Orkney Islands - Birdwatching and Cultural Tour
It is difficult to single out what makes Orkney such a unique tourist attraction: the spectacular scenery, abundance of wildlife, 5000 years of human history, unique crafts or irresistible local cuisine. Yes, Orkney has it all in profusion and each of the 70 islands that form the archipelago, is unique.
The variety of habitats, ranging from towering dramatic cliffs, gleaming sandy beaches, lush grass meadows to the network of freshwater lochs provide ample, unspoilt and relatively undisturbed breeding and feeding grounds for a plethora of wildlife.
The islands are a paradise for birdwatchers. Great northern and red-throated divers and a dozen species of ducks, including wigeon, teal, eider, shoveller and pintail cruise the islands’ lochs. Green meadows and rough pastures support hundreds of pairs of curlew, lapwing and snipe, whereas hen harrier, merlin, peregrine and short-eared owl quarter the moorlands. The hen harrier has a good claim to be considered Orkney’s bird: this spectacular bird of prey survived in Orkney whereas elsewhere in Scotland it was disappearing, and today, around 70 pairs breed on the Orkney moors.
Orkney’s cliffs are important for breeding seabirds and support great numbers of fulmars, guillemots, kittiwakes, razorbills, gannets and shags. Great and Arctic skuas have large breeding colonies here and haunt the cliff tops and the moors.
There are about 25,000 grey seals and 7,000 common seals in Orkney waters. In recent years, increasing numbers of minke whales, humpback whales, orcas, porpoises and common dolphins are being spotted around the Orkney coast.
The diverse range of habitats produces spectacular carpets of wild flowers each year. Here, the rare Scottish primose, restricted only to northern Scotland and Orkney, can be seen at its best.
The landscape in Orkney is dotted with innumerable archaeological wonders which rank as some of the best-preserved archaeological monuments in Europe, including Viking churches, Stone Age villages, burial tombs and impressive stone circles. In fact, the Neolithic heartland of Orkney is so unique that in 1999 it was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
The light and natural beauty of the islands has drawn many creative individuals to islands over the years, and today, Orkney is a hive of creative industry with several internationally renowned jewellery manufactures and professional artists. Small rural studios, workshops, galleries and stylish contemporary visitor centres offer delightful opportunities to see and purchase items hand-crafted in the islands.
And finally, Orkney has a long standing tradition of high quality cuisine. The restaurants offer the best local produce including prime Orkney beef and lamb and flavoursome seafood harvested daily from the cold waters of the Atlantic and North Sea. The islands also produce their well known brands of cheeses, oatcakes, shortbreads, biscuits, preserves, ice creams and finest real ales. Orkney’s whiskies are some of the most respected single malts.
So, whether you have sensitive eye for a beautiful landscape, interest in wildlife, love for history, passion for exquisite art or simply a sensitive palate, Orkney has a magnetic appeal to everyone and even the most discerning souls will find something unique here.Detailed Itinerary Booking Info
14-18 June 2017
£1300 per person sharing
Transfer from Inverness to Mainland Orkney
Birdwatching and history of the West Mainland
Day at Papa Westray
Exploring the East Mainland, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Shapinsay
Transfer to Inverness
The Price Includes
All accomodation on a shared basis
All excursions and transfers by vehicles and boats as stated in the itenerary
Free transfer from Inverness airport train/bus station
The Price Does Not Include
All items of a personal nature
Cancellation, baggage and medical insurance
Transport to and from Inverness
Drinks at the bar during the trip
A deposit of £100 is requested with a booking form