are evident. It is well worth having a look at placements at Hoxa Head in South Ronaldsay, Rerwick in Tankerness and Ness in Stromness.
The air defence was also important – there were 4 military airfields in Orkney and today it is possible to visit HMS Tern in Birsay where the control tower is open to visitors.

Ancient Orkney

Stone Age Villages, Standing Stones, Chambered Cairns, Brochs, Viking Runes.

Optimized cairnsOrkney is blessed with probably the greatest concentration of archaeological sites in Scotland, with over 200 scheduled sites.In Orkney it is possible to visit sites spanning some 8,000 years of history, from the Mesolithic, the Neolithic, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age, the Viking period (which in Orkney, unlike the rest of the UK, lasted well into the 15th Century) , the Medieval period and right up to the 20th century conflicts of the 1st and 2nd World wars.
On average Orkney boasts 3 archaeological sites per square mile.Orkney is very fortunate in having a superb and easily accessible resource that gives information concerning many of the Orkney sites that can be visited. A good description of all the sites can be found on the Orkneyjar Historical Sites pages.

Wildlife

Orkney offers the opportunity to wonder at some of Scotland’s most iconic wildlife, from puffins to pods of orcas. In every season there are interesting natural spectacles to witness.
In Spring vast colonies of seabirds start to congregate on the cliffs, while waders who have wintered in Orkney start to head to the Arctic. Oystercatchers and curlews are busy feeding in the fields. Throughout the summer guillemots, kittiwakes and razorbills nurture their young, making for a noisy walk along the seacliffs. Optimized puffincliffs
Wildflowers thrive on wetlands, coastal heath and moorland.
The very rare Primula Scotica( Scottish Primrose) flowers in May and again in July. Grass of Parnassus and Spring Squill can be found in the same vicinity.Autumn is the peak time to see migrant birds from Pink- Footed Geese to Redwing Thrush. Visit Orkney Birds facebook page to keep up to date with what is about. Grey seal pups can be seen hauled out on the beaches in late autumn/early winter. In winter flocks of greylag geese can be seen on many fields, hen harriers are often spotted flying over rough grassland and moorland searching for the Orkney Vole. Optimized seapinkdingishoweOn the coast, Orkney has 600 miles of coastline, most of it accessible, waders such as dunlin, turnstone, knot, purple sandpiper and ringed plover are all fairly easy to spot. “The pocket book of Orkney Birds” by Tim Deans and Tracey Hall is a good guide. To get up to date information of events taking place while you are in Orkney - Visit the RSPB website and Orkney Field Club site.

Outdoor Pursuits

Plenty to do outdoors in Orkney, dramatic coastal walks on springy coastal heathland. Gentle walks through rolling farmland alive with birdsong and wildflowers, you might spot the great yellow bumble bee.
Optimized oldmanhoyWalk out to The Old Man of Hoy or Brough of Deerness to admire the cliff scenery and check the ocean for basking sharks or orcas. Orkney is relatively flat so great for cycling especially if you leave the main routes and explore the quieter side roads. Bikes can be hired in Kirkwall.Orkney can be windy so great for kite and wind surfing.
Bay of Skaill is a favourite spot for big waves. Sea Kayaking is popular and sailing enthusiasts return each year to take part in regattas.
Divers are well catered for with Scapa Scuba offering beginners sessions.
For the angler, both loch and sea fishing is popular, the island’s inland lochs are well stocked with brown trout.
Visitors are welcome at the two 18 hole and three 9 golf courses and there are new all weather bowling greens in Kirkwall and St Margarets Hope.
Many village halls have outdoor play areas and sheltered picnic areas which are open to all.

Indoor Things

There are plenty indoor spaces to visit. Museums such as The Orkney Museum in Kirkwall and the Stromness Museum change their displays regularly and are worth visiting even if you have already been. Many heritage centres are run by volunteers and have an eclectic collection of memorabilia.
The Fossil Museum in Burray has a tearoom and the Wireless Museum in Kirkwall brings back lots of memories.
Kirbister Farm Museum and Corrigal Farm Museum have very knowledgeable curators and show life like it used to be for the farming community. All are suitable for families to visit.
The Pickaquoy Leisure Centre has a swimming pool, cinema and soft play area if the weather is not suitable to be outside and both Scapa and Highland Park Distillery welcome visitors.
The Orkney Library and Archive are very welcoming to visitors as are all the craft association members.
You can download the craft trail brochure at www.orkneydesignercrafts.com .

Don't leave Orkney without doing these

  1. Visit the Italian Chapel
  2. Check out Maeshowe, Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar
  3. Visit a Distillery
  4. Head for Marwick Head and see the birds on the cliffs
  5. Walk to the lighthouse on the Brough of Birsay
  6. Go over to Hoy and walk to the Old Man
  7. Visit the Orkney Museum and Stromness Museum
  8. Have a Pattie supper in the Willows Take Away
  9. Experience the entry to the Tomb of the Eagles
  10. Go to Broch of Gurness
  11. Try a Bere Bannock with Orkney Cheese
  12. Have a Stenness Monster Ice Cream
  13. Walk from The Gloup to the Brough of Deerness
  14. Find the Fishermen's Huts at Marwick Bay
  15. Explore WW2 Batteries at Hoxa, Rerwick and Stromness(Ness)
  16. Visit a Brewery
  17. Take an upstairs tour of St Magnus Cathedral
  18. Visit the Wireless Museum
  19. Have a cocktail at Helgis
  20. Walk along Dingishowe and Newark beaches

Contact Us

+44 (0)1856 861296

R&A Manson
Suilven
Tankerness
Orkney

Availability

Reviews

 

birsay sunset

puffins

standing stones in winter