trip to Orkney is not complete without a visit to one or more
of the islands, as well as visiting all the interesting places
on the Mainland. Since each island is different, with its own
charm and the inter-island transport system is good, it is both
easy and interesting to visit all of the islands as well as
the Mainland parishes.
to the number of routes and operators the system is rather complex,
and intending users are strongly advised to procure the latest
timetables from the Tourist Office, or direct from the operators.
Ferries operates ro-ro services to most of the islands,
while British Airways Express operate flights
to most of the North Isles. Bus services meet ferries at Stromness,
Houton and Burwick, and there are services from Kirkwall to
Stromness, Dounby, Tingwall, Houton, Deerness, and St Margaret's
Hope. Minibus services are available on some of the islands,
and taxis, hire cars and bicycles are available on the Mainland
and on many of the Islands.
main internal sea transport operator is Orkney Ferries,
which operates to most inhabited Islands from Kirkwall, Tingwall,
Houton and Stromness. Orkney Ferries publishes a detailed timetable
annually with full details of all services. Further information
can be had by calling their head office at the Pierhead, Kirkwall,
Tel (01856) 872044, Fax (01856) 872921.
services are ro-ro except those to Papay, North Ronaldsay and
Graemsay, where vehicles are handled by crane. The modern fleet
of ships runs frequent daily services to all islands except
North Ronaldsay, which is once or twice weekly. The services
run as follows:
from Kirkwall for Westray, Papa Westray, Eday, Sanday, Stronsay and North Ronaldsay.
book telephone (01856) 872044
from Tingwall in Evie for Rousay, Egilsay & Wyre.
book telephone (01856) 751360
from Houton in Orphir for Hoy and Flotta.
book telephone (01856) 811397
from Stromness for Graemsay and North Hoy
book telephone (01856) 850624
There are two levels of fares to the islands. Tickets for the
inner islands of Hoy, Flotta, Rousay, Egilsay, Wyre and Shapinsay
are cheaper than those to the Outer Isles of Westray, Eday,
Sanday, Stronsay and North Ronaldsay. All fares are very reasonable,
and a reduction of 25% is available for 10 journey tickets.
Since these apply to all islands in the same price band it is
quite easy to use up 10 tickets in a holiday!
also Orkney Ferries advertisements and posters for further information.
operators also have boats available for hire. Please ask at
the Tourist Office or locally for the latest information.
Airways Express, (operated by) Loganair run daily services
(except Sunday) to most of the Outer North Isles - Westray,
Papay, North Ronaldsay, Sanday and Stronsay and to Eday on Wednesdays
only with 8-seat Islander aircraft. Flying from Kirkwall airport,
this service is very popular, and booking is generally required.
deals exist for visitors, including the Orkney Adventure
ticket which allows visits to up to three islands at a very
special price. Also available is the Sightseer Fare,
bookable 30 minutes before departure, which allows a discount
of 50% and is an excellent way to have an aerial tour of the
and Inquiries Telephone numbers Loganair Tel (01856)
872494, Fax (01856) 872420 or the local travel agent, Ridgway
Travel, Tel (01856) 873359, Fax (01856) 872680 for further details.
Details of all internal flights can also be had on British Airways
central inquiries and reservation number Tel 0345 222111.
TRANSPORT AND BUS TOURS
Services Several operators run scheduled bus services
on the Mainland, including the main operator, JD Peace
tel (01856) 872866, as well as Shalder Coaches
tel (01856) 850809, Rosie Coaches tel (01856)
751227, Stove Coaches tel (01856) 741215 and
Causeway Coaches tel (01856) 831444. Details of all
these services are published weekly in the "Orcadian"
on Thursdays, and may also be found at the Tourist office, or
direct from the operators.
on transport operators in the islands is available from the
Tourist Board, and is listed under each island in the gazetteer.
See advertisements for details.
of Orkney Mainland Both general and special-interest
tours are available. Sinclair Dunnet of "GO ORKNEY"
runs a series of tours of the Mainland and also goes across
to Hoy and Rousay. There is no better introduction to Orkney
than his "Grand Tour".
offers an entirely different type of experience. Historical,
Wildlife, Folklore and Environmental excursions are available
as advertised in the Wildabout brochure. Michael Hartley also
does visits to Hoy and runs the "Dusk/Puffin patrol" with his
new 15-seat mincoach. Details from the Tourist Office, or on
Tel (01856) 851011.
Shalder Coaches operate daily tours of the Mainland in conjunction with John O'Groats Ferries including Maxi Day Tours and the shorter Highlights Tours.
Hire Orkney is very much a car-orientated society,
and independent transport makes it much easier to see the areas
not served by public transport. Several firms have cars for
hire, including those advertising here. It is also possible
to hire cars in many of the islands. Details about services
are available from the Tourist Board. In particular a car is
essential to reach many of the most interesting places on the
Mainland as public transport only serves the main population
Taxis are available throughout Orkney, either for normal hires,
or tours. See advertisements for telephone numbers. Please check
in "The Orcadian" or ask at the Tourist office for
further information. There are taxi ranks at the Pier Head,
and Broad Street in Kirkwall and in Stromness at the Pier Head.
Hire Orkney, being relatively flat, is good country
for cycling - but note the wind direction before setting off
- it could be much harder getting back! While the main Kirkwall-Stromness
road can be rather busy, there are many secondary roads which
are very quiet. On a nice day there is no better way to absorb
the rhythm of the countryside than from a bike.
Bicycles can be hired on the Mainland in Kirkwall at Two-Wheeled Orkney, Tel (01856) 873097 and in Stromness at Orkney Cycle Hire, Tel (01856) 850255. They may also be hired on many of the other islands. Please check under the particular island, or ask at the Tourist Office or locally for further information.