Scotland, May - June 2017 - Orkney Islands. One day coach tour.

While we were at John O'Groats we decided on a one day visit to The Orkneys. The passenger ferry takes about 40 minutes to cross from the mainland to the small harbour at Burwick on the SE of South Ronaldsay where we boarded a coach for the remained of the tour.

The small harbour at John O'Groats.

From the ferry we got a good view of the campsite in John O'Groats.

We passed along the coast of Stroma island.

We saw lots of seabirds but, sadly, no whales or dolphins.

From Burwick we drove north across South Ronaldsay and then across the Churchill Barriers which link South Ronaldsay to the Orkney Mainland via a couple of small islands. The barriers were built in the 1940s primarily as a naval defense to protect the anchorage at Scapa Flow.

The 4th barrier which takes you onto Orkney Mainland Island.

The remains of some sunken block ships that were placed between the islands during WW1 can still be seen at low tide. In 1939 the battleship HMS Royal Oak was sunk while in Scapa Flow by a German U-boat which was able to navigate between the sunken ships. As a result Winston Churchill, who was First Lord of the Admiralty, ordered permanent barriers to be built

Scapa Flow.

Approaching Kirkwell, which is the capital of The Orkney Islands.

St Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwell.

Across the road from the cathedral are the remains of the Earl's Palace.

We were then driven across the island to Stromness, the second largest town. We were surprised to see that the majority of the land is cultivated

We bought a pie in Stromness and eventually found somewhere to sit and eat it!

The Orkneys Folk Festival was on that weekend so we enjoyed a drink while listening to some music.

Skara Brae was a Neolithic settlement about 5000 years ago. It was discovered in 1850 after a storm and has since been excavated and displays the remains of some of the houses

 

SE Scotland. Edinburgh, Dundee, Falkirk Wheel and North Berwick.

NE Scotland. Fort Augustus (Loch Ness),Culloden, Fort George, NE Coast.

North Coast. John O'Groats, Dunnet Bay and Durness.

Orkney Islands. One day coach tour.

NW Coast. Scourie, Handa Island, Inverewe Gardens and Gairloch.

 

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On our way back to get the ferry we stopped briefly at the Ring of Brodgar which is the third largest stone circle in the UK.