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Orkney, Visit the Orkney Islands

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Orkney - picture of the Broch of Gurness in Orkney

Orkney comprises over 70 islands, around 20 are inhabited. The largest island, known as the Mainland, has an area of 202 square miles, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island. The main town is Kirkwall. Internal ferries are used to connect with the main island. There are several ways to travel to Orkney and on the Scrabster to Stromness ferry there is a distinct sense of excitement when the ferry approaches the Island of Hoy and the Old Man of Hoy is visible. It must be one of the most photographed icons of Orkney and it certainly does not disappoint. Most people travel to the island by ferry, from Caithness and also from Aberdeen. You can also fly into the main island.

Orkney has many historical sites to visit including Skara Brae, a Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site in the care of Historic Scotland. It was unearthed after a wild storm in 1850 and explored by the Laird of Skaill, William Watt. When you visit Skara Brae you can see pictures of the original excavation carried out by William Watt and later work on the site. There is also a reconstruction of the original central building where you can get a sense of the atmosphere the original people would have when living in the village in the past.

Skara Brae

Skara Brae is on of the oldest, well preserved farming villages dating from over 5000 years ago. The site is now a World Heritage Site and is looked after by Historic Scotland.

Self-catering Cottages in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland

Orkney self-catering cottages

Orkney Islands Cottages

The Orkney Islands has been voted the best place to live in the UK and when you visit the islands you will discover why. Beautiful scenery, lovely sandy beach and bountiful wildlife make the islands a delight to visit. Book your holiday now in one of the self-catering cottages on offer.

While staying in Orkney you have the opportunity to explore the ancient brochs and see the old properties called the Black Houses. From the main island you can take regular ferries over to see the smaller islands, many with populations of only a few hundred people. There is a special atmosphere in the Orkney Islands, discover it for yourself.

Cottages in the Highlands of Scotland

Cottages in the Highlands

The Highlands of Scotland has so much to offer, from busy towns to remote villages and communities where you are more likely to see wild deer than other tourists. Stay in the Scottish Highlands and discover Scotland’s hidden secrets – with wonderful scenery, mountains, sandy beaches and much more.

With over 600 self-catering cottages available in the Scottish Highlands you have a wide selection of properties from single bedroom cottages to houses sleeping 10 or more people. Book your perfect holiday home for your next short break or longer holiday.

Cottages in the Isle of Skye

Isle of Skye Cottages

The Isle of Skye is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Scottish islands and while many of them take the island in by quickly driving to the island as part of the North Coast 500 route, others take the more relaxed way to see the island by staying in a self-catering cottage on the island.

Skye has magnificent scenery and some of the highlights of your visit to this island is seeing the mountain ranges, either by driving through them or by taking to the hills and walking them. The mountains also offer many challenging areas for climbing, although you do need to be experienced to tackle many of these routes.

Book your holiday cottage on Skye today and look forward to a wonderful holiday destination.

Skara Brae - Picture of the neolithic settlement in Orkney

Skara Brae in Orkney

Skara Brae is is a neolithic semi-subterranean village over 5000 years old that survives in remarkable condition as it was preserved under sand dunes for thousands of years. In the winter of 1850 it was uncovered by a large storm that blew away the sand covering the ancient buildings as well as a large midden (refuse dump). The Laird, William Watt explored the exposed midden and the buildings to discover the what is now Skara Brae.

Brochs and Standing Stones

Orkney is well known for the brochs and stone circles that can be found on the Orkney Mainland and on the Orkney islands. One of the most popular stone circles is the Ring of Brogar overlooking the Loch of Harray. It is a scenic area and from the Ring of Brogar stone circle you can see the Stones of Stenness.

The Orkney islands are full of wildlife and I was astounded to come across a duck on it's nest while walking around the stone circle at the Ring of Brogar, so it is advisable to keep any dogs on a lead and also to keep to the mown grass paths for visitors to see the stone circle or you may accidentally walk too close to a nesting bird.

Bird nesting near Standing Stones

Standing Stones of Stenness

Standing Stones of Stenness

Standing Stone, Orkney

Ring of Brodgar

Ring of Brodgar

Map of the Orkney Islands

Printable map of Orkney

Buy Books and Maps on Orkney

Orkney croft building

An old Orkney croft building