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Norwegian flagOrkney Tour 2013

The Island Hopping Tour

Cycling on HarrisAfter our rather aborted cycle tour in Iceland last year where Frank unfortunately contracted costochondritis 3 weeks before we were due to leave which prevented her from cycling around Iceland, we decided that we would do a 'Stay tour' to coin a phrase and tour in the UK.

One area of the UK that we both had not ventured to were the Orkney and Shetland islands. We decided to drive up to the north of Scotland with the bikes on the back of the car and leave the car at Scrabster and catch the ferry across to Stromness. On getting on to Orkney we soon realised that there was so much to see on Orkney that we decide that we would spend our time on Orkney and leave Shetland for another year.

You can read more about our 'Island Hopping' Odyssey in our travelogue pages using the links below:

We have outlined the route that we took on the map below:

Things to take note of on Orkney

  1. Apart from Kirkwall and the mainland island there aren't that many food shops on the smaller Orkney islands so you will need to stock up on supplies when you can. Have a look at our map below where we have indicated the food shops we know about (We think we have got most of them but if you no different please let us know).
  2. If you use gas cartridges for your camping stove you will need to get these in Kirkwall. There are 2 shops we know of and they are John Goudie's shop in Toab (thanks to Molly for telling us about this) and The Brae Builders Centre in Brae.
  3. Access from Orkney Mainland to the outer islands is via the Orkney ferries company you can find information and timetables on their website here. As you can see from our route all the island to the north of Kirkwall many don't have ferries that connect the islands (except Westray to Papa Westray) therefore you have to generally go back to Kirkwall to move between the islands.
Getting to Orkney

By Sea

NorthLink Ferries- tel:0845 6000 449.

  • Aberdeen - Kirkwall - Shetland (3/4 sailings per week).
  • Scrabster - Stromness (2/3 sailings per day).

Pentland Ferries- tel:01856 831226.

  • Gills Bay - St Margaret's Hope (3/4 sailings per day).

John O'Groats Ferries - tel:01955 611353.

  • John O'Groats - Burwick, South Ronaldsay (May to September, passenger only service).

By Air

You can fly to Orkney with Loganair, t:0344 8002855, 7 days-a-week from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Inverness and Shetland.

Map of Orkney campsites, food shops, cafés and points of interest

We have put together a interactive map of the campsites, food shops, cafés that we know of on Orkney. Where we have been to them we have generally added a comment.

If you would like to view this map to the full sized to your screen please use this link.