Introducing Northern Islands
The group of windswept islands north of Mainland provides a refuge for migrating birds and a nesting ground for seabirds. Some of the islands are also rich in archaeological sites, but it’s the beautiful scenery, with wonderful white-sand beaches and azure seas, that's the main attraction. Most islands are home to traditional Orcadian communities that give a real sense of what Orkney was like before the modern world infringed upon island life.
The tourist offices in Kirkwall and Stromness have the useful Islands of Orkney brochure with maps and details of these islands. Note that the ‘ay’ at the end of each island name (from the Old Norse for ‘island’) is pronounced ‘ee’ (Shapinsay is pronounced ‘shap-in-see’).