Scottish Saltire - St. Andrew's Cross Scotland from the Roadside... a journey round Scotland!

Northern Scotland
Orkney Islands
Orkney Mainland

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Orkney Islands

Map showing the location of the Orkney IslandsThe Orkneys are located about 32 km/20 miles off the north coast of Scotland. The island group, which is made up of about 70 islands with 17 of these populated, is separated from the Scottish mainland by the Pentland Firth. The largest of the islands is known as Mainland.

To reach the Orkneys, ferries run from:

  • Gills Bay, west of John o' Groats, to St. Margaret's Hope on South Ronaldsay (1 hour)
  • Scrabster to Stromness on Mainland (2 hours)
  • Aberdeen to Kirkwall on Mainland (7 hours)

As an alternative to the ferry, flights to Kirkwall Airport are available from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Wick and the Sumburgh Airport on Shetland Mainland.

During World War Two, after HMS Royal Oak was sunk, Winston Churchill ordered a series of causeways to be built, linking Mainland to South Ronaldsay, Lamb Holm, Glimps and Burray. These are known as the Churchill Barrier and they block off the eastern approach to the naval base at Scapa Flow.

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Scotland from the Roadside 2002-10 - e-mail southernhighlands/glencoe.htm" with any comments!