What a fantastic place with so much to do and see; I am sure we only skimmed the surface. Our guide, Gerry was brilliant and had put together some varied walking and sightseeing tours on local and private buses and taking the ferry to Rousay and Hoy. I had no idea there was so much history connected to the islands, covering the Neolithic period up to World War I.
The wild flowers were in abundance, especially along the cliff top paths, and between our group we could identify most of them. There were orchids everywhere! The walk on Hoy back through the valley revealed sun dew plants – miniscule insect eating plants.
But really the highlight of the holiday, apart from the magic of spending time somewhere you have never been before, is that in July it is still light outside after 11pm and our leader was a very keen bird watcher. He was able to spot birds from an incredible distance and tell us all about them. I took my binoculars and was very pleased to have done so. Watching many sea birds of all varieties flying in and out of the cliffs, over the sea and finally seeing puffins sitting on ledges was just marvellous for everybody.I think the highlight of the week was watching skua birds washing their feathers in a freshwater lake on Hoy (many of them), whilst red-throated divers were flying over the lake. I found the islanders hospitality exceptional and the hotel food was just incredible, with local Orkney fish and meat. I would love to go back and visit more islands and do lots more walking.