Landmark Visitor's Guide






Additional Information

Landmark Visitor's Guide

Orkney And Shetland

During television weather reports or in many maps, the islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland are often presented in a box. Orkney occasionally makes it to its true position but Shetland inevitably gets pulled down from its high latitude and placed somewhere closer to the mainland. The cartographer's problem speaks volumes about the connection between these wild, wind-swept archipelagos and the United Kingdom that now governs them.

Physically, for instance, the islands of Shetland are closer to Bergen in Norway than Aberdeen and traditionally both groups of islands links with the Norse countries have been as intimate. They are like stepping stones with the Faroe Islands and Iceland towards the north-west and Norway due east, as well as being at the confluence of the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean with the Norwegian Sea directly north.

To the uninitiated, these islands are often considered rather bleak, best suited for ornithologists and fishermen. They do get their share of strong winds and rain, but both Shetland and Orkney enjoy moderate summers similar to the rest of Scotland. Their economy through the ages has been linked to their strategic position for trade. The fertile countryside of Orkney is said to be some of the best in Britain while more rugged Shetland has benefited greatly from the oil found off its shores.

Orkney's fertile soil must have attracted settlers throughout the ages and there is a greater concentration of prehistoric remains here than anywhere else in Britain. It is worthwhile taking time to learn a little of the islands' long and multi-faceted history before you visit the sites.

Be prepared for the cosmopolitan air in both Shetland and Orkney. Beside the fact that there are tourists from all around the world, there is a noticeable influx of oil personnel and fishermen from Russia in Shetland and many English immigrants who have found their dream cottage in some Orkney village and established it as their home.

Thursday, December 26th, 2019

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