Orkney

To really experience these remote and beautiful islands rent an Orkney holiday cottage and live like a local – albeit very comfortably! Orkney, made up of 70+ islands and skerries (reefs) and dominated by the sea, is 10kms from the Scottish mainland. The largest island in the Orkneys and in possession of a World Heritage Site Award, is Mainland and has the lion's share of the 20,000 population of Orkney, although 16+ other islands are thinly populated.

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Some of the islands are joined together by causeways, by ferries and scheduled air flights - the one between Westray Island and Papa Westray lasting for two minutes! Sail on a ferry past the Old Man of Hoy, much loved by serious rock climbers, and St. John's Head, the highest cliff in the British Isles. Every physical activity is catered for along the 600 miles of coast on one or the other of the islands - sailing, fishing, bird-watching, golfing, walking and cycling. Dive in Scapa Flow, to check out the scene of the WW1 memory when the German Fleet was being scuttled. Much earlier history is recorded on the face of the islands - pre-historic rites, a large 5,000 year old tomb at Maeshowe, Neolithan remnants of the Skara Brae settlement, and evocative stone circles at Steness and Brodgan. Marvel at the stone-working skills of these early masons.