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Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
in the
Northern Isles The Northern Isles ( sco, Northren Isles; gd, Na h-Eileanan a Tuath; non, Norðreyjar; nrn, Nordøjar) are a pair of archipelagos off the north coast of mainland Scotland, comprising Orkney and Shetland. They are part of Scotland, as the Hebr ...
of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, situated off the north coast of the island of
Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the British Isles, the List of European islands by area, largest European island, and the List of i ...

Great Britain
. Orkney is 10 miles (16 km) north of the coast of
Caithness Caithness ( gd, Gallaibh , sco, Caitnes; non, Katanes) is a Shires of Scotland, historic county, registration county and Lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. Caithness has a land boundary with the historic county of Su ...

Caithness
and has about 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. The largest island,
Mainland, Orkney The Mainland, also known as Hrossey and Pomona, is the main island of Orkney, Scotland. Both of Orkney's burghs, Kirkwall and Stromness, lie on the island, which is also the heart of Orkney's ferry and air connections. Seventy-five per cent of Or ...
, is often referred to as "the Mainland", and has an area of , making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles. Orkney’s largest settlement, and also its administrative centre, is
Kirkwall Kirkwall ( sco, Kirkwaa, gd, Bàgh na h-Eaglaise, nrn, Kirkavå) is the largest town in Orkney, an archipelago to the north of mainland Scotland. The name Kirkwall comes from the Old Norse, Norse name (''Church Bay''), which later changed ...

Kirkwall
. Orkney is one of the 32
council areas For Local government in Scotland, local government purposes, Scotland is divided into 32 areas designated as "council areas" ( gd, comhairlean), which are all governed by unitary authority, single-tier authorities designated as "councils". They ...
of Scotland, as well as a
constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) precinct, electoral area, circumscription, or electorate, is a subdivision of a larger state Sta ...

constituency
of the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; : ''Scots Pairlament'') is the , legislature of . Located in the area of the capital city, , it is frequently referred to by the Holyrood. The Parliament is a democratically elected body ...

Scottish Parliament
, a
lieutenancy area Lieutenancy areas are the separate areas of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a s ...
, and an historic county. The local council is
Orkney Islands Council The Orkney Islands Council is the local authority for Orkney, Scotland. It was established in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and was largely unaffected by the Scottish local government changes of the mid-1990s. It provides service ...
, one of only three councils in Scotland with a majority of elected members who are independents. The islands have been inhabited for at least years, originally occupied by
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
and
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
tribes and then by the
Picts , Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area, Historic counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay an ...
. Orkney was colonized and later annexed by the
Kingdom of Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official written standard for the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North ...
in 875 and settled by the
Norsemen The Norsemen (or Norse people) were a North Germanic The North Germanic languages make up one of the three branches of the Germanic languages—a sub-family of the Indo-European languages—along with the West Germanic languages and the extin ...
. In 1472, the
Parliament of Scotland The Parliament of Scotland ( sco, Pairlament o Scotland; gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba) was the legislature A legislature is an assembly Assembly may refer to: Organisations and meetings * Deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a ...
absorbed the
Earldom of Orkney The Earldom of Orkney is the official status of the Orkney Islands. It was originally a Norse feudal dignity in Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United King ...
into the
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland ( gd, Rìoghachd na h-Alba; sco, Kinrick o Scotland) was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. Inte ...
, following failure to pay a
dowry A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, prop ...
promised to
James III of Scotland James III (10 July 1451/May 1452 – 11 June 1488) was King of Scots from 1460 until his Battle of Sauchieburn, death in battle in 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a po ...

James III of Scotland
by the family of his bride, Margaret of Denmark. In addition to the Mainland, most of the remaining islands are divided into two groups: the North Isles and the South Isles. The climate is relatively mild and the soils are extremely fertile; most of the land is farmed, and agriculture is the most important sector of the economy. The significant wind- and marine-energy resources are of growing importance; the amount of electricity that Orkney generates annually from renewable energy sources exceeds its demand. The local people are known as Orcadians; they speak a distinctive
dialect The term dialect (from , , from the word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of phenomena: * One usage refers to a of a that is a characteristic of a particular group of ...
of the
Scots language Scots (endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is a ...
and have a rich body of folklore. Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe; the "
Heart of Neolithic Orkney Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first se ...
" is a designated
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
. Orkney also has an abundance of marine and avian wildlife.


Etymology

Pytheas Pytheas of Massalia (; Ancient Greek: Πυθέας ὁ Μασσαλιώτης ''Pythéas ho Massaliōtēs''; Latin: ''Pytheas Massiliensis''; born 350 BC, 320–306 BC) was a Greeks, Greek List of Graeco-Roman geographers, geographer, explore ...
of
Massilia Massalia (Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as o ...

Massilia
visited Britain – probably sometime between 322 and 285 BC – and described it as triangular in shape, with a northern tip called ''Orcas''.Breeze, David J. "The ancient geography of Scotland" in Smith and Banks (2002) pp. 11–13. This may have referred to
Dunnet Head Dunnet Head ( gd, Ceann Dùnaid) is a peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from ' "almost" and ' "island") is a landform surrounded by water on most of its border while being connected to a mainland from which it extends. The surrounding wat ...
, from which Orkney is visible."Early Historical References to Orkney"
Orkneyjar.com. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
Writing in the 1st century AD, the Roman geographer
Pomponius Mela Pomponius Mela, who wrote around AD 43, was the earliest Roman geographer. He was born in Tingentera (now Algeciras) and died  AD 45. His short work (''De situ orbis libri III.'') remained in use nearly to the year 1500. It occupies less th ...
called the islands , as did
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...

Tacitus
in 98 AD, claiming that his father-in-law
Agricola AGRICOLA (AGRICultural OnLine Access) is an online database created and maintained by the United States National Agricultural Library of the United States Department of Agriculture. The database serves as the catalog and index for the collections ...
had "discovered and subjugated the Orcades hitherto unknown" (although both Mela and
Pliny Pliny may refer to: People from antiquity * Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79), ancient Roman nobleman, scientist, historian, and author of ''Naturalis Historia'' (''Pliny's Natural History'') * Pliny the Younger (died 113), ancient Roman statesman, ...

Pliny
had previously referred to the islands). Etymologists usually interpret the element as a
Pictish Pictish is the extinct language An extinct language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer ...
tribal name meaning "young pig" or "young
boar The wild boar (''Sus scrofa''), also known as the wild swine, common wild pig, Eurasian wild pig, or simply wild pig, is a suid native to much of Eurasia Eurasia () is the largest continent A continent is any of several large ...

boar
". Waugh, Doreen J. "Orkney Place-names" in Omand (2003) p. 116. Speakers of
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
referred to the islands as "islands of the young pigs"."The Origin of Orkney"
Orkneyjar.com. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
The
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
is known as in modern
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
and in modern
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
, the representing a
fossilized A fossil (from Classical Latin: , literally 'obtained by digging') is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, Seashell, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of ...
prepositional case In grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The te ...
ending. Some earlier sources alternatively hypothesise that Orkney comes from the Latin , whale. The Anglo-Saxon monk
Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerable ( la, Beda Venerabilis), was an English Benedictine The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict ( la, Ordo Sanc ...

Bede
refers to the islands as in ''
Ecclesiastical History of the English People The ''Ecclesiastical History of the English People'' ( la, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum), written by the Venerable Bede Bede ( ; ang, Bǣda , ; 672/326 May 735), also known as Saint Bede, The Venerable Bede, and Bede the Venerabl ...
''.
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including the t ...
settlers arriving from the late ninth century reinterpreted ''orc'' as the
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia Scandinavia; : ''Skades ...
"
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, List of semiaquatic tetrapods, semiaquati ...
" and added "islands" to the end, so the name became "Seal Islands". The plural suffix was later removed in English leaving the modern name ''Orkney''. According to the , Orkney was named after an
earl Earl () is a rank of the nobility in Britain. The title originates in the Old English word ''eorl'', meaning "a man of noble birth or rank". The word is cognate with the Scandinavia Scandinavia, Sami languages, Sami: ''Skadesi-suolu''/''S ...

earl
called Orkan. The Norse knew
Mainland, Orkney The Mainland, also known as Hrossey and Pomona, is the main island of Orkney, Scotland. Both of Orkney's burghs, Kirkwall and Stromness, lie on the island, which is also the heart of Orkney's ferry and air connections. Seventy-five per cent of Or ...
as "Mainland" or as "Horse Island".Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 354. The island is sometimes referred to as ''Pomona'' (or ''Pomonia''), a name that stems from a 16th-century mistranslation by
George Buchanan George Buchanan ( gd, Seòras Bochanan; February 1506 – 28 September 1582) was a Scottish historian and humanist scholar. According to historian Keith Brown, Buchanan was "the most profound intellectual sixteenth century Scotland produced." ...

George Buchanan
, which has rarely been used locally.


History


Prehistory

A charred
hazelnut The hazelnut is the nut (fruit), fruit of the hazel, hazel tree and therefore includes any of the nuts deriving from species of the genus ''Corylus'', especially the nuts of the species ''Corylus avellana''. They are also known as cobnuts or ...

hazelnut
shell, recovered in 2007 during excavations in Tankerness on the Mainland, has been dated to 6820–6660 BC, indicating the presence of Mesolithic nomadic tribes. The earliest known permanent settlement is at
Knap of Howar The Knap of Howar () on the island of Papa Westray in Orkney, Scotland is a Neolithic farmstead which may be the oldest preserved stone house in northern Europe. Radiocarbon dating shows that it was occupied from 37th century BC, 3700 BC to 2800 ...

Knap of Howar
, a Neolithic farmstead on the island of Papa Westray, which dates from 3500 BC. The village of
Skara Brae Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12 ...

Skara Brae
, Europe's best-preserved Neolithic settlement, is believed to have been inhabited from around 3100 BC. Other remains from that era include the
Standing Stones of Stenness Sunset at the Standing Stones of Stenness The Standing Stones of Stenness is a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several ...

Standing Stones of Stenness
, the
Maeshowe Maeshowe (or Maes Howe; non, Orkhaugr) is a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first s ...

Maeshowe
passage grave image:Thap passage tomb.JPG, 250px, A simple passage tomb in Carrowmore near Sligo in Ireland A passage grave or passage tomb consists of one or more burial chambers covered in earth or with stone, and having a narrow access passage made of large s ...
, the
Ring of Brodgar The Ring of Brodgar (or Brogar, or Ring o' Brodgar) is a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It ...

Ring of Brodgar
and other standing stones. Many of the Neolithic settlements were abandoned around 2500 BC, possibly due to changes in the climate. In September 2021, archaeologists announced the discovery of two polished stone balls in a 5500-year-old Neolithic burial tomb in Sanday. According to Dr Hugo Anderson, the second object was as the “size of a cricket ball, perfectly spherical and beautifully finished". During the
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a prehistoric that was characterized by the use of , in some areas , and other early features of urban . The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the , as proposed in modern times by , for classifying and studying a ...
, fewer large stone structures were built (although the great ceremonial circles continued in use) as metalworking was slowly introduced to Britain from Europe over a lengthy period. There are relatively few Orcadian sites dating from this era although there is the impressive Plumcake Mound near the Ring of Brodgar and various island sites such as Tofts Ness on Sanday and the remains of two houses on
Holm of Faray The Holm of Faray is a small island in Orkney, Scotland, near Faray and Westray, which it lies between. Together with its neighbour Faray, it is designated a SSSI due to its importance as a haul-out site and breeding area for grey seals. Geograp ...
.


Iron Age

Excavations at Quanterness on the Mainland have revealed an
Atlantic roundhouse In archaeology Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis of material culture. Archaeology is often considered a branch of socio-cultural anthropology, but archaeologists also draw from biologi ...
built about 700 BC and similar finds have been made at Bu on the Mainland and Pierowall Quarry on Westray. The most impressive
Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age division of the prehistory Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, or world history, is the narrative of Human, humanity's pa ...
structures of Orkney are the ruins of later round towers called "
broch A broch () is an Iron Age The Iron Age is the final epoch of the three-age system, three-age division of the prehistory and protohistory of Homo sapiens, humanity. It was preceded by the Stone Age (Paleolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Ch ...
s" and their associated settlements such as the Broch of Burroughston and . The nature and origin of these buildings is a subject of debate. Other structures from this period include , and aisled roundhouses, the latter usually in association with earlier broch sites. During the
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
invasion of Britain the "King of Orkney" was one of 11 British leaders who is said to have submitted to the Emperor
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...

Claudius
in AD 43 at
Camulodunum Camulodunum (; la, ), the Roman Empire, Ancient Roman name for what is now Colchester in Essex, was an important town in Roman Britain, and the first capital of the province. It is claimed to be the oldest town in Britain.McWhirr, Alan (1988) R ...
(modern Colchester). After the Agricolan fleet had come and gone, possibly anchoring at
Shapinsay Shapinsay ( sco, Shapinsee) is one of the Orkney, Orkney Islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. There is one village on the island, Balfour, Orkney, Balfour, from which Roll-on/roll-off, roll-on/roll-off car ferries sail to Kirkwall ...
, direct Roman influence seems to have been limited to trade rather than conquest.Thomson (2005) pp. 4–6.
Polemius SilviusPolemius Silvius ('' fl.'' 5th century) was the author of an annotated Julian calendar The Julian calendar, proposed by Julius Caesar in , was a reform of the Roman calendar. It took effect on , by edict. It was designed with the aid of Greek ma ...
wrote a list of Late Roman provinces, which
Seeck Otto Karl Seeck (2 February 1850 – 29 June 1921) was a German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see al ...
appended to his edition of the
Notitia Dignitatum Palestine and the River Jordan, from the ''Notitia Dignitatum'' illuminated by Peronet Lamy.">Peronet_Lamy.html" ;"title="River Jordan, from the ''Notitia Dignitatum'' illuminated by Peronet Lamy">River Jordan, from the ''Notitia Dignitatum'' ...
. The list names six provinces in Roman Britannia: the sixth is the dubious "Orcades provincia", the possible existence of which recent researches re-evaluate. By the late Iron Age, Orkney was part of the
Pictish Pictish is the extinct language An extinct language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer ...
kingdom, and although the
archaeological Archaeology or archeology is the study of human activity through the recovery and analysis Analysis is the process of breaking a complex topic or substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote ...

archaeological
remains from this period are less impressive, the fertile soils and rich seas of Orkney probably provided the Picts with a comfortable living. The Dalriadic
Gaels The Gaels ( ; ga, Na Gaeil ; gd, Na Gàidheil ; gv, Ny Gaeil ) are an ethnolinguistic group An ethnolinguistic group (or ethno-linguistic group) is a group that is unified by both a common ethnicity An ethnic group or ethnicity is a g ...

Gaels
began to influence the islands towards the close of the Pictish era, perhaps principally through the role of
Celtic The words Celt and Celtic (also Keltic) may refer to: Ethno-linguistics *Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: ...
missionaries A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or provide services, such as education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), ...

missionaries
, as evidenced by several islands bearing the epithet "Papa" in commemoration of these preachers. Before the Gaelic presence could establish itself the Picts were gradually dispossessed by the
North Germanic peoples North Germanic peoples, commonly called Scandinavians, Nordic peoples and in a medieval In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and th ...
from the late 8th century onwards. The nature of this transition is controversial, and theories range from peaceful integration to
enslavement Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for another person (a slaver), while treated as property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved person being made ...
and
genocide Genocide is the attempted destruction of a people, usually defined as an ethnic An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish t ...
. It has been suggested that an assault by forces from
Fortriu Fortriu or the Kingdom of Fortriu is the name given by historians to a Pictish Pictish is the extinct language spoken by the Picts , Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area, Historic counties of Scotland, historic ...
in 681 in which Orkney was "annihilated" may have led to a weakening of the local power base and helped the Norse come to prominence.


Norwegian rule

Both Orkney and
Shetland Shetland ( on, Hjaltland; sco, Shetland; nrn, Hjetland), also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or co ...

Shetland
saw a significant influx of Norwegian settlers during the late 8th and early 9th centuries.
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Pro ...

Viking
s made the islands the headquarters of their
pirate Piracy is an act of robbery Robbery is the crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted ...

pirate
expeditions carried out against Norway and the coasts of mainland Scotland. In response, Norwegian king
Harald Fairhair Harald I Fairhair (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their Viking expansion, overseas settlements from about the 7 ...
(Harald Hårfagre) annexed the
Northern Isles The Northern Isles ( sco, Northren Isles; gd, Na h-Eileanan a Tuath; non, Norðreyjar; nrn, Nordøjar) are a pair of archipelagos off the north coast of mainland Scotland, comprising Orkney and Shetland. They are part of Scotland, as the Hebr ...
, comprising Orkney and Shetland, in 875. (It is clear that this story, which appears in the ''
Orkneyinga Saga The ''Orkneyinga saga'' (Old Norse: ; also called the ''History of the Earls of Orkney'' and ''Jarls' Saga'') is a narrative of the history of the Orkney and Shetland islands and their relationship with other local polities, particularly Norw ...

Orkneyinga Saga
'', is based on the later voyages of
Magnus Barelegs Magnus Olafsson (Old Norse: ''Magnús Óláfsson'', Norwegian language, Norwegian: ''Magnus Olavsson''; 1073 – 24 August 1103), better known as Magnus Barefoot (Old Norse: ''Magnús berfœttr'', Norwegian: ''Magnus Berrføtt''), was King o ...
and some scholars believe it to be apocryphal.)
Rognvald Eysteinsson Rognvald Eysteinsson (''fl.'' 865) was the founding Jarl (or Earl) of Møre in Norway Norway, officially the Kingdom of Norway,Names in the official and recognised languages: Bokmål Bokmål (, ; literally "book tongue") is an official ...
received Orkney and Shetland from Harald as an earldom as reparation for the death of his son in battle in Scotland, and then passed the earldom on to his brother Sigurd the Mighty. However, Sigurd's line barely survived him and it was
Torf-Einarr Einarr Rognvaldarson often referred to by his Epithet, byname Torf-Einarr (sometimes anglicised as Turf-Einarr), (''fl.'' early 890s–c. 910) was one of the Norsemen, Norse earls of Orkney. The son of the Norse ''earl, jarl'', Rognvald Eysteinss ...
, Rognvald's son by a slave, who founded a dynasty that controlled the islands for centuries after his death. He was succeeded by his son
Thorfinn Skull-splitter Thorfinn Torf-EinarssonCrawford (1987) p. 63 also known as Thorfinn Skull-splitterThomson (2008) p. 57 (from the Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language that was spoken by ...
and during this time the deposed Norwegian King
Eric Bloodaxe (died 954), nicknamed Eric Bloodaxe, * Modern Norwegian Modern Norwegian ( no, moderne norsk) is the Norwegian language Norwegian (Norwegian: ''norsk'') is a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language spoken mainly in Norway, where it i ...
often used Orkney as a raiding base before being killed in 954. Thorfinn's death and presumed burial at the broch of Hoxa, on
South Ronaldsay South Ronaldsay ( sco, Sooth Ronalshee) is one of the Orkney Islands Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast o ...
, led to a long period of dynastic strife. Initially a pagan culture, detailed information about the turn to the Christian religion to the islands of Scotland during the Norse-era is elusive. The ''Orkneyinga Saga'' suggests the islands were Christianised by Olaf Tryggvasson in 995 when he stopped at
South Walls South Walls ( sco, Sooth Waas), often referred to as Walls is an inhabited island adjacent to Hoy in Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), s ...
on his way from Ireland to Norway. The King summoned the ''''
Sigurd the Stout Sigurd Hlodvirsson (23 April 1014), popularly known as Sigurd the Stout from the Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nor ...
and said, "I order you and all your subjects to be baptised. If you refuse, I'll have you killed on the spot and I swear I will ravage every island with fire and steel." Unsurprisingly, Sigurd agreed and the islands became Christian at a stroke,Thomson (2008) p. 69. quoting the ''
Orkneyinga Saga The ''Orkneyinga saga'' (Old Norse: ; also called the ''History of the Earls of Orkney'' and ''Jarls' Saga'') is a narrative of the history of the Orkney and Shetland islands and their relationship with other local polities, particularly Norw ...

Orkneyinga Saga
'' chapter 12.
receiving their own
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...
in the early 11th century.
Thorfinn the Mighty Thorfinn Sigurdsson (1009?– 1065), also known as Thorfinn the Mighty, (Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian was a North Germanic languages, North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and thei ...
was a son of Sigurd and a grandson of (''Máel Coluim mac Cináeda''). Along with Sigurd's other sons he ruled Orkney during the first half of the 11th century and extended his authority over a small maritime empire stretching from
Dublin Dublin (; , or ) is the capital and largest city of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster-Scots: ) is an island upright=1.15, Great_Britain.html"_;"title="Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain">Ireland_(left)_and_Great_Britain_ ...

Dublin
to
Shetland Shetland ( on, Hjaltland; sco, Shetland; nrn, Hjetland), also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or co ...

Shetland
. Thorfinn died around 1065 and his sons Paul and Erlend succeeded him, fighting at the
Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Stamford Bridge ( ang, Gefeoht æt Stanfordbrycge) took place at the village of Stamford Bridge, East Riding of Yorkshire Stamford Bridge is a village and civil parishes in England, civil parish on the River Derwent, Yorkshire, ...
in 1066. Paul and Erlend quarreled as adults and this dispute carried on to the next generation. The
martyr A martyr (, ''mártys'', "witness", or , ''marturia'', stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem, the aboveground structures that have vascular tissue and that support leaves and flowers ** Stipe (botany), a stalk that supports some ...

martyr
dom of
Magnus Erlendsson Saint Magnus Erlendsson, Earl of Orkney, sometimes known as Magnus the Martyr, was Earl of Orkney The Earl of Orkney was originally a Norsemen, Norse Jarl (title), jarl ruling the archipelagos of Orkney and Shetland (''Norðreyjar''). Original ...
, who was killed in April 1116 by his cousin
Haakon Paulsson Haakon Paulsson (Old Norse: Hákon Pálsson) was a Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *De ...
, resulted in the building of , still today a dominating feature of Kirkwall. Unusually, from c. 1100 onwards the Norse ''jarls'' owed allegiance both to Norway for Orkney and to the Scottish crown through their holdings as
Earls of Caithness Earl of Caithness is a title that has been created several times in the Peerage of Scotland, and it has a very complex history. Its first grant, in the modern sense as to have been counted in strict lists of peerages, is now generally held to have ...
. In 1231 the line of Norse earls, unbroken since Rognvald, ended with Jon Haraldsson's murder in Thurso. The Earldom of Caithness was granted to Magnus II, Earl of Orkney, Magnus, second son of the Earl of Angus, whom Haakon IV of Norway confirmed as Earl of Orkney in 1236. In 1290, the death of the child princess Margaret, Maid of Norway in Orkney, en route to mainland Scotland, created a disputed succession that led to the Wars of Scottish Independence.Thompson (2008) pp. 146–47. In 1379 the earldom passed to the Clan Sinclair, Sinclair family, who were also barons of Roslin Castle, Roslin near Edinburgh. Evidence of the Viking presence is widespread, and includes the settlement at the Brough of Birsay, the vast majority of Toponymy, place names, and the Runic alphabet, runic inscriptions at Maeshowe.


Absorbed by Scotland

In 1468 Orkney was pledge (law), pledged by Christian I of Denmark, Christian I, in his capacity as King of Norway, as security against the payment of the
dowry A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride's family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. Dowry contrasts with the related concepts of bride price Bride price, bridewealth, or bride token, is money, prop ...
of his daughter Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland, Margaret, betrothed to
James III of Scotland James III (10 July 1451/May 1452 – 11 June 1488) was King of Scots from 1460 until his Battle of Sauchieburn, death in battle in 1488. James was an unpopular and ineffective monarch owing to an unwillingness to administer justice fairly, a po ...

James III of Scotland
. However the money was never paid, and Orkney was absorbed by the
Kingdom of Scotland The Kingdom of Scotland ( gd, Rìoghachd na h-Alba; sco, Kinrick o Scotland) was a sovereign state A sovereign state is a polity, political entity represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. Inte ...
in 1472. The history of Orkney prior to this time is largely the history of the ruling aristocracy. From now on the ordinary people emerge with greater clarity. An influx of Scottish entrepreneurs helped to create a diverse and independent community that included farmers, fishermen and merchants that called themselves ''comunitas Orcadie'' and who proved themselves increasingly able to defend their rights against their feudal overlords. From at least the 16th century, boats from mainland Scotland and the Netherlands dominated the local herring fishery. There is little evidence of an Orcadian fleet until the 19th century but it grew rapidly and 700 boats were involved by the 1840s with Stronsay and later Stromness becoming leading centres of development. Whitefish (fisheries term), White fish never became as dominant as in other Scottish ports. In the 17th century, Orcadians formed the overwhelming majority of employees of the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada. The harsh winter weather of Orkney and the Orcadian reputation for sobriety and their boat handling skills made them ideal candidates for the rigours of the Canadian north. During this period, burning kelp briefly became a mainstay of the islands' economy. For example on Shapinsay over of burned seaweed were produced per annum to make soda ash, bringing in £20,000 to the local economy. The industry collapsed suddenly in 1830 after the removal of tariffs on imported alkali. Agricultural improvements beginning in the 17th century resulted in the enclosure of the commons and ultimately in the Victoria era the emergence of large and well-managed farms using a five-shift rotation system and producing high-quality beef cattle. During the 18th century Jacobite risings, Orkney was largely Jacobite in its sympathies. At the end of the 1715 rebellion, a large number of Jacobites who had fled north from mainland Scotland sought refuge in Orkney and were helped on to safety in Sweden. In 1745, the Jacobite lairds on the islands ensured that Orkney remained pro-Jacobite in outlook, and was a safe place to land supplies from Spain to aid their cause. Orkney was the last place in the British Isles that held out for the Jacobites and was not retaken by the Broad Bottom Ministry, British Government until 24 May 1746, over a month after the defeat of the main Jacobite army at Battle of Culloden, Culloden.


20th century

Orkney was the site of a Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow, which played a major role in World War I and World War II, II. After the Armistice in 1918, the German High Seas Fleet was transferred in its entirety to Scapa Flow to await a decision on its future. Scuttling of the German fleet at Scapa Flow, The German sailors opened the seacocks and scuttled all the ships. Most ships were salvaged, but the remaining wrecks are now a favoured haunt of recreational divers. One month into World War II, a German U-boat sank the Royal Navy battleship in Scapa Flow. As a result, Churchill Barriers, barriers were built to close most of the access channels; these had the additional advantage of creating causeways enabling travellers to go from island to island by road instead of being obliged to rely on ferries. The causeways were constructed by Italian prisoners of war, who also constructed the ornate Italian Chapel.Thomson (2008) pp. 434–36. The navy base became run down after the war, eventually closing in 1957. The problem of a declining population was significant in the post-war years, though in the last decades of the 20th century there was a recovery and life in Orkney focused on growing prosperity and the emergence of a relatively classless society. Orkney was rated as the best place to live in Scotland in both 2013 and 2014, and in 2019 the best place to live in the UK, according to the Halifax Quality of Life survey.


Overview of population trends

In the modern era, population peaked in the mid 19th century at just over 32,000 and declined for a century thereafter to a low of fewer than 18,000 in the 1970s. Declines were particularly significant in the outlying islands, some of which remain vulnerable to ongoing losses. Although Orkney is in many ways very distinct from the other islands and archipelagos of Scotland these trends are very similar to those experienced elsewhere."Orkney Islands"
Vision of Britain. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
The archipelago's population grew by 11% in the decade to 2011 as recorded by the United Kingdom Census 2011, census. During the same period List of Scottish islands, Scottish island populations as a whole grew by 4% to 103,702.


Geography

Orkney is separated from the mainland of Scotland by the Pentland Firth, a seaway between Brough Ness on the island of
South Ronaldsay South Ronaldsay ( sco, Sooth Ronalshee) is one of the Orkney Islands Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast o ...
and Duncansby Head in
Caithness Caithness ( gd, Gallaibh , sco, Caitnes; non, Katanes) is a Shires of Scotland, historic county, registration county and Lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. Caithness has a land boundary with the historic county of Su ...

Caithness
. Orkney lies between 58°41′ and 59°24′ north, and 2°22′ and 3°26′ west, measuring from northeast to southwest and from east to west, and covers ."Get-a-Map"
Ordnance Survey. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
Orkney is separated from the Shetland Islands, a group farther out, by a body of water called the Fair Isle Channel. The islands are mainly low-lying except for some sharply rising sandstone hills on Mainland, Rousay and Hoy (where the tallest point in Orkney, Ward Hill, Hoy, Ward Hill, can be found) and rugged cliffs on some western coasts. Nearly all of the islands have lochs, but the watercourses are merely streams draining the high land. The coastlines are indented, and the islands themselves are divided from each other by straits generally called "sounds" or "firths".Brown, John Flett "Geology and Landscape" in Omand (2003) p. 19. The Tide, tidal currents, or "roosts" as some of them are called locally, off many of the isles are swift, with frequent whirlpools. The islands are notable for the absence of trees, which is partly accounted for by the strong winds.


Administration

The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1889 established a uniform system of county councils in Scotland and realigned the boundaries of many of Scotland's counties. Subsequently, Orkney County Council was created in 1890. Orkney County Council was based at the County Offices in School Place in Kirkwall. Orkney is now administered by the
Orkney Islands Council The Orkney Islands Council is the local authority for Orkney, Scotland. It was established in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and was largely unaffected by the Scottish local government changes of the mid-1990s. It provides service ...
, a Unitary authority, unitary Islands council areas of Scotland, island council created in the Scottish Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, local government re-organization in 1975. In that year Scotland’s civil parishes were replaced by Community council, Community Council Areas, which had an advisory, rather than an administrative role. Orkney’s parishes were replaced by List of community council areas in Scotland#Orkney, 20 CCA’s covering 34 rural settlements. Ten of these CCA’s were formed on Mainland, replacing 13 Civil parishes in Scotland, civil parish and two burgh councils. The original civil parishes were as follows: # Birsay and Harray (united in the 19th century) # Cross and Burness (united at an unknown date) # Eday # Evie and Rendall (united in the 16th century) # Firth # Holm # Hoy & Graemsay # Kirkwall & St Ola # Lady # Orphir # Papa Westray # Rousay & Egilsay # Sandwick # Shapinsay # South Ronaldsay and Burray (union of ancient parishes of St Mary's, St Peter's, and Burray) # St Andrews and Deerness (united at an unknown date) # Stenness # Stromness # Stronsay (union of ancient parishes of Lady, St Nicholas, and Stronsay St Peter's) # Walls and Flotta (united at an unknown date) # Westray


Demographics

Genetic studies have shown that 25% of the gene pool of Orkney derives from Norwegian ancestors who invaded the islands in the 9th century.


Islands


The Mainland

The Mainland is the largest island of Orkney. Both of Orkney's burghs,
Kirkwall Kirkwall ( sco, Kirkwaa, gd, Bàgh na h-Eaglaise, nrn, Kirkavå) is the largest town in Orkney, an archipelago to the north of mainland Scotland. The name Kirkwall comes from the Old Norse, Norse name (''Church Bay''), which later changed ...

Kirkwall
and Stromness, are on this island, which is also the heart of Orkney's transport system, with ferry and air connections to the other islands and to the outside world. The island is more heavily populated (75% of Orkney's population) than the other islands and has much fertile Farmland (farming), farmland. The Mainland is split into areas called East and West Mainland. These areas are determined by whether they lie east or west of Kirkwall. The bulk of the mainland lies west of Kirkwall, with comparatively little land east of Kirkwall. West Mainland parishes are: Stromness (parish), Stromness, Sandwick, Birsay, Harray, Stenness, Orphir, Evie, Rendall and Firth. East Mainland Parishes are: St Ola, Tankerness, St Andrews, Holm and Deerness. The island is mostly low-lying (especially East Mainland) but with coastal cliffs to the north and west and two sizeable lochs: the Loch of Harray and the Loch of Stenness. The Mainland contains the remnants of numerous
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
,
Pictish Pictish is the extinct language An extinct language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer ...
and
Viking Vikings—"pirate", non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people primarily from Scandinavia Scandinavia; Sami Places * Sápmi, a cultural region in Northern Europe * Sami, Burkina Faso, a district of the Banwa Pro ...

Viking
constructions. Four of the main Neolithic sites are included in the
Heart of Neolithic Orkney Heart of Neolithic Orkney refers to a group of Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first se ...
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for h ...
, inscribed in 1999. The other islands in the group are classified as north or south of the Mainland. Exceptions are the remote islets of Sule Skerry and Sule Stack, which lie west of the archipelago, but form part of Orkney for local government purposes. In island names, the suffix "a" or "ay" represents the Norse ''ey'', meaning "island". Those described as "Holm (island), holms" are very small.


The North Isles

The northern group of islands is the most extensive and consists of a large number of moderately sized islands, linked to the Mainland by ferries and by air services. Farming, fishing and tourism are the main sources of income for most of the islands. The most northerly is North Ronaldsay, which lies beyond its nearest neighbour, Sanday. To the west is Westray, which has a population of 550. It is connected by ferry and air to Papa Westray, also known as "Papay". Eday is at the centre of the North Isles. The centre of the island is moorland and the island's main industries have been peat extraction and limestone quarrying. Rousay, Egilsay and Gairsay lie north of the west Mainland across the Eynhallow Sound. Rousay is well known for its ancient monuments, including the Quoyness chambered cairn and Egilsay has the ruins of the only round-towered church in Orkney. Wyre, Orkney, Wyre to the south-east contains the site of Cubbie Roo's castle. Stronsay and Papa Stronsay lie much further to the east across the Stronsay Firth. Auskerry is south of Stronsay and has a population of only five.
Shapinsay Shapinsay ( sco, Shapinsee) is one of the Orkney, Orkney Islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. There is one village on the island, Balfour, Orkney, Balfour, from which Roll-on/roll-off, roll-on/roll-off car ferries sail to Kirkwall ...
and its Balfour Castle are a short distance north of Kirkwall. Other small uninhabited islands in the North Isles group include Calf of Eday, Damsay, Eynhallow, Faray, Helliar Holm,
Holm of Faray The Holm of Faray is a small island in Orkney, Scotland, near Faray and Westray, which it lies between. Together with its neighbour Faray, it is designated a SSSI due to its importance as a haul-out site and breeding area for grey seals. Geograp ...
, Holm of Huip, Holm of Papa, Holm of Scockness, Kili Holm, Linga Holm, Muckle Green Holm, Rusk Holm and Sweyn Holm.


The South Isles

The southern group of islands surrounds Scapa Flow. Hoy, to the west, is the second largest of the Orkney Isles and Ward Hill, Hoy, Ward Hill at its northern end is the highest elevation in the archipelago. The Old Man of Hoy is a well-known Stack (geology), seastack. Graemsay and Flotta are both linked by ferry to the Mainland and Hoy, and the latter is known for its large oil terminal.
South Walls South Walls ( sco, Sooth Waas), often referred to as Walls is an inhabited island adjacent to Hoy in Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), s ...
has a 19th-century Martello tower and is connected to Hoy by the Ayre. Burray lies to the east of Scapa Flow and is linked by causeway to South Ronaldsay, which hosts cultural events the Festival of the Horse and the Boys' Ploughing Match on the third Saturday in August. It is also the location of the Neolithic Tomb of the Eagles. South Ronaldsay, Burray, Glimps Holm, and Lamb Holm are connected by road to the Mainland by the Churchill Barriers. Uninhabited South Islands include Calf of Flotta, Cava (island), Cava, Copinsay, Corn Holm, Fara, Orkney, Fara, Glimps Holm, Hunda, Lamb Holm, Rysa Little, Switha and Swona. The Pentland Skerries lie further south, closer to the Scottish mainland.


Geology

The superficial rock of Orkney is almost entirely Old Red Sandstone, mostly of Middle Devonian age.Marshall, J.E.A., & Hewett, A.J. "Devonian" in Evans, D., Graham C., Armour, A., & Bathurst, P. (eds) (2003) ''The Millennium Atlas: petroleum geology of the central and northern North Sea''. As in the neighbouring mainland county of
Caithness Caithness ( gd, Gallaibh , sco, Caitnes; non, Katanes) is a Shires of Scotland, historic county, registration county and Lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. Caithness has a land boundary with the historic county of Su ...

Caithness
, this sandstone rests upon the metamorphic rock, metamorphic rocks of the Moine Supergroup, Moine series, as may be seen on the Mainland, where a narrow strip is exposed between Stromness and Inganess, and again in the small island of Graemsay; they are represented by grey gneiss and granite. The Middle Devonian is divided into three main groups. The lower part of the sequence, mostly Eifelian in age, is dominated by lacustrine beds of the lower and upper Stromness Flagstones that were deposited in Orcadian Basin, Lake Orcadie. The later Rousay flagstone formation is found throughout much of the North and South Isles and East Mainland.Brown, John Flett "Geology and Landscape" in Omand (2003) pp. 4–5. The Old Man of Hoy is formed from sandstone of the uppermost Eday group that is up to thick in places. It lies unconformably upon steeply inclined flagstones, the interpretation of which is a matter of continuing debate. The Devonian and older rocks of Orkney are cut by a series of WSW–ENE to N–S trending faults, many of which were active during deposition of the Devonian sequences. A strong Syncline, synclinal fold traverses Eday and Shapinsay, the axis trending north-south. Middle Devonian basaltic volcanic rocks are found on western Hoy, on Deerness in eastern Mainland and on Shapinsay. Correlation between the Hoy volcanics and the other two exposures has been proposed, but differences in chemistry means this remains uncertain. Lamprophyre Dike (geology), dykes of Late Permian age are found throughout Orkney. Glacial striation and the presence of chalk and flint Glacial erratic, erratics that originated from the bed of the North Sea demonstrate the influence of ice action on the geomorphology of the islands. Boulder clay is also abundant and moraines cover substantial areas.


Climate

Orkney has a cool temperate climate that is remarkably mild and steady for such a northerly latitude, due to the influence of the Gulf Stream. The average temperature for the year is ; for winter and for summer ."Regional mapped climate averages"
Met Office. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
The average annual rainfall varies from to . Winds are a key feature of the climate and even in summer there are almost constant breezes. In winter, there are frequent strong winds, with an average of 52 hours of gales being recorded annually. To tourists, one of the fascinations of the islands is their "nightless" summers. On the Midsummer, longest day, the sun rises at 04:00 and sets at 22:29 British Summer Time, BST and complete darkness is unknown. This long twilight is known in the Northern Isles as the "simmer dim". Winter nights are long. On the shortest day the sun rises at 09:05 and sets at 15:16. At this time of year the aurora borealis can occasionally be seen on the northern horizon during moderate auroral activity. The first averages table below is for largest settlement Kirkwall's weather station, the second is for the Loch of Hundland, a rural location to the north west of Mainland Orkney.


Politics

Orkney is represented in the British House of Commons, House of Commons as part of the Orkney and Shetland (UK Parliament constituency), Orkney and Shetland United Kingdom constituencies, constituency, which elects one Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP), the current incumbent being Alistair Carmichael. This seat has been held by the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Liberal Democrats or the former Scottish Liberal Party, Liberal Party since 1950, longer than any other they represent in Great Britain. In the
Scottish Parliament The Scottish Parliament ( gd, Pàrlamaid na h-Alba ; : ''Scots Pairlament'') is the , legislature of . Located in the area of the capital city, , it is frequently referred to by the Holyrood. The Parliament is a democratically elected body ...

Scottish Parliament
the Orkney (Scottish Parliament constituency), Orkney constituency elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) by the Plurality voting system, first past the post system. The current MSP is Liam McArthur of the Liberal Democrats. Before McArthur the MSP was Jim Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness, Jim Wallace, who was previously Deputy First Minister of Scotland, Deputy First Minister. Orkney is within the Highlands and Islands (Scottish Parliament electoral region), Highlands and Islands Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions, electoral region.
Orkney Islands Council The Orkney Islands Council is the local authority for Orkney, Scotland. It was established in 1975 by the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and was largely unaffected by the Scottish local government changes of the mid-1990s. It provides service ...
consists of 21 members, 18 of whom are Independent politician, independent, that is they do not stand as representatives of a political party. Two councillors are members of the indigenous Orkney Manifesto Group, and the remaining councillor represents the Scottish Greens. The Orkney Movement, a political party that supported devolution for Orkney from the rest of Scotland, contested the 1987 United Kingdom general election, 1987 general election as the Orkney and Shetland Movement (a coalition of the Orkney movement and its equivalent for Shetland). The Scottish National Party chose not to contest the seat to give the movement a "free run". Their candidate, John Goodlad, came 4th with 3,095 votes, 14.5% of those cast, but the experiment has not been repeated. In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum 67.2% of voters in Orkney voted No to the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?" This was the highest No vote by percentage in any council area in Scotland. Turnout for the referendum was at 83.7% in Orkney with 10,004 votes cast in the area against independence by comparison to 4,883 votes for independence. In the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum 63.2% of voters in Orkney voted Remain.


Economy

The soil of Orkney is generally very fertile and most of the land is taken up by farms, agriculture being by far the most important sector of the economy and providing employment for a quarter of the workforce according to a 2008 report. More than 90% of agricultural land is used for grazing for sheep and cattle, with cereal production utilising about 4% () and woodland occupying only ."Orkney Economic Review No. 23." (2008) Kirkwall. Orkney Islands Council. Fishing has declined in importance, but still employed 345 individuals in 2001, about 3.5% of the islands' economically active population, the modern industry concentrating on herring, white fish, Homarus gammarus, lobsters, crabs and other shellfish, and salmon fish farming. A 2009 report indicated the traditional sectors of the economy export beef, cheese, whisky, beer, fish and other seafood. In recent years there has been growth in other areas including tourism, food and beverage manufacture, jewellery, knitwear, and other crafts production, construction and oil transportation through the Flotta oil terminal. Retailing accounts for 17.5% of total employment, and public services also play a significant role, employing a third of the islands' workforce."Orkney Economic Update"
(1999) (pdf) HIE. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
There are two Scotch whisky distillation, distilleries in Orkney (Scapa distillery and the Highland Park distillery). In 2007, of the 1,420 VAT registered enterprises 55% were in agriculture, forestry and fishing, 12% in manufacturing and construction, 12% in wholesale, retail and repairs, and 5% in hotels and restaurants. A further 5% were public service related. 55% of these businesses employ between 5 and 49 people. A new report, published in September 2020, provided updates about several significant aspects of the economy:
there are around 1,500 businesses on the island. More than 90% have fewer than 10 employees. [Estimates indicate] 11,000 jobs, of which around 5,000 are part-time ... There's not much manufacturing, beyond food and drink processing (think cheese and whisky), and apart from the Flotta oil terminal, it lacks big private employers ... Fisheries off Orkney are only half as important to employment as in Shetland, and farming is roughly twice as important.
The report expressed concern about the loss of business caused by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic: "blighting business activity, travel and tourism". On 1 February 2021, a new plan (subsequent to previous funding schemes) from the Scottish government was announced. The Island Equivalent Payment Fund was designed to "provide the equivalent of Level 4 support to eligible businesses in Orkney and other island areas".


Tourism

A report published in February 2020 stated that spending by visitors increased from £49.5 million in 2017 to £67.1 million in 2019, making this a significant sector of the economy. The primary attractions that encourage tourism include the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" on the main island, defined as "a group of 5,000-year-old sites that include the preserved village of Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar stone circle". The Hoy area's landscape is also attractive to visitors, "with its scattered woodland, steep valleys, high cliffs and the famous Old Man, a withered red sandstone sea stack". During most years, the islands are the home of several international festivals, including the Orkney International Science Festival in September, a folk festival in May, and the St Magnus Festival, St Magnus International Arts Festival in June. The volume of visitors arriving on ferries declined substantially in 2020, by 71%, due to the COVID-19 pandemic A news report added that cruise ships also did not arrive and there were "no day trippers and no holiday lets" as of 25 April 2020. Several major events were cancelled: St Magnus Festival, Orkney Folk Festival, Stromness Shopping Week and the Agricultural Shows.


Power

Orkney has significant wind and marine energy resources, and Renewable energy in Scotland, renewable energy has recently come into prominence. Although Orkney is connected to the mainland, it generates over 100% renewable energy, 100% of its net power from renewables according to a 2015 report. This comes mainly from wind turbines situated across Orkney. The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) is a research facility operating a grid-connected wave test site at Billia Croo, off the west coast of the Orkney Mainland, and a tidal power test site in the Fall of Warness, off the northern island of Eday. At the official opening of the Eday project the site was described as "the first of its kind in the world set up to provide developers of wave and tidal energy devices with a purpose-built performance testing facility." During 2007 Scottish and Southern Energy plc in conjunction with the University of Strathclyde began the implementation of a Regional Power Zone in the Orkney archipelago, involving "active network management" that will make better use of existing infrastructure and allow a further 15 MW of new "non-firm generation" output from renewables onto the network. 1.5 MW of polymer electrolyte membrane electrolysis form a partial hydrogen economy for hydrogen vehicles and district heating, and grid batteries and electric vehicles also use local energy. Orkney has one of the highest uptakes of electric vehicles in the UK with more than 2% of the vehicles on the road being electric, as of 2019.


Hydrogen manufacturing

A March 2019 report by the BBC stated that "Orkney creates more clean electricity than its inhabitants need. Even after exporting to the UK national grid, the islands' winds, waves and tides generate about 130% of the electricity its population needs – all of it from clean sources". A report about sustainable energy in the islands listed two options. A new cable could be laid for exporting of energy to the mainland but another proposal has progressed rapidly since that time: making "excess renewable power into another fuel – such as hydrogen – and then [storing] it". In May 2020, CNN published more specifics about the hydrogen plan:
"Orkney's success in creating hydrogen using clean energy demonstrates that it can be done at scale. The islands are already using hydrogen to power vehicles, and it will soon be used to heat a local primary school. Now, Orkney is hoping to use hydrogen fuel cells to power a seagoing vessel able to transport both goods and passengers".
Additional specifics about the status of the hydrogen scheme were published in late November 2020 by Orkney Islands Council. A few weeks earlier, another report indicated that the world’s first hydrogen-fueled ferry was to be tested on the Orkney Islands, using "a hydrogen/diesel dual fuel conversion system", developed by a consortium known as the HyDIME project. Initially hydrogen was to power only the auxiliary engine but the plan calls for later using this fuel for the primary engine. The report suggested that, "if all goes well, hydrogen ferries could be sailing between Orkney’s islands within six months". Kirkwall Airport in Orkney was scheduled "to have its heat and power decarbonised through green hydrogen as part of a new project" starting in 2021. A hydrogen combustion engine system was to be connected to the airport’s heating system. The scheme planned to reduce the significant emissions that were created with older technology that heated buildings and water. This was part of the plan formulated by the Scottish government for the Highlands and Islands "to become the world’s first net zero aviation region by 2040". Hydrogen manufacturing is also planned for
Shetland Shetland ( on, Hjaltland; sco, Shetland; nrn, Hjetland), also called the Shetland Islands and formerly Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or co ...

Shetland
and will spread to other areas of Scotland that have access to clean electricity. To achieve that goal, the government announced an investment of £100 million in the hydrogen sector "for the £180 million Emerging Energy Technologies Fund".


Transport


Air

Highlands and Islands Airports Limited, Highland and Islands Airports operates the main airport in Orkney, Kirkwall Airport. Loganair provides services to the Scottish mainland (Aberdeen Airport, Aberdeen, Edinburgh Airport, Edinburgh, Glasgow Airport, Glasgow and Inverness Airport, Inverness), as well as to Sumburgh Airport in Shetland."Getting Here"
Visit Orkney. Retrieved 13 September 2009.
Within Orkney, the council operates airports on most of the larger islands including Stronsay Airport, Stronsay, Eday Airport, Eday, North Ronaldsay Airport, North Ronaldsay, Westray Airport, Westray, Papa Westray Airport, Papa Westray, Sanday Airport, Sanday, and Flotta#Airport, Flotta. The Loganair Westray to Papa Westray route, shortest scheduled air service in the world, between the islands of Westray and Papa Westray, is scheduled at two minutes' duration but can take less than one minute if the wind is in the right direction.


Ferry

Ferries serve both to link Orkney to the rest of Scotland, and also to link together the various islands of the Orkney archipelago. Ferry services operate between Orkney and the Scottish mainland and Shetland on the following routes: * Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope (operated by Pentland Ferries) * John o' Groats to Burwick, Orkney, Burwick on South Ronaldsay (seasonal passenger only service, operated by John o' Groats Ferries) * Lerwick, Shetland, Lerwick to Kirkwall (operated by NorthLink Ferries) * Aberdeen to Kirkwall (operated by NorthLink Ferries) * Scrabster Harbour, Thurso to Stromness (operated by NorthLink Ferries) Inter-island ferry services connect all the inhabited islands to Orkney Mainland, and are operated by Orkney Ferries, a company owned by Orkney Islands Council. The isles of Westray, Papa Westray (or Papay), North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Eday, Stronsay, and
Shapinsay Shapinsay ( sco, Shapinsee) is one of the Orkney, Orkney Islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland. There is one village on the island, Balfour, Orkney, Balfour, from which Roll-on/roll-off, roll-on/roll-off car ferries sail to Kirkwall ...
are served from Kirkwall harbour, while the northern end of Hoy and Graemsay are served from Stromness harbour, the Lyness end of Hoy, as well as Longhope, Orkney, Longhope on
South Walls South Walls ( sco, Sooth Waas), often referred to as Walls is an inhabited island adjacent to Hoy in Orkney Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), s ...
, and Flotta are served from Houton on the south of the mainland, and Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre, Orkney, Wyre are served from Tingwall, Orkney, Tingwall, in the Rendall area of the Orkney mainland. As well as this, the MV Golden Mariana connects the village of Pierowall on Westray with Papa Westray - this provides a vital local service for schoolchildren on Papay as well as supplementing existing through sailings from Kirkwall.


Bus

Local buses around the Orkney Mainland, Orkney, Mainland, as well as across the Churchill Barriers to Burray and
South Ronaldsay South Ronaldsay ( sco, Sooth Ronalshee) is one of the Orkney Islands Orkney (; sco, Orkney; on, Orkneyjar; nrn, Orknøjar), also known as the Orkney Islands, is an archipelago in the Northern Isles of Scotland, situated off the north coast o ...
, are operated by Stagecoach in the Highlands, Stagecoach in Orkney. The main route is the X1, connecting Stromness, Stenness for
Maeshowe Maeshowe (or Maes Howe; non, Orkhaugr) is a Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first s ...

Maeshowe
, Finstown,
Kirkwall Kirkwall ( sco, Kirkwaa, gd, Bàgh na h-Eaglaise, nrn, Kirkavå) is the largest town in Orkney, an archipelago to the north of mainland Scotland. The name Kirkwall comes from the Old Norse, Norse name (''Church Bay''), which later changed ...

Kirkwall
, St Mary's, Orkney, St Mary's, Burray Village, Burray, and St Margaret's Hope. There are also buses from Kirkwall via Orphir (2), and from Stromness (5), to the ferry terminal at Houton (from which inter-island ferries operate to Hoy and Flotta, from Kirkwall to Kirkwall Airport (3 & 4), Tankerness and Deerness (3), from Kirkwall and Finstown to Tingwall (from which there are ferries to Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre, Orkney, Wyre), Evie, Orkney, Evie and Birsay, from Stromness to Kirkwall via
Skara Brae Skara Brae is a stone-built Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age, with a wide-ranging set of developments that appear to have arisen independently in several parts of the world. It is first seen about 12 ...

Skara Brae
, Dounby, Harray and Finstown (7), the 8 (which does a circular route to and from Kirkwall and Finstown via Stromness and the West Mainland villages, such as Marwick, Quoyloo, Dounby and Stenness), and the X10, which connects the late-night call of the NorthLink Ferries, NorthLink ferry to and from Aberdeen and Lerwick, at Hatston Ferry Terminal, to Kirkwall, Finstown and Stromness. In 2021, the island’s three-vehicle minibus service for disabled people was a target for hackers seeking a £1,000 ransom in cryptocurrency.


Media

Orkney is served by a weekly local newspaper, ''The Orcadian'', published on Thursdays. A local BBC radio station, BBC Radio Orkney, the local opt-out of BBC Radio Scotland, broadcasts twice daily, with local news and entertainment. Orkney also had a commercial radio station, The Superstation Orkney, which broadcast to Kirkwall and parts of the mainland and also to most of
Caithness Caithness ( gd, Gallaibh , sco, Caitnes; non, Katanes) is a Shires of Scotland, historic county, registration county and Lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. Caithness has a land boundary with the historic county of Su ...

Caithness
until its closure in November 2014. Moray Firth Radio broadcasts throughout Orkney on AM and from an FM transmitter just outside Thurso. The community radio station Caithness FM also broadcasts to Orkney. Orkney is home to the Orkney Library and Archive, located in
Kirkwall Kirkwall ( sco, Kirkwaa, gd, Bàgh na h-Eaglaise, nrn, Kirkavå) is the largest town in Orkney, an archipelago to the north of mainland Scotland. The name Kirkwall comes from the Old Norse, Norse name (''Church Bay''), which later changed ...

Kirkwall
, Scotland, on the mainland. The Library service provides access to over 145,000 items. They have a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles available for loan as well as audiobooks, maps, eBooks, music CDs, and DVDs. Orkney Library and Archive operates a Mobile Library Service that serves the rural parishes and islands of Orkney. The Mobile Library carries a wide range of books and audio books suitable for all ages and is completely free to use.


Language, literature, and folklore

At the beginning of recorded history, the islands were inhabited by the
Picts , Fife Fife (, ; gd, Fìobha, ; sco, Fife) is a council area, Historic counties of Scotland, historic county, registration county and lieutenancy areas of Scotland, lieutenancy area of Scotland. It is situated between the Firth of Tay an ...
, whose language was Brythonic. The Ogham script on the Buckquoy spindle-whorl is cited as evidence for the pre-Norse existence of
Old Irish Old Irish (''Goídelc''; ga, Sean-Ghaeilge; gd, Seann Ghàidhlig; gv, Shenn Yernish or ; Old Irish: ᚌᚑᚔᚇᚓᚂᚉ), sometimes called Old Gaelic, is the oldest form of the Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha ...
in Orkney. After the Norse occupation, the toponymy of Orkney became almost wholly West Norse. The Norse language changed into the local Norn language, Norn, which lingered until the end of the 18th century, when it eventually died out. Norn was replaced by the Orcadian dialect of Insular Scots. This dialect is at a low ebb due to the pervasive influences of television, education, and the large number of incomers. However, attempts are being made by some writers and radio presenters to revitalise its use and the distinctive sing-song accent (dialect), accent and many dialect words of Norse origin remain in use. The Orcadian word most frequently encountered by visitors is , meaning 'small', which may be derived from the French . Orkney has a rich folklore, and many of the former tales concern trow (folklore), trows, an Orcadian form of troll that draws on the islands' Scandinavian connections. Local customs in the past included marriage ceremonies at the Odin Stone that formed part of the Stones of Stenness. King Lot in certain versions of the Arthurian legend (e.g., Thomas Malory, Malory) is ruler of Orkney. His sons Gawaine, Agravaine, Gareth, and Gaheris are major characters in the Matter of Britain. The best known literary figures from modern Orkney are the poet Edwin Muir, the poet and novelist George Mackay Brown, and the novelist Eric Linklater.


Orcadians

An Orcadian is a native of Orkney, a term that reflects a strongly held identity with a tradition of understatement. Although the annexation of the earldom by Scotland took place over five centuries ago in 1472, some Orcadians regard themselves as Orcadians first and Scottish people, Scots second. However in response to the national identity question in the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 Scotland Census, self-reported levels of Scottish national identity, Scottish identity in Orkney were in line with the national average. The Scottish mainland is often referred to as "Scotland" in Orkney, with "the mainland" referring to
Mainland, Orkney The Mainland, also known as Hrossey and Pomona, is the main island of Orkney, Scotland. Both of Orkney's burghs, Kirkwall and Stromness, lie on the island, which is also the heart of Orkney's ferry and air connections. Seventy-five per cent of Or ...
. The archipelago also has a distinct culture, with traditions of the Scottish Highlands such as tartan, clans, bagpipes not indigenous to the culture of the islands. However, at least two tartans with Orkney connections have been registered and a tartan has been designed for Sanday by one of the island's residents, and there are pipe bands in Orkney. Native Orcadians refer to the non-native residents of the islands as "ferry loupers", ("loup" meaning "jump" in the Scots language) a term that has been in use for nearly two centuries at least.


Natural history

Orkney has an abundance of wildlife, especially of grey seal, grey and Harbor seal, common seals and seabirds such as Atlantic puffin, puffins, kittiwakes, black guillemots (tysties), common raven, ravens, and great skuas (bonxies). Whales, dolphins, and European otter, otters are also seen around the coasts. Inland the Orkney vole, a distinct subspecies of the common vole introduced by
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
humans, is an endemic."Northern Isles"
. SNH. Retrieved 27 September 2009.
There are five distinct varieties, found on the islands of Sanday, Westray, Rousay, South Ronaldsay, and the Mainland, all the more remarkable as the species is absent on mainland Britain. The coastline is well known for its colourful flowers including Aster tripolium, sea aster, Scilla verna, sea squill, Armeria maritima, sea thrift, Limonium, common sea-lavender, Erica cinerea, bell and Calluna, common heather. The Primula scotica, Scottish primrose is found only on the coasts of Orkney and nearby Caithness and Sutherland. Although stands of trees are generally rare, a small forest named Happy Valley (garden), Happy Valley with 700 trees and lush gardens was created from a boggy hillside near Stenness during the second half of the 20th century. The North Ronaldsay sheep is an unusual breed of domesticated animal, subsisting largely on a diet of seaweed, since they are confined to the foreshore for most of the year to conserve the limited grazing inland. The island was also a habitat for the Atlantic walrus until the mid-16th century. The Orkney char (''Salvelinus inframundus'') used to live in Heldale Water on Hoy. It has been considered Local extinction, locally extinct since 1908.


Stoat problem and solution

The introduction of alien stoats since 2010, a natural predator of the common vole and thus of the Orkney vole, was also harming native bird populations. NatureScot, Scotland's Nature Agency, provided these additional specifics:
The introduction of a ground predator like the stoat to islands such as Orkney, where there are no native ground predators, is very bad news for Orkney’s native species. Stoats are accomplished predators and pose a very serious threat to Orkney’s wildlife, including: the native Orkney vole, hen harrier, short-eared owl and many ground nesting birds.
In 2018, a stoat eradication project was presented by NatureScot to be applied "across Orkney Mainland, South Ronaldsay, Burray, Glimps Holm, Lamb Holm and Hunda, and the biosecurity activities delivered on the non-linked islands of the archipelago". The Orkney Native Wildlife Project planned to use "humane DOC150 and DOC200 traps". The Partners in the five-year project include "RSPB Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), and Orkney Islands Council". A report issued in October 2020 stated that over 5,000 traps had been deployed. Specifics were provided as to the locations. Not all was going well as of 15 January 2021, according to The Times which stated that the project "has been hit by alleged sabotage after the destruction and theft of traps that have also killed and injured household pets and other animals" but added that the £6 million program was supported by most islanders. Another news item stated that some of the traps had "caught and killed family pets as well as hundreds of other animals". A subsequent report confirmed that "Police Scotland is investigating a number of incidents involving damage to and the theft of stoat traps in Orkney".


Protected areas

There are 13 Special Protection Areas and 6 Special Area of Conservation, Special Areas of Conservation in Orkney. One of Scotland's 40 National scenic area (Scotland), national scenic areas, the Hoy and West Mainland National Scenic Area, is also located in the islands. The seas to the northwest of Orkney are important for sand eels that provides a food source for many species of fish, seabirds, seals, whales and dolphins, and are now protected as Marine Protected Areas in Scotland, Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area (NCMPA) that covers .


Freedom of the Island

The following people and military units have received the Freedom of the City, Freedom of the Island of Orkney.


Military units

* The Northern Diving Group Royal Navy: 9 July 2021.


See also

* Timeline of prehistoric Scotland * Prehistoric Scotland * Battle of Florvåg * Bishop of Orkney * Coat of arms of Orkney * List of places in Orkney * Orkney Club * Orkney College * Rögnvald Kali Kolsson * Udal Law * :Parishes of Orkney, Parishes of Orkney * Constitutional status of Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles * Solar eclipse of 1 May 1185


References


Footnotes


Citations


General references

* Armit, Ian (2006) ''Scotland's Hidden History''. Stroud. Tempus. * Beuermann, Ian "Jarla Sǫgur Orkneyja. Status and power of the earls of Orkney according to their sagas" in Steinsland, Gro; Sigurðsson, Jón Viðar; Rekda, Jan Erik and Beuermann, Ian (eds) (2011) ''Ideology and power in the Viking and Middle Ages: Scandinavia, Iceland, Ireland, Orkney and the Faeroes ''. The Northern World: North Europe and the Baltic c. 400–1700 A.D. Peoples, Economics and Cultures. 52. Leiden. Brill Publishers, Brill. * Baynes, John (1970) ''The Jacobite Rising of 1715''. London. Cassell. * Benvie, Neil (2004) ''Scotland's Wildlife''. London. Aurum Press. * Ballin Smith, B. and Banks, I. (eds) (2002) ''In the Shadow of the Brochs, the Iron Age in Scotland''. Stroud. Tempus. * Ballin Smith, Beverley; Taylor, Simon; and Williams, Gareth (eds) (2007) ''West Over Sea: Studies in Scandinavian Sea-borne Expansion and Settlement Before 1300''. Brill. * Clarkson, Tim (2008) ''The Picts: A History''. Stroud. The History Press. * Duffy, Christopher (2003) ''The 45: Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Untold Story of the Jacobite Rising''. London. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. * Fraser, James E. (2009) ''From Caledonia to Pictland: Scotland to 795''. Edinburgh University Press. * * Moffat, Alistair (2005) ''Before Scotland: The Story of Scotland Before History''. London. Thames & Hudson. * Omand, Donald (ed.) (2003) ''The Orkney Book''. Edinburgh. Birlinn. * Thomson, William P.L. (2008) ''The New History of Orkney''. Edinburgh. Birlinn. * ''Whitaker's Almanack 1991'' (1990). London. J. Whitaker & Sons. * Wickham-Jones, Caroline (2007) ''Orkney: A Historical Guide''. Edinburgh. Birlinn. *


Further reading

* Batey, C.E. ''et al'' (eds.) (1995) ''The Viking Age in Caithness, Orkney and the North Atlantic''. Edinburgh University Press. * E. E. Fresson, Fresson, Captain E.E. ''Air Road to the Isles.'' (2008) Kea Publishing. * Hutton, Guthrie (2009) ''Old Orkney''. Catrine: Stenlake Publishing * Margot Livesey, Livesey, Margot, ''The Flight of Gemma Hardy'' (a novel). HarperCollins, 2012. * Lo Bao, Phil and Hutchison, Iain (2002) ''BEAline to the Islands.'' Kea Publishing. * Nicol, Christopher (2012) Eric Linklater's Private Angelo and The Dark of Summer Glasgow: ASLS * Rendall, Jocelyn (2009) ''Steering the Stone Ships: The Story of Orkney Kirks and People'' Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh. * Tait, Charles (2012) ''The Orkney Guide Book,'' Charles Tait, St. Ola, Orkney. * Warner, Guy (2005) ''Orkney by Air.'' Kea Publishing. * Dance, Gaia (2013) "The Sea Before Breakfast." Amazon.


External links


Orkney Islands Council
the local authority website
Vision of Britain – Groome Gazetteer entry for Orkney

Orkney Landscapes



Map of civil parishes

A Checklist of the Flora of Orkney, 2013
{{Authority control Orkney, Northern Isles Archipelagoes of Scotland Archipelagoes of the Atlantic Ocean Lieutenancy areas of Scotland Counties of Scotland Highlands and Islands of Scotland Regions of Scotland Former Norwegian colonies Council areas of Scotland Former Danish colonies Kingdom of Norway (872–1397) Renewable energy in Scotland Counties of the United Kingdom (1801–1922)