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pappy1022

Kirkwall Excursion - Which one would you do?

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In Kirkwall my 2 choices are: (1) ORKNEY'S ARCHAEOLOGICAL WONDERS;- Explore the historical heartland of Orkney, visiting several medieval archaeological sites and the intriguing Scapa Flow Starting off from the pier, you will depart Kirkwall and head to the west of Mainland, Orkney's largest island. En-route, you will pass through the gentle rolling landscape of Orkney and into the Neolithic Heartland of Orkney; an area designated as a World Heritage Site due to its wealth of pre-historic archaeology. Passing the Standing Stones of Stenness (photo-stop if time permits), you will stop at the Ring of Brodgar; a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5,000 years. Next, continue on to the 5,000-year-old village of Skara Brae, beautifully interpreted in the new visitor center. See the remarkable dwellings that were revealed from beneath the sand dunes by storms only 150 years ago. There will also be time to visit the nearby manor house of Skaill House, built in 1620 on top of an ancient graveyard. Your excursion has you following the coast of Scapa Flow, where you will hear some of the wartime stories, which make this one of the best-known stretches of water in the world - the site where the interned German naval fleet scuttled itself in the month of June 1919. Enjoy a scenic journey back to the pier where your tour concludes.

or (2)  NORTH ORKNEY EXPLORATION - Explore the lush natural terrain of Orkney's largest Island during this journey to the Brough of Birsay and Neolothic Heartland of Orkney, a World Heritage Site. Depart Kirkwall for the drive along the West Coast of Mainland, Orkney's largest island. Along the way, you will pass through the rolling countryside of the islands, and view the Northern Isles of Orkney in the distance. Next, you will pass by Eynnhallow Sound, a dramatic stretch of water where the Atlantic Ocean meets the North Sea, before pausing at the small tidal island at the Brough of Birsay. Here, a brief photo stop will be made to take in the spectacular views and photo opportunities before continuing on to a local tearoom for refreshments. You will then proceed for a visit to the Neolothic Heartland of Orkney, a World Heritage Site. Upon arrival, a stop will be made at the Standing Stones of Stenness, a 5,000-year-old circle of stones. Following your tour, you will rejoin your coach for the return drive to Kirkwall, traveling along the north shore of Scapa Flow.

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First one sounds more appealing to me. I did a tour that stopped at the Ring of Brogdar, and I found it quite interesting. Drove by the Standing Stones, and between the two, I was glad to have stopped at the Ring. Our tour didn't visit Skara Brae, but I'd wished it had.

 

Hopefully you'll have some time to walk around Kirkwall on your own. It's quite compact, but a good visit.

 

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14 minutes ago, just_dont said:

First one sounds more appealing to me. I did a tour that stopped at the Ring of Brogdar, and I found it quite interesting. Drove by the Standing Stones, and between the two, I was glad to have stopped at the Ring. Our tour didn't visit Skara Brae, but I'd wished it had.

 

Hopefully you'll have some time to walk around Kirkwall on your own. It's quite compact, but a good visit.

 

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Skara Brae was fascinating. I had no idea what to expect, and it was amazing!

 

It's a pity that neither of the tours go to Maeshowe, but it can only handle very small groups at a time.

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Are these two tours ship run tours??  We have been to Kirkwall twice and used private tours both times.  This past May we used Red's tours.  Looks like his website is "underconstruction" so try:  https://www.facebook.com/redsorkneytours/   I put together a group of 6 people by posting on the roll call for the cruise. Red did a great job :classic_biggrin:.  Kirkwall and the Orkneys are amazing.  His Neolithic Sites tour was great, much better then the tour we took our first time there.  There is so much to see there and you don't want to see it looking out of a bus window.  Here's a copy of my review on Trip Advisor:

 

In 2012 we visited Kirkwall and did a tour of the Neolithic sites with a well known local tour operator. We thought it was a great tour. May 20, 2019 we made a return visit to Kirkwall and toured with Red's Orkney Tours. What a difference!!! We saw so much more and learned so much more then we did the first time. Red, David Hamilton, was one of the best tour guides we have ever had and we've had plenty over the years. He was at the dock waiting even though we were late due to tendering problems. There were 6 people in our group arranged through the Roll Call group on Cruise Critic for our cruise. We fit nicely in David's clean van and he was a careful driver. He rearranged to tour stops due to our late start but nothing was left out. At each stop he explained what we were seeing in clear, concise detail. We understood the significance of each site much better then we did in 2012. He had water and granola bars plus local fudge to share with us. We paid at the end of the tour, he did not want a deposit or payment in full before the tour. All in all you can't go wrong with Red's Tours.

 

Hope this helps.

<<<Karen>>>

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While in the Orkney Islands we did a wonderful day tour with Lorna Brown.  The company is Orkney Tours and you can get in touch with Lorna at seeorkneyweb@gmail.com.  

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Reds Orkney tours was fully booked when I tried to reserve a tour for our visit in August last year. So we booked a ships tour to Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae & Skaill House. Absolutely worthwhile. But I fully agree that a tour in a small van is more attractive.

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2 hours ago, MAVIP said:

Reds Orkney tours was fully booked when I tried to reserve a tour for our visit in August last year. So we booked a ships tour to Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae & Skaill House. Absolutely worthwhile. But I fully agree that a tour in a small van is more attractive.

 

If you want Red or any other private tour operator now is the time to book.  Tours fill up fast.  Not sure why his website is down but emailing him through his Facebook page should work.  He was quick to reply when I contacted him about this time last year.

 

<<<Karen>>> 

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I contacted Red through Facebook and he referred me to Lorna at seeorkneyweb@gmail.com

I do not know what is going on with him- hope he is ok.

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13 hours ago, nini said:

I contacted Red through Facebook and he referred me to Lorna at seeorkneyweb@gmail.com

I do not know what is going on with him- hope he is ok.

Gee-

I hope all is well, too.  I did see that his website was down but thought he was just redoing it.  He is so good I hope he hasn't given up guiding.  I looked at his Facebook page and.....he used my Trip Advisor review on it :classic_wink:.

<<<Karen>>>

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Enjoying this! Kirkwall is first stop on an Aug 2021 cruise. We are walker-arounders but there could be time for a van ride.... I will tell this Lorna tour leader y'all sent me...


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