Orkney & Shetland: Hostels, Bunkhouses & Bothies
Hostels, Bunkhouses and Bothies in Orkney and Shetland
Visit the Orkney hostels, bunkhouses or bothies on one of the 70 Orkney islands and you will find you become part of island life. This is especially true of the accommodation on the smaller of the Northern Isles, such as North Ronaldsay. Some of the most ancient sites in the UK are on Orkney. The 5000-year-old Skara Brae preserved village, Maeshowe a chambered burial tomb and the Ring of Brodgar stone circle are all close to Stromness. Visit the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness to see pretty little shopping streets, harbours and ports. The smaller Northern Isles can be reached within one day’s travel by ferry from Kirkwall harbour which is served by regular public transport.
Skara Brae ancient village on Orkney
You may think that Shetland is remote being at the far North of the UK, but the Northern Isles are the hub of a travel network that reaches out to Scotland, Orkney, Shetland, Iceland and Norway. On the Shetland Isles, you can visit the many islands, walk and explore the boundless seascapes. The isolation of the islands has led to the development of unique fauna and flora and the bird life is exceptional. Cultural events on Shetland include the Up Helly Aa Guizers festival of fire in Lerwick which celebrates the burning of a Viking galley with dancing till dawn.
More about the islands that make up Shetland
Where Scotland meets Scandinavia and the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean lie the islands of Shetland . They have a rugged beauty and the people are known for the friendliness of their welcome. Visit Shetland to see wildlife, coastal birdlife and enjoy the community spirit.
One of the Camping Böds on the Shetland Isles
The largest island, the Mainland, is one of the largest Scottish islands. Fifteen other inhabited islands make up the archipelago. The islands have a rugged coastline and many low, rolling hills. The early history of the islands was influenced by Scandinavia with many settlers from Norway. The islands did not become part of Scotland until the 15th century. Fishing, tourism and the oil industry provide Shetland’s income and employment.
Flybe operates from Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Sumburgh (Shetland). Logan Air flies to and from Fair Isle
More about the Orkney Islands
The Orkney Islands are an archipelago of 70 islands, 20 of them inhabited, lying just north of Caithness. The Pentland Firth, which separates Orkney from mainland Scotland, is just 6.8 miles at its narrowest point. Seals on Isle of Sanday, one Orkney’s Northern Isles.
The Orkney islands are generally low-lying with most of the land area being farmed. The soil is surprisingly fertile, which helps support a population of 19,000 and produces beef, cheese, whisky and beer for export. The climate is very temperate, average temperatures are 4 degrees in winter and 12 degrees in summer. Occasional very strong winds account for the absence of trees. Although the islands probably supported trees in the dim and distant past, archaeological evidence suggests they have been without trees for at least 5000 years. Tourism is increasingly important to the economy, with people attracted by the natural environment as well as by cultural aspects: some of the best preserved neolithic remains in Europe, artefacts of World Wars 1 and 2 and the vibrant Orcadian culture of the present day.
Standing Stones of Stenness, five miles northeast of Stromness on the mainland of Orkney
The Orkney Islands are a special place for ornithologists and the lesser twitcher, with many RSPB reserves. Visitors to Orkney can look forward to watching Great Skua, Red Throated Divers, Gannets, Arctic Tern, Puffins, Guillemots, Hen Hariers, Merlin, Snipe and Stonechats, to name but a few. Skara Brae is the best preserved Neolithic settlement in Europe and is a UNESCO world heritage site. In addition, there are many other well-preserved Neolithic remains, such as the Ring of Brodgar, the Maeshowe Passage grave and the Standing Stones of Stenness. Scapa Flow is one of the best natural harbours in the world and was the UK’s chief naval base during both world wars. After the Treaty of Versailles, the German Fleet was interned there and eventually the Germans scuttled 51 of their own ships to prevent their use by the British. In 1939 a German U-Boat slipped into Scapa Flow and sank HMS Royal Oak, with the loss of 833 lives, after which Churchill ordered the construction of barriers between the islands, thus controlling entry to the harbour. These barriers now form a series of causeways carrying roads. Scapa Flow is now popular with recreational divers exploring the wrecks, although the wreck of the Royal Oak is a protected war grave. Visitors can reach The Orkney Islands by ferry or plane. Ferries run from Gills Bay, Aberdeen, Scrabster and John O’Groats on the Scottish mainland and from Lerwick, Shetland. The main airport is Kirkwall (Orkney Mainland). Flybe operates from Glasgow, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen. Logan Air flies to and from the Orkney Northern Isles.