Thursday 30 April 2015


Reader Jade tells us all about growing up on a remote Scottish island…

Jade says:
I grew up on Orkney; it's near the very top of Scotland, with the tiny island of Shetland seven hours away by ferry. There are many historical sites and thousands of tourists flock in every summer. The most popular attractions are Skara Brae (a stone built Neolithic settlement, pictured right); Maeshowe (Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave built around 2700 BC); and the Ring of Brogdar (Neolithic henge and stone circle). These sites are unique - they are protected by Historic Scotland and known as the 'heart of Neolithic Orkney.' There is plenty of Viking history too, such as the St Magnus Cathedral built in 1137 by Viking earl Rognvald Kolson.

Not everything on Orkney is old, of course, but if you are a teen, there isn't too much to entertain you - unless, like me, you are into historical stuff! The Pickaquoy Centre is a combined cinema and leisure centre, and that's about it, unless you count the clothing stores and the smaller ferries running to small islands around Orkney. There is one college on the island, near the biggest town, Kirkwall. The college has a whole archeological department I used to volunteer for, with a little shed at the back to clean bone samples. You can try to work out how old the bone finds are and who they may come from, and in the summer you can volunteer on the bigger digs.

Sometimes, Orkney has 'tourist days' which means one or two cruise ships come in to drop tourists off to explore. On days like that you don't want to pop to your local shop because there will be 'horse and cart' trips in the streets and all kinds of technology outside the cathedral to blast traditional Scottish music into the streets!

Cathy says:
Although I lived in Scotland for 22 years, I have never been to Orkney - and it's an island I'd love to see. Have YOU ever been to a Scottish island? COMMENT BELOW to tell us more!


  1. Wow I haven't been to Orkney. But I did live on a small island in the Western Isles called Benbecula. It's in between two other islands, North Uist and South Uist. In North Uist there was a beach with stone circles too.

  2. No, ive never been to a Scottish island.. Which is weird as I have lived in Scotland all my life, and still do! xxx ~Suzanne

  3. My family loves going to Scottish islands - when I was little we went to Lewis, then about 5 years ago we spent a week on Orkney (it was great! The roof of our holiday cottage was an upside-down boat mould :D) and a few years ago we stayed on Islay. We've also done smaller trips to Skye, Arran, Bute, Jura and Cumbrae. I may have missed out another 1 or 2. I love all these trips - the islands always feel kind of magical!



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