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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Kirkwall, Scotland, United Kingdom

Aug 14, 2018 - Kirkwall with Jean Ross as Guide

At home we had arranged a private tour with Jean Ross who met us right on the dock. Jean whisked us off to The Standing Stones of Stenness and while there was a light rain, we were able to walk around these pillars of rock dragged up by the early settlers on slippery seaweed and raw human power. It’s interesting how many of the standing stone sites are being closed to easy access by tourists. The famous Stonehenge site is completely fenced off as many others will be soon, We have been fortunate to be able to see the standing stones close up...

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May 25, 2017 - Orkney Islands

Friday May 26 Woke up to find a beautiful sunny day. Today we visit the archaeological sites which inspired me to take this trip. The Orkney Islands have a tremendous pre-history, and were owned by Norway until 500 years ago. They were a strategic location in the North Sea during both world wars. Our first visit was to the Italian Chapel. There was a large camp of Italian prisoners of war kept here during WWII. The prisoners included a painter and a blacksmith, and they transformed the interior of one of the quonset huts for a chapel. Under...

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Nov 4, 2016 - Mainland Tour

4 November: This morning we bought all day bus passes and did quite a few tourist stops. First was a trip south, across the Churchill Barriers, massive concrete blocks laid between the islands to protect the North Sea fleet and now used as causeways, to see the Italian Chapel. We had been told it was worth visiting but were not prepared for how atmospheric it was; build by Italian POWs working on the barriers, it resembled a tiny stone basilica but is made from 2 Nissan huts joined together and inside is painted to resemble stonework and...

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Nov 3, 2016 - Kirkwall

3 November: Today was spent exploring Kirkwall, about 30 minutes away by bus, the capital of Orkney. The highlight of this short bus trip was seeing seals basking on a little sandbank only 10 metres or so from the road. First stop was a guided tour of St Magnus Cathedral. We had an excellent guide who took us from ground level to the parapet of the bell tower. We climbed many spiral staircases carved into the stone walls and saw not only historic items uncovered during numerous restoration and maintenance projects, but also beautiful...

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Jun 22, 2016 - Neolithic Scotland

Beautiful scenery as we start to arrive at port, sun is shining and then the rain started. For most of the day there were scattered showers. The Orkney Islands is an archipelago on the north coast of Britain. They are separated from the mainland by the Pentland Firth. Vikings used the area for pirate expeditions against Norway. It has been inhabited for more than 8500 years. It was annexed to Norway by King Harald in 875. It became a part of Scotland in 1472 after failure of payment by the Danish King. He used it as a dowry for his...

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May 15, 2016 - Day 8--The Orkney Islands

Yesterday was a day on board. Didn't do much except eat and sleep. Today, we hit the Orkney Islands, a group of islands at the Northwest corner of Scotland. Our taxi driver told me the people are Orkney Islanders first and Scots second. I'm not sure I have even heard of the Orkney Islands previous to this trip, so I had no idea what we should do. We got off the boat and asked the Tourist Information desk what we should see and where we could find a taxi. They grimaced a little; apparently, taxis are hard to come by. We walked down the...

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UK Cruise

Jul 5, 2014 - Kirkwall, Scotland - Orkney Islands

After spending almost all of our sea day yesterday sleeping, we should be ready for the next three busy days! Today we are in Kirkwall and saw the archaeological, spiritual and historical part of the Orkney Islands of Northern Scotland. We first saw the view of Scapa Flow which was used as a travel trade route over centuries. It was also used as the base of the British Home Fleet. During WWII Italian prisoners-of-war worked on the construction of the Churchill Barriers. The prisoners built a lovely little chapel, called the Italian...

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Aug 1, 2012 - Orkney and beyond

I feel like I am moving from strength to strengh...with Orkney delivering everything that was promised plus more. North Scotland has an aura which unfortunately I can't explain for those who haven't experienced it. It's like I am in awe of the majestic landscape around me and it connects with something deep inside me. Orkney is made up of 70 small islands with only 15 being inhabited (they call anything that can sustain a sheep an island). I based myself in Kirkwall and had been warned that it could possibly get cold and wet so I finally...

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Finding Cheryl 2012

Mar 27, 2012 - Orkney a'Hoy

Our last full day in Orkney was mostly spent on the island of Hoy. Tuesday was another early start, we got some nice photos as the sun came up over Kirkwall. We drive twenty minutes to Houton to take the 8am ferry to Lyness on the island of Hoy (from the Norse word Haey, meaning High Island), via the island of Flotta. Cost of a return fare - £49 for the three of us, and the car. Flotta was a naval base in both world wars, and is now home to a large oil terminal for receiving North Sea oil. The trip took just under an hour. No café on board...

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Mar 25, 2012 - Orkney with Margaret

More photos on Facebook - anyone can look at them by copy/paste this link https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151438787380707.824712.746395706&type=1&l=44138621a2 Sunday March 25th Daylight savings has kicked in. Just as well we had been told, otherwise we would have missed the bus to Inverness, and perhaps the ferry too. We had allowed plenty of time in Inverness in case the bus was late, and as it turned out it was just as well we did. Good prices for the tickets, £7 each. The trip normally takes 3½ hours, but when we changed at...

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Jun 15, 2011 - Orkney Islands

Up early, breakfast and then a 15 minute drive to Scrabster where we catch the ferry to Stromness to Orkney Island. The ferry sticks very close to the other islands we pass on the way – particularly the island of Hoy with a coastline of cliffs and the single standing ‘old man of Hoy’. We berth and head off on a day drive around the island. We are most surprised. Expected the island to have a more dramatic coastline but what get is some of the most productive and lush farmland we have yet seen. The crops of silage are heavy and just ripe for...

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Sep 24, 2006 - Day 2: Carbisdale Castle - Orkney

We travel north through the sparsely populated wilderness of Sutherland and Caithness, via glens left deserted as a result of the Highland Clearances, and on to John 'O' Groats, Britain's most north easterly point. We then catch the ferry to the Orkney Islands, home to more archaeological ruins in one area than anywhere else in Europe! We spend the night in the island's capital, Kirkwall. The Orkneys have only been a part of Scotland since 1490 and the islands still retain a very distinctive Scandinavian influence.

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United Kingdom

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