Reflections on my trip to Orkney

I've been home a couple of days, and had time to reflect on my most recent trip. This was my trip to the Orkney Mainland.

It was an incredibly rewarding trip. In fact, as I write this I'm thinking to myself that I need to go back soon. That's how good it was. A fair bit of driving (and expense) to get there, but worth every penny.

I was a bit apprehensive about the ferry element, both the risk of having to reverse onboard and the notoriety of the Pentland Firth, but they both turned out to be a nothing. I could forward load, and the crossing only takes 50mins.

The Orkneys feel like a different country. A country with it's own ring of islands. Totally self sufficient and completely independent of the Scottish mainland. Felt very industrial, busy, and completely competent in supporting all aspects of everyday life. It felt very secure and a tidy, organised place to visit.

The main town Kirkwall was a lovely place to explore, as was Stromness, St Margarets Hope, and Finstown. All the main settlements were great places to spend some time.

The beaches on Orkney were superb. There were lots, and I often visited 2 different ones every day. Surprisingly, Scapa Flow which I thought of as an industrial stretch of water was crystal clear and the beaches along it's coast were pristine.

I took in a few coastal trips, like the Covenants memorial and the Kitchener memorial, both excellent and involved really interesting routes around dramatic coastlines.

The campsite, the Pickaquoy, in urban Kirkwall was simply outstanding. The facilities were fantastic and the access to anything you need nearby was brilliant. Tesco, Co-op, Lidl all within 100m.

The mainland is a great place to tour and all of the major historical sites are within easy reach. I visited a lot and it was never a drag.

My caravan performed really well. no real niggles apart from some screws working loose on the cupboard doors (sorted on my return), and the heating, fridge etc worked great.

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and it's a place I will certainly return to.


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