Towns Online  
Kirkwall Harbour
by Kristel Jeuring on Flickr

UK > Orkney Islands

Orkney (also known as the Orkney Islands, Isles of Orkney or the Orkneys) is an archipelago in northern Scotland, situated 10 miles north of the coast of Caithness. Orkney comprises over 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. The largest island, known as the Mainland, has an area of 202 square miles, making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the ninth-largest island surrounding the island of Great Britain. The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall.

Orkney is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland, a constituency of the Scottish Parliament, a lieutenancy area, and a former county. The local council is Orkney Islands Council, the only Council in Scotland to be comprised entirely of independent members.

Orkney has been inhabited for at least 5,500 years. Originally inhabited by neolithic tribes and then by the Picts, Orkney was invaded and finally annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse. It was subsequently annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry agreement.

Orkney contains some of the oldest and best preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, and the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Locations within the Orkey Islands:

Nether Button
Saint Margarets Hope
Saint Marys

Add as a favourite:

Hotels in the UK

Why not visit our partner -

Status: Council Area of Scotland
Region: Scotland
Area: 990 sq. km
Admin HQ: Kirkwall
ISO 3166-2: GB-ORK
ONS code: 00RA
Population: 19,590 (2005 est.)
Council: Orkney Islands Council



© Towns-Online 1997-2010. Towns-Online is a Future Interactive company