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  • Orkney's footballers celebrating a goal v Shetland - image by Rae Slater

Sport & Leisure

Orkney has some of the best sports and leisure facilities anywhere in the country.

The main venue for sports, arts and leisure in the county is the Pickaquoy Centre in Kirkwall, known locally as 'Picky'.

The centre, which boasts a fantastic swimming pool and health suite, in addition to a range of other facilities, hosts major concerts, gigs, performances and sporting competitions. The 243-seater New Phoenix Cinema shows blockbusters (in 2D and 3D), world films and even live theatre performances via satellite link.

The Pickaquoy Centre with its various pitches and facilities in Kirkwall - image by Colin Keldie

You’ll also find a swimming pool in Stromness, with steam room, sauna, spa and fitness centre, and smaller pools in the islands of Hoy, Westray, Sanday and Stronsay.

Kirkwall Grammar School has a public fitness suite with a games hall, gym and dance studio that’s available for club activities. There are also floodlit 3G sports pitches at Kirkwall Grammar School and at Stromness Academy.

Qualified trainers offer an excellent range of fitness classes throughout the mainland and the islands, and there are seven Healthy Living Centres in Orkney which incorporate small gyms.

Community centres and halls in Orkney also offer many sporting and leisure facilities with club nights such as badminton and five-a-side football, as well as functions and drama groups.

Other leisure services include Orkney Library and Archive in Kirkwall, and Stromness Library. You can study local history through primary sources in the Orkney Archive, trace your family tree with the Orkney Family History Society, view images in the photographic archive and listen to recordings in the sound archive. The library service also operates mobile vans to take books to outlying areas and island communities.

The Orkney Theatre - part of the Kirkwall Grammar School complex - is a state-of-the-art venue for all manner of concerts, performances and events, with seating for 384 people.

The Sound Archive in Kirkwall is Orkney’s newest venue hosting exciting new musicians and more established acts on a regular basis.

The Voluntary Action Orkney community directory is an excellent resource for finding out about the activities offered by local sports and community groups.