Orkney is a group of islands situated a few miles off the north-east tip of mainland Scotland. With its green fields and hills, stone pinnacles rising out of the sea, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches, it is the ideal place for getting away from it all.
Northlink Orkney & Shetland Ferries Limited operate 3 services. Vehicles should be booked in advance. Telephone: 0845 6000 449.
Ferry from Scrabster (north Scotland) to Stromness (1hr 30 mins),
Ferry from Aberdeen (east Scotland) to Kirkwall (6 hours) and then on to Shetland
Ferry from Aberdeen (east Scotland) to Shetland direct
Foot passengers should note that the new Kirkwall (Hatston) ferry terminal is situated some 2 miles out of town.
Pentland Ferries operate a vehicle ferry from Gill's Bay near John o'Groats to St. Margaret's Hope on Orkney. Sailing time: only 1 hour. Three or more sailings every day during the summer. Booking advisable. Tel: 01856 831 226.
The Smyril Line operates passenger and vehicle ferries between the Faroe Islands, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Shetland Isles.
A privately-run ferry operates daily during the summer from John O'Groats to Burwick on the southern tip of Orkney. It takes about 45 minutes to cross the Pentland Firth. No vehicles taken, but cycles allowed. Buses to Kirkwall connect with the ferry. For full timetable and price details see the John O'Groats Ferries web site.
British Airways and British Airways Express fly to Kirkwall from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness, Wick, Sumburgh (Shetland). Connections can be made with flights to and from London Heathrow, Birmingham, Manchester and Belfast. The airline has an online searchable timetable.