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  • Coastline at Birsay. Orkney - image by Darren Brogan


Orkney’s geology is breathtaking.

Old Red Sandstone of the Devonian period – that’s the technical description - is the dominant theme in the islands, but there’s plenty to keep geology enthusiasts and students busy.

If you just like looking at incredible natural features without necessarily knowing how incredibly old they are – just for the record, it’s hundreds of millions of years – then our landscape delivers there too.

Geological highlights include our sea stacks – the most famous is The Old Man of Hoy, which stands at 140 metres tall – and our stunning cliffs and geos, which are narrow slots carved out of the coastline by the sea. You’ll have to see our gloups and blowholes too.

Although remarkable in its own right, Orkney’s geology has also greatly influenced our ancient and more recent history. From stone dykes and traditional flagstone floors, to iconic stone circles, chambered tombs, and the magnificent sandstone cathedral of St Magnus, Orkney’s geology has long been directly connected to the people of the islands.