• The view over St Peter's Pool in Deerness, Orkney - image by Premysl Fojtu

Summer in Orkney 2017

We've highlighted some of our favourite Orkney activities to help you explore the islands this summer.

The summer is here and it’s the perfect time to get out and about and enjoy everything Orkney has to offer.

Long days, short, bright nights and a calendar full of festivals, events and activities – there is nowhere better to spend your holiday than right here in our beautiful islands.

Here are five of our favourite summer recommendations.

See the sights this summer

Orkney is the kind of place where you can just go with the flow. There is always something to see and new places to explore. But sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of expert input, so why not take advantage of some of our organised tours this summer? Visit Sanday with the Sanday Experience every Wednesday until September and see some of the island’s beautiful beaches. Full day tours of Papa Westray are available with Papay Peedie Tours three days a week, and there are guided walks of the former naval base at Lyness in Hoy too. On the Orkney mainland you can get tours of the Ness of Brodgar, the Ring of Brodgar, former wartime sites HMS Tern and Ness Battery and much more! Whatever your interests and wherever you’d like to go in Orkney, there’s sure to be a tour for you.

See the white sand dunes at Cata Sand in Sanday this summer - image by Darren Brogan

Find out more

Read about the Sanday Experience Tours and the Papay Peedie Tours. Visit the Orkney Ferries and Loganair websites for more information on how to go island hopping in Orkney.

Celebrations in Stromness

Stromness is one of the most stunning locations in Orkney, full of old stone piers, narrow closes and flagstone streets. This year the historic old town has a busy summer planned. As well as its traditional ‘Shopping Week’, an annual gala week with fun for all the family between the 16th and 22nd of July, Stromness also marks the 200th year of officially becoming a burgh with its ‘Per Mare’ celebrations. Meaning ‘by the sea’, Per Mare is the town’s motto and a special seven days will see a series of events aimed at bringing the history and heritage of the town to life. It all gets underway immediately after Shopping Week.

It will be a summer of celebrations in Stromness this year

Find out more

Find out more via the official Stromness website.

Join our seaweed-eating sheep!

It’s certainly a unique claim to fame - North Ronaldsay’s resident native sheep population spend much of the year on the island’s rocky shore, eating seaweed and dodging the incoming tide. Now in its second year, the North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival aims to highlight the breed and the island in general. Billed as a working holiday, those taking part will help rebuild the famous sheep dyke that encircles the island. It’s not all work though – there are art and heritage exhibitions, films, music and dances, and of course the chance to be part of one of Orkney’s smallest but most vibrant communities. The Festival is held between the 31st of July and the 11th of August.

The unique seaweed-eating sheep of North Ronaldsay - image by Colin Keldie

Find out more

Visit the North Ronaldsay Sheep Festival website. Find out more about the work to promote and conserve the breed.

Coast to coast

There is nothing better than experiencing the Orkney sea air with a walk along our fantastically craggy coastline! En-route you might see puffins, primula scotica, orcas, archaeological sites, sea-stacks and a few friendly faces heading in the opposite direction too! There are trails all around our islands, including excellent walks in South Ronaldsay, at Mull Head in the East Mainland and a spectacular route between Stromness and the Bay of Skaill on the west coast. There is also the newly launched St Magnus Way too. Something for everyone – all you have to do is head outside and enjoy!

The cliffs at Mull Head in Orkney's east mainland - image by Premysl Fojtu

Find out more

Visit the St Magnus Way website. The Walk Highlands website has plenty of information on Orkney walks.

Keeping up traditions

If there is one thing island communities do well it’s celebrating the history and heritage of the place. You’ll see plenty of evidence of that in Orkney this summer. From pipe band parades in Kirkwall to live folk music in our pubs and venues, your nights will never be dull. You can also soak up the atmosphere during our Agricultural Show season at the start of August, with livestock displays, entertainment, food and drink all on offer. How about our Riding of the Marches event or the unique Festival of the Horse and Boy’s Ploughing Match in St Margaret’s Hope? Whatever your interests, you’ll find something different to fill your summer in Orkney.

Summer in Orkney is show season!

Find out more

Visit the Kirkwall City Pipe Band website for parade information.

Keep up to date with what’s happening in Orkney via the Visit Orkney events calendar. Find out more about Orkney from Orkney.com.

You can also sign up to the Orkney.com mailing list for regular updates on life in the islands.

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