Guide To Holidaying In Orkney Islands
A guide by Tasha Sewell
The Shetland Islands are the northernmost part of Scotland, and unbelievably, are closer to Bergen in Norway than they are to Edinburgh! Shetland offers outstanding beauty and unbreakable spirit along with their unique culture, dialect and heritage.
The dramatic ice-carved landscape is steeped in treasures of history dating back to 5000 years ago. Here you belong to the wild and are surrounded by otters and seals playing in the coves; while the air is full of wild birds crowding massive, jagged cliffs in vast colonies. A bird watching paradise and untouched wilderness which will continue to impress with its water sports, cool sea air and endless open spaces.
On the mainland you will find the Jarlshof Prehistoric and Norse Settlement with remains being as old as 4500 years. Also, recent excavations at a nearby beach dated back to 7000 years age with structures ranging from the Neolithic Period through to the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Pictish Era, Viking Era and Medieval Period!
Shetland is also home to many well-known traditional musicians, who perform in and around the area at exhibitions. The Islesburgh Exhibition is a spectacular display of local crafts and culture, and since opening in 1947 it has remained loyal to its aim; which was to preserve and promote the traditional and contemporary arts and culture of Shetland. There is plenty of opportunity to bring home a little piece of Shetland as most musical examples are for sale!
Orkney is a collection of islands situated off mainland Scotland. It is a great place to get away from it all, with its sandy beaches, rolling hills, and green fields and rugged cliffs!
Fishing in the lochs in Orkney is free, and other activities which are popular include cycling, bird watching and diving around the wrecks. During both world wars Orkney acted as an important site for the British Navy, and the Germans scuttled their fleet here in 1919.
Orkney's ancient history is surly the main attraction for visitors, and is in the similar period as the Shetland Islands. If you want to see prehistoric villages and ancient tombs then you are coming to the right place.
The population is only about 15000 people, but they live by their original traditions, so you will experience the unique accent and ways of life. For a long time the islands were owned by Norway so you will find the culture very mixed, and today most of the tourists are Scandinavian so the local shops accommodate by selling Norwegian newspapers!
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