• The coastline at Yesnaby, Orkney - image by Graham Lyon

Spring in Orkney 2017

Explore the islands this spring with our top five recommendations.

Spring is a very special time to be in Orkney.

The islands come alive again after the winter months, the days begin to lengthen and colour creeps into the countryside. The busy Orkney events calendar also starts to take shape, ensuring you’ll never be short of an activity or two during your time here.

Take a look at our 'Orkney in spring' video, then read our blog for more inspiration and information...

Watch our hen harriers sky dance

Spring is the perfect time to see one of the wildlife highlights of the year in Orkney. The new RSPB Cottascarth bird hide in the parish of Rendall is the ideal place to see the beautiful sky dance of hen harriers. The birds of prey soar and plunge through the air above the barren moorland in an attempt to attract a mate. It’s a stunning sight, and with the birds arriving back on their breeding areas in late March, Orkney is a great place to see the spectacle for yourself.

Hen harrier in Orkney - image by Derren Fox

Find out more

Find out more about Orkney’s nature and wildlife via our special page. Read about the RSPB hide at Cottascarth.

Follow the footsteps of Orkney’s saint

2017 is a very special year in Orkney. It’s the 900th anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint Magnus, former Viking Earl of the islands. His story is one that is intertwined with Orcadian history. This year a series of events and activities will be held to mark the occasion, including the launch of the new St Magnus Way - a 51 mile pilgrimage route - musical and theatre performances, the second annual St Magnus Marathon and much more. It all gets underway with a special interpretation in the island of Egilsay during the Easter weekend. Come and soak up Orkney’s history and heritage this spring.

The beautiful St Magnus Cathedral in Orkney will play a part in the Magnus 900 commemorations

Find out more

Find out more about the events planned via the official Magnus 900 website. Read about the story of Saint Magnus and his place in Orcadian history.

Uncover the history of the Longhope Lifeboat

We’d always recommend a spot of island hopping during your time in Orkney. Take the ferry from Houton to Lyness in Hoy for a day trip with a difference. One of the real hidden gems in the island is the Longhope Lifeboat Museum, highlighting the history of the village of Longhope’s long association with the RNLI. The museum is based in the former lifeboat station and houses the island’s 1932 lifeboat ‘Thomas McCunn’. It also has stories and photographs from the past; including the 1969 tragedy that saw the entire crew of eight lost during a rescue operation in the Pentland Firth. It’s an emotional and inspiring place to visit.

Inside the fascinating Longhope Lifeboat Museum

Find out more

Find out more about the Longhope Lifeboat Museum via the official website. You can also read about Hoy via our dedicated page and the Hoy Orkney website. View the Orkney Ferries timetable to plan your trip to Hoy.

Be inspired at the Pier Arts Centre

We know that spring time in Orkney can bring some changeable weather, so indoor activities are always essential! One of our favourite places to visit is the Pier Arts Centre. It hosts a fabulous collection of artwork in its beautiful gallery space on the shore in Stromness. Visitors at the moment can see ‘Innovators’, featuring work from the latest generation of Orkney artists to have graduated from art schools across the country. It’s open until the 17th of April. There’s also a display showcasing the latest additions to the permanent collection at the Pier too. It’s the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

The Pier Arts Centre in Stromness

Find out more

Visit the Pier Arts Centre website for more visitor information. Find out more about the town of Stromness via our dedicated page.

Explore the South Ronaldsay coast

Orkney has some spectacular stretches of coastline. The cliffs at Yesnaby and Mull Head on the mainland are very popular places to visit, but why not head across the Churchill Barriers to South Ronaldsay and explore the island’s relatively untouched network of coastal walks? Take a trip west from Sandwick to Burwick, tour the wartime remains at Hoxa or head to the east coast for sea-stacks, geos and gloups. There is so much to see, plus all the busy birdlife you’d expect from an Orkney coastal walk during spring.

Explore the beaches and coastline of South Ronaldsay this spring

Find out more

Read all about South Ronaldsay via our dedicated page.

If you're inspired to visit Orkney this spring, search for accommodation via our dedicated listings and explore our website and Orkney.com for more information on the islands. You can also sign up to receive a monthly update on life in Orkney.

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