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The Orkney Islands are a group of islands off the northeast coast of Scotland, the closest one being just about 15 kilometres form the mainland. They cover about 1000 square kilometres with about 20,000 inhabitants.
The main reasons to plan a visit to the Orkney Islands are because of the many neolithic monuments and the flora and fauna on the Islands. In summer many species of birds are nestling on the coastline. Seals, Dolphins and Whales are common on the shores of the islands.
For more information, also check the official Orkney Tourism website.
The Orkney Islands have a martime climate with cool summers and mild winters. Average temperatures during the day in winter are still well above zero, while nights are just a few degrees colder. Snow is common, although rarely involves huge amounts. Total precipitation throughout the year is about 900mm. Summers are short and cool and last from June to August with days of around 16 °C and nights again just several degrees colder. Temperatures over 20 °C are possible but not common.
Cars are allowed on the ferries (see below) between Scrabster and Stromness.
Citylink has connections from Inverness to Scrabster, where ferries leave for Stromness on the Orkneys. Buses don't go on that ferry!
Summer only John o'Groats Ferry offers bus-ferry-bus service in one from Inverness to Kirkwall. Tickets (one way/return £30/42, five hours) include bus travel from Inverness to John o’Groats, passenger ferry to Burwick and another bus from Burwick to Kirkwall. There’s one bus daily in May and two daily from June to early September.
Northlink Ferries has connections to the Shetlands Islands and Aberdeen.
Pentland Ferries offers ferries from Gills Bay, about 5 kilometres west of John o’Groats, and head to St Margaret’s Hope in Orkney about 3 or 4 times daily depending on the season.
Eday, North Ronaldsay, Papa Westray, Sanday, Stronsay and Westray are all served by Logainair from Kirkwall.
Getting around the islands' small and narrow roads is a great way of exploring the islands. Rental cars are available on the airport and in Kirkwall. Check the Orkney Carhire website for rates.
Orkney Coaches runs bus services on Mainland and South Ronaldsay, but most buses don't run on Sundays.
Causeway Coaches runs to St Margaret’s Hope on South Ronaldsay.
http://www.orkneyferries.co.uk|Orkney Ferries]] operates boats between several islands, including Hoy, Flotta and the northern Orkney islands.
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