On location: Orkney day trip #1

One tip about the Northland ferry from Scrabster to Stromness. Their quiet lounge –  forget it. Who thought to situate the quiet area in-between the game zone and Brinkie’s bar? Comedy gold!

Ferry map

It seems like summer had only just begun before autumn past by and plummeted straight into winter. It’s Christmas in 22 days!

My rain-free trip to Orkney in July coincided with a heatwave there. With average temperatures normally ranging between 15-19c, highs reaching nearer 23c+ are unusual. Sun traps on secluded coves & beaches allowed for shorts & sandals, though kids still wore wetsuits to swim in the icy seas. The Orkney island[s] so suit these sunny conditions – given the ‘picture-postcard’ landscape – and yet July typically sees rainfall of around 71mm with a 42% chance of rain [source]. The perfect excuse then to take some time away from distillery visits to explore the more remote parts of these stunning islands.


Climbing rock

If like me, you go to places like Orkney to get away from shops, coffee chains and parking restrictions, then turn right off the ferry and head North out of Stromness on the A965. Soon enough you’ll find the Yesnaby road,  left off the B9056. This quant single track road will take you all the way to the sea.

climing rock sea


wiki ‘Yesnaby is an area in Sandwick, on the west coast of Orkney Mainland, Scotland, south of Skara Brae. It is renowned for its spectacular Old Red Sandstone coastal cliff scenery which includes sea stacks, blowholes, geos and frequently boiling seas’.

‘The coastal cliffs are formed from the Lower Devonian sandstones ascribed to the Yesnaby Sandstone Group – a set of geological formations restricted to the Yesnaby area, and to the overlying beds of the Lower Stromness Flagstones’.


Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack

The Yesnaby castle sea stack, also referred to as the smaller Old Man of Hoy is a popular spot for climbers. And sure enough, by the time i’d returned from my walk, a couple had successfully conquered it.



A walk of 10 minutes will separate you from 95% of the photo-snap-happy and straight back to the car visitors. And the walk can go on and on, depending on your wants & needs.





climbing cliffs

Later I got talking with a fellow campervan owner who insisted in poured me his favourite dram – the Glenmorangie 10yo. I in return offered him my Deanston 12 i’d recently procured at the distillery [Blog]. Given the stunning Westerly views, I  decided i’d stop here for the night accompanied by a flock of starlings who liked the roof of my campervan very much. In the morning I headed North to Birsay Bay. Incredibly I was too early to visit Birsay Earl’s Palace so again took advantage of the extremely fine weather by exploring the bay.

Picture postcard stuff
Island flowers
Birsay Bay



Brough of Birsay

wiki ‘The Brough of Birsay is an uninhabited tidal island off the north-west coast of The Mainlandof Orkney, Scotland, in the parish of Birsay. It is located around 13 miles north of Stromness and features the remains of Pictish and Norse settlements as well as a modern light house’.

‘The Old Norse name for the island was “Byrgisey” which means fort island, and gives the parish its name. Brough, indeed, means fort’.


The lighthouse is only accessible via the causeway at certain times of the year


Panoramic view of Birsay Bay and the Brough


Tomorrow, Scapa.



4 thoughts on “On location: Orkney day trip #1

  1. Pingback: On location: Scapa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s