Orkney Islands

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  • An aerial view of the coastline of Orkney, taken from an aeroplane
    Looking down at Orkney's coastline from an aeroplane
  • A rock stack formation known as the Old Man of Hoy on the island of Hoy, Orkney
    A rock stack formation known as the Old Man of Hoy on Hoy, Orkney
  • Two puffins on the Pentland Skerries, Orkney
    Puffins on the Pentland Skerries, Orkney
  • Sands of Mussetter, Eday, Orkney
    Sands of Mussetter, Eday, Orkney

Explore the natural beauty of the Orkney Islands, offering spectacular coastal scenery and unique flora and fauna.

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Orkney is an archipelago lying 6 miles off the north east tip of Scotland with a landscape shaped and sculpted by the sea. Boasting 70 islands and over 600 miles of coastline, these islands are awash with sandy beaches, rugged cliffs, caves, rocky skerries and dramatic sea stacks.

Due to the Orkney island's position in the northern hemisphere, the summer days are long with around 18 hours of daylight. Even after the sun has set around 10.30pm, it is hidden just out of sight so the islands are never truly dark and experience an extended twilight, known locally as the 'simmer dim'.

Take a walk on some of the islands and you will uncover nature all around and discover a land of rolling green hills, golden barley fields, inland lochs and heather-covered moorland. The Isle of Hoy is distinguished by its sharply rising hills, glens and the infamous Old Man of Hoy, a colossal 450 ft sea stack.

In the warmer months Orkney’s unique flora takes centre stage. Beautiful wildflowers bloom in summer meadows and farmland verges display their vibrant colours. The rare Scottish primrose is Orkney’s most famous plant and grows wild only in Orkney, Caithness and Sutherland.

Orkney has wildlife in abundance from the tens of thousands of seabirds nesting on the cliffs in summer to the Orkney vole which can only be found on these islands.

You cannot fail to notice the plethora of sea bird species such as puffins, kittiwakes, tysties, ravens and the great Skua, making Orkney a birdwatcher’s dream.

The Isle of Hoy is home to a population of blue mountain hares and throughout the islands you will find common and grey seals basking on the rocky coastline. If you are lucky, you may spot the elusive otter hunting along the shoreline. Look out for porpoises, minke whales, dolphins and orcas passing through Orkney’s waters.

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