Bradt's new guide to Orkney is written by experienced writer and journalist Mark Rowe, author of Bradt's hugely popular guide to the Outer Hebrides and something of a specialist in more remote parts of Scotland. Orkney comprises 70 islands, 19 inhabited, and the focus of this guide is the 13 major inhabited islands. Masses of background information is included, from geography and geology to art, architecture and archaeology, with significant coverage of wildlife, too, as well as all the practical details you could need: when to visit, suggested itineraries, public holidays and festivals, local culture, plus accommodation and where to eat and drink. Wildlife lovers, walkers, bird-watchers, beach lovers, archaeology enthusiasts, genealogists, foodies, couples seeking escape and cyclists are all catered for, and this is an ideal guide for those who travel simply with curious minds to discover far-flung places of great cultural, historical and wildlife interest.
Orkney is extraordinary. Home to Skara Brae, the most important Stone-Age village in northern Europe, it is also the site of the Neolithic henge of the Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe chambered tomb, the entrance to which is aligned with the setting sun on the winter solstice. In fact, Orkney has so many archaeological sites it has been designated Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Here, too, you'll find the Old Man of Hoy spectacular 140m-high sea stack, Scapa Flow, scene of the dramatic scuttling of the German Fleet in 1919, and Marwick Head nature reserve, the definitive wildlife location, dramatically perched on cliffs and a wonder-world for bird lovers. The archipelago also offers the world's shortest scheduled commercial flight – just two minutes, between Westray and Papa Westray – and is the location of Scotland's only wine festival and the UK's most northerly distillery. Food lovers won't be disappointed either with an astonishing number of local food outlets and family producers, some going back more than 100 years.
Whatever your interest, whatever time of year you visit, and whether you're a first-time or repeat visitor, Bradt's Orkney is the ideal companion for a successful visit.