Orkney Mainland

Orkney Mainland

When Orcadians speak of Mainland they are referring to this, the largest of the Orkney islands, and not mainland Scotland. Mainland is home to 75% of Orkney's population as well as its two towns, historic Kirkwall and Stromness, with its long, narrow and characterful main street. Mainland has much fertile farmland as well as some wilder moors in the west.

In the west of Mainland there is such a concentration of spectacular neolithic remains that it has been declared a World Heritage site - one of only three in Scotland. The remains include the well-preserved prehistoric village of Skara Brae, Maes Howe - the most magnificent of all neolithic tombs, and the spectacular standing stones at Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar. Much of the coastline offers grand walking, with dramatic cliff-scenery and bird life, with Marwick Head and the tidal Brough of Birsay being highlights in the west, and Mull Head in the east.


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Walking can be dangerous and all walkers must take personal responsibility for their own safety. You should always carry a backup means of navigation and not rely on a single phone, app or map. Walkhighlands strives to provide accurate information but cannot accept responsibility for changes, errors or omissions.