It’s always intriguing to hear a foreigner’s take on a country. Neville Peat, a writer for New Zealand’s Otago Daily Times, recently took the trip of a lifetime to Orkney, where he went searching for historic standing stones, made a pilgrimage to the Highland Park Distillery and also some seal spotting. His article does a great job to cover the historical importance of Scotland’s northern isles:
It has attracted visitors and settlers for nigh on 6000 years. People were living on these islands centuries before the construction of the Egyptian Pyramids began and more than 3000 years before the Great Wall of China was built. Vikings occupied Orkney from 1400 to 600 years ago, taking over from the Iron Age Picts, who built stone towers called broch.
Neville also makes mention of the several links to Orkney and his native New Zealand, where many Scottish people emigrated to in the 19th century:
Orcadians, as the locals are known, have emigrated around the world. Some helped settle the Scottish south of New Zealand.
In the 19th century, Orkney peat was shipped to Inverness for the Glen Mhor Distillery, which produced the malt whisky ordered by Ernest Shackleton for his 1907 British Antarctic Expedition. In 2007, New Zealanders working on the conservation of his expedition hut at Cape Royds found three cases of whisky under the hut.
Neville concludes by giving Orkney a seal of approval:
From the sing-song accent of modern Orcadians to the eerie presence of the Stone Age sites, Orkney is a step worth taking.