A Trip to the Orkneys

The day after we finished our LEJOG, we took a guided tour of the Orkney Islands which I think we booked at the Seaview Hotel. The trip involved a ferry crossing then boarding a coach for the tour. As we walked along the harbour wall for the ferry, we spotted a small pod of Orca’s out in the Pentland Firth.

“Your trip through the Orkney Islands begins in John O’Groats Harbour, where you set off by ferry in the morning across the Pentland Firth to port in Burwick. After your cruise, transfer to a comfortable coach for a guided tour of remarkable local attractions. Savor unspoiled scenery as you travel along the Churchill Barriers (the extensive island causeway system). Hug the Scapa Flow (meaning ‘bay of the long isthmus’ in Old Norse), where you may spot swooping seabirds, bobbing seals and whales. Stop in Stromness, the last port of all before the Americas, and Kirkwall to see the lovely St. Magnus Cathedral—nearly a millennia old!  Soak up mysterious Viking history as you visit ancient monuments including prehistoric standing stones, tombs and the more than 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae. Cap your day with a stop at the famous Italian Chapel, built during WWII by Italian prisoners of war. Admire the beauty and ingenuity of the chapel, made of only basic raw materials, then re-board your coach for the ride back to port.”

The small ferry that crosses the Pentland Firth with the Orkneys in the distance.
A pod of about five Orca were not far off shore. It seemed like one big female – the matriarch? – and four smaller ones.
After crossing the Firth we boarded a coach which island hopped by way of the Churchill Barriers.
A Stromness fishing boat, and ten years later, on the June 2022 Google Streetview image, it’s still there!
Skara Brae prehistoric village with Skaill House in the background.
Karon exploring Skaill House on the Orkneys.
One of the Standing Stones in the Ring of Brodgar. I think the distant hills are the Island of Hoy.
The Italian Chapel, built by prisoners of war.
One of the rusting hulks of the Barrier Block Ships.
On the way back to the mainland, the pod of Orca were still there, but they had moved out to sea and were about halfway across the Firth.

Our other Holidays