Orkney (1 Viewer)

Oct 8, 2014
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We are planning a trip to Orkney in the summer. Does anyone have any advice regarding taking our dog on the ferry? I believe I can book a kennel, but could I take her into a cabin? Also, does anyone have any recommendations for campsites?
Thanks, John
 
Feb 24, 2013
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Presuming you are going from the north coast rather than Aberdeen it is only a 40 minute crossing, there are no cabins that I know of and if the same as CalMac (west coast ferries) you can take your dog into the lounge area with you or leave them in MH

I have not been so can not advise on where to stay but will watch the thread with interest to find out what others say, it is on our list of places to get to and on to the Shetland Isles as well
 

grasscutter

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Hopefully Spottycatz will pick up on your question. Steve and Jacky live there. If not it's probably worth dropping them a PM.(y)

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Photo4x4

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Hello

I speak as a one-time resident of Orkney and also a fairly frequent traveller to there though not in a MH, (not yet but later this year and with a dog).

There are three possible routes. Scrabster - Stromness, Gills Bay (John O'Groat's) - Burwick and Aberdeen - Kirkwall. See the websites below:

http://www.pentlandferries.co.uk/

http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/

I have never used the Aberdeen ferry but it will be expensive no doubt.

The Stromness link is about 1.5 hours crossing time. The Burwick link (Pentland Ferries) is aboutt 45 minutes crossing time.

WE have taken our dog (Chihuahua) on the Pentland Ferries catamaran. We had it on a lead and in it's carry bag, (it is a very small dog) and the only place that we were not allowed to take it was the cafe.

The Stromness link is longest sailing time but takes you past 'The Old Man of Hoy' and the spectacular cliffs of the island of Hoy.

The Gills Bay ferry takes you a very interesting route through Scapa Flow to Burwick on the island of South Ronaldsay. You then have a drive over the 'Churchil Barriers' to the 'mainland'.

The Gills Bay ferry is the cheapest option. There is a Britstops within a couple of miles of the Gills Bay Ferry for overnighting before you get the ferry.

There are local campsites near Thurso and Scrabster and you may be able to park up free near the ferry terminal at Stromness.

My preferred option - the Pentland Ferries at Gills bay. A bit more fiddly to get to but an interesting journey and you pass through John O'Groats which is a great place to get a photograph you and your MH.

Hope this helps. Have a great time and be sure to visit the Italian Chapel, Scara Brae, The Ring of Brodgar and, well put it this way there is loads to see and do! A great place.

KH
 

Lindacarole

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Hi
We visited Orkney last year and loved it. We took the shortest ferry ( not past the old man) and it was fine, although we did have to go in backwards and up a ramp with a swell at the time... boy did good as we just did what the loader told us to do : " Wait till I say go and foot down and over the ramp as fast as you can" We used the Gills bay route to St Margret's then over the Churchill barriers in a bit of a storm, good fun. You drive past the Italian Chapel this way. .
We don't have a dog but there were dogs on board. Its a short route.
We stayed at a great site in Kirkwall (Pickaquoy) Orkney ( it was the only one open in September) and council ran, walking distance to the town centre and the leisure centre, right next door. The leisure centre was fantastic, new great pools and a cinema. It was not cheap but the campsite had good wash facilities, a huge camper room and a kitchen. Great hardstanding pitches as well.
We parked the van at all the sites Scara Brae, Stromness , The Broch of Gurness all had good easy parking near, in fact we took the van out everyday it was so easy.
I would really recommend this holiday destination, we were sorry to leave and will be back. The neolithic sites are many and dramatic. Lovely place.
 

Photo4x4

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Gills Bay (John O'Groat's) - Burwick
The above post has just taken the fog away from my brain. I meant to say the Gill's Bay to St. Margarets ferry! :oops: The John O'Groats to Burwick ferry is foot passengers only.

Thanks for the memory jog.

Any way that you get to Orkney it is well worth the visit.

KH

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Thanks to you all for your helpful advice and links to ferry companies etc. We had planned to go from Scrabster to Stromness, but now think we will go from Gill's Bay to St Margarets. It's £120 cheaper, as you say " John O'Groats - a great photo opportunity", and we can take the dog for free. We are both very keen on archaeology and can't wait to see the sites. Thanks for information about camp-sites. The council sire in Kirkwall sounds good. Its also handy to know that we should be able to park at all the major sites too. We are going in June, so now I just have to plan the route and get the ferry booked.
Thanks again, John
 

Kelsae2

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I would agree strongly with the comments made. Make sure you book the ferry crossing for Pentland Ferries catamaran going from Gills Bay to St Margarets Hope as we did not last year as I thought it would be no problem getting on. Wrong thought, turned up at a busy time so had to go and have a mooch around John o'Groats. The Pickaquoy site is about £22/23 per night. The council also run another 2 sites in Orkney at Stromness which is fairly small and basic but over looks the route the ferry comes in from Scrabster to Stromness. The other site is near Birsay which is a lovely site complete with campers kitchen and lounge, shower block etc which is all immaculately clean as one of the wardens lives almost next door. Enjoy your visit, you should love it. We certainly do and will go back again soon. Regards, Charlie.
 

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Everyone else has answered all you need to know :)

I took Phoebe up via St Margarets Bay and down past the Old Man of Hoy. She stayed in TheBus both times (the first was her first ever ferry journey) and was fine.

Loved Orkney wonderful archeology and coastal scenery. Had a wonderful stay at the council owned site near Birsay which was very reasonable and wonderful views.

There are some bits about Orkney in my online travel journal if you want to have a read

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2nd 3rd Pentland ferries, we have been on it more than a few times, very enjoyable,Picaquoy campsite and attached leisure centre is good as is the site in Stromness ( short walk into twon to the shops , pubs, hotel) the music festival in either June or July was brilliant.
We also toured around the island visiting the must see sights and just parked up somewhere safe as there was lots of places to do so.
Stopped in car park at Skara Brae but only after asking if it was ok at the reception.
Go you will love it !!
 
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As others a great place to visit and some wonderful wild camping areas many with toilets where you are welcomed.

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rolandrat

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The Royal Oak battleship was torpedoed in Scapa Flow by a German submarine. It was made an official war grave to stop divers from removing souvenirs. At low tide it isn't far below the surface.
 

laird of Dunstan

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The Royal Oak battleship was torpedoed in Scapa Flow by a German submarine. It was made an official war grave to stop divers from removing souvenirs. At low tide it isn't far below the surface.

There was a guy in Peterborough whom I met ,he was a boy sailor on the Royal Oak , when he passed his last wish was to be buried with his comrades , the British Legion in peterborough made the request to the navy who sent in a diving team to place the urn containing his ashes in to the hulk of the Royal Oak

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Puddleduck

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I love Orkney. Just so much to see and such a unique place.

The site of The Royal Oak is differently special - sort of spooky even before you know what is there.

Enjoy your trip.
 
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Last few years of my working life as a Merchant Navy Officer did the Royal Oak task, taking divers out to renew the Ensign on what remains of the vessels stern, then out with survivors and relatives for the service above the wreck with wreath laying etc, all very moving and we did take out on several occasions ashes of survivors in weighted caskets for the divers to lay on the wreck. It is a designated war grave and to this day is leaking fuel oil thankfully contained.
 
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Stayed at both Stromness site and Birsay site both very good.

As has been said though plenty of accessible wild camping with plenty of fresh water points.

Personal preference is the northlink Scrabster to Stromness crossing , drive on drive off , plus you sail past the old man of hoy .:)

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Thanks again for all of the advice. We are really looking forward to our trip now! This thread certainly contains a lot of information for anyone wanting to visit the Orkneys. I will post a report when we get back.
John
 

CWH

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During our tour of Scotland last year we did the day-trip to Orkney - left the MH at John O'Groats, foot ferry, then met by a coach for a tour of the Mainland. Brief visits to Italian Chapel, Churchill Barriers (had to cross them of course), Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenness; Stromness, Kirkwall with St Magnus Cathedral; and views of Scapa Flow. Well worth the trip if you can't manage a few days across. Stunning scenery, amazing history, fantastic archaeology. (We were staying at CC Dunnet Bay - nice site, recommended for forest & beach walks & out to Dunnet Head if you can walk a fair distance.)
But I'm determined that we should go across and visit both Orkney and Shetland for a more extended period when we can. It's been a dream of mine since early childhood. Must be the Viking in me...
438281-Royalty-Free-RF-Clipart-Illustration-Of-A-Plump-Female-Viking.jpg
 

Puddleduck

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During our tour of Scotland last year we did the day-trip to Orkney - left the MH at John O'Groats, foot ferry, then met by a coach for a tour of the Mainland. Brief visits to Italian Chapel, Churchill Barriers (had to cross them of course), Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Standing Stones of Stenness; Stromness, Kirkwall with St Magnus Cathedral; and views of Scapa Flow. Well worth the trip if you can't manage a few days across. Stunning scenery, amazing history, fantastic archaeology.

We did that trip with the kids many years ago. They still rave about it! Been back a few times but never in a motorhome...... another thing on the "to do" list.
 
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Well we have made it!

Currently at the Pickaquoy campsite in Kirkwall. Cannot fault it. Clean, friendly wardens, within easy walking distance to the town. Seen a lot of the archaeology, but so much more to see. Had an interesting drive to Gills Bay .... bad accident on A9, south of Wick meant an 80 mile diversion, with 40 miles of single-track road with passing places. Unfortunately it was taking all the traffic normally on the A9, so was jammed solid. At one point, we were passed by three guys dressed as chickens on mopeds, doing a charity drive to John O Groats, which amused me. The lack of traffic is amazing, and everyone is so friendly. Must come back and see some of the other islands sometime.
 
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Revolvor
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Sorry about multiple replies! slow wi-fi and I clicked "Post reply" too many times. I cant see how to delete duplicates.
 
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Jon .....No midges! There were a few at John o Groats, but I was told it was because there was no wind. Weather has been overcast, with odd sunny patches, but not too cold with a coat. It rained last Sunday as we came over on the ferry and is forecast to do the same again when we go back next Sunday. I can't get over how late it gets dark. Still quite bright outside now, at 11:00 pm.
John

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