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Where are the Orkney Islands?

The Orkney Islands are located off the northern tip of Scotland where the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean meet. Orkney is an archipelago of 70 or so islands and currently 21 of them are inhabited.

Population

The population of the islands is around 20,000 people, with approx 7,600 in capital of Kirkwall and 2,100 in the second largest town of Stromness.

Size

Orkney covers an area of 974 square kilometres, with more than half being taken up by the Mainland of Orkney. The islands are about 85km (53 miles) from north to south and 37km (23 miles) from east to west.

The main island is known as the “Mainland”, with the south islands of Lamb Holm, Burray, Glimps Holm and South Ronaldsay being joined by the Churchill Barriers which were constructed during WW2.

The outer islands are definitely worth a visit as each has its own unique character. To the North there is Shapinsay, Rousay, Egilsay, Wyre, Westray, Eday, Sanday, Stronsay, Papa Westray, North Ronaldsay and to the South of the “Mainland” you’ll find Hoy, Graemsay and Flotta.

Climate

The islands are low-lying, gently sloping and richly fertile with the exception of the island of Hoy, which is high and rugged. The climate is temperate, warmed by the Gulf Stream. The best time to visit the islands is April to October to make the most of the long hours of daylight and the best of the weather. However visiting the islands during the winter can also make a great break, with miles of coastline to watch the waves rolling in and if you’re lucky you may see the Northern Lights or ‘Aurora Borealis’ as they are known locally.

Things to See & Do

The quiet sandy beaches, stunning scenery, abundance of wildlife, fresh quality cuisine and warm welcoming hospitality make these islands an ideal place for relaxing or an action-packed holiday.

Not forgetting Orkney’s fascinating history, with 5,000 years of culture, there is history around every corner. Wherever you are, you can literally touch the past as you run your hand across rock hewn thousands of years ago.

Events & Festivals

Orkney also has a vibrant contemporary culture. Throughout the year there are festivals and events ranging from the magical midsummer St Magnus Festival to the annual agricultural shows and sporting events, including Orkney’s very own Ba’ and, of course, the islands’ varied craft industry continues through all seasons.

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO SEE SOME OF OUR FAVORITE ORKNEY ATTRACTIONS

 

TOMB of the EAGLES
(10 mins from Quoyeden)


Isbister Chambered Cairn sits on the south-eastern tip of South Ronaldsay. Better known today as the 'Tomb of the Eagles', the cairn was discovered by local farmer, Ronald Simison (Ronnie) in 1958.
Isbister Chambered Cairn is estimated to have been built around 3000bc, and used for approximately 800 years. It is 3.5 metres high and consists of a rectangular main chamber, divided into stalls and side cells. It is believed the human remains belonged to around 340 individuals. No complete skeleton was found suggesting that the bodies had been excarnated - left outside until the bones were clean. Recent research questions both the excarnation idea and number of people in the tomb. Once inside the Tomb, at some point the skulls were laid in side chambers and the other bones set in the two end cells.
A FASCINATING PLACE TO VISIT!
Click on link below to go straight to website:

www.tomboftheeagles.co.uk

 

The Churchill Barriers - The Barriers are man made causeways linking the mainland with the southern islands and were built with the assistance of Italian Prisoners of War after the sinking of HMS Royal Oak in October 1939 to protect the fleet anchored in Scapa Flow.

 

The Italian Chapel - is know as the “The Miracle of Camp 60”. The Prisoners of Camp 60 that arrived in Orkney in 1942 to help construct the Churchill Barriers, left behind an unusual memorial on the small island of Lamb Holm.  Two Nissan huts were converted into this beautiful chapel and inside beautiful paintings were created by Domenico Chiocchetti, one of the prisoners. This is one of the most visited sites in Orkney and is a fitting memorial to those lost in wartime as well as monument to hope and faith in exile. ( A 10 min drive from Quoyeden)

 

                  THE RING OF BRODGAR

          
 
If one iconic site has come to represent Orkney's ancient heritage, it must surely be the Ring o' Brodgar.

Part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site, the Ring o' Brodgar is found in the West Mainland parish of Stenness. It stands on an eastward-sloping plateau on the Ness o' Brodgar - a thin strip of land separating the Harray and Stenness lochs.

Because the interior of the Ring o' Brodgar has never been fully excavated, or scientifically dated, the monument's actual age remains uncertain. However, it is generally assumed to have been erected between 2500 BC and 2000 BC, and was, therefore, the last of the great Neolithic monuments built on the Ness.

The stone ring was built in a true circle, 104 metres wide. Although it is thought to have originally contained 60 megaliths, this figure is not based on archaeological evidence. Today, only 27 stones remain.

 In contrast to the giant megaliths that make up the Standing Stones o' Stenness, the Brodgar stones are much smaller, varying in height from 2.1 metres (7 feet) to a maximum of 4.7 metres (15ft 3in).

With a diameter of 103.6 metres (340 ft), the Brodgar ring is the third largest stone circle in the British Isles. Covering an area of 8,435 square metres (90,790 square feet), it is beaten only by the outer ring of stones at Avebury and the Greater Ring at Stanton Drew in England. Incidentally, the Brodgar ring is exactly the same size as Avebury's two inner rings.

 

 

 

ORKNEY Holiday Cottages THE CROFT & THE BYRE
quoyeden@hotmail.co.uk Tel:07717 852484

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