Did You Know?
- Facts About Orkney

Orkney was first written about by the Greek explorer Pytheas who circumnavigated the islands in 224BC and claimed to have seen the edge of the world, "Ultima Thule" (which was probably Foula in Shetland).

Once part of Norway as a result of Viking conquests, the islands became part of Scotland in 1469 when Christian I who was at that time King of Norway (and Denmark and Sweden) pledged them (and Shetland) against the payment of his daughter's dowry when she married King James III of Scotland. King Christian failed to pay up the agreed sum - and the islands were formally annexed to Scotland on 20 February, 1472.

Orkney has 90 islands and islets (of which 20 are currently inhabited - by only 21,000 people) and the total coastline is about 500 miles long.

The main town on Orkney is Kirkwall, with a population of around 6,500.

In midsummer, the sun does not set until 22.30 and the sun is above the horizon for 18 hours a day.

Highland Park Distillery is the most northerly in Scotland.

The shortest scheduled air route in the world is between Westray (population 700) and Papa Westray (population 85), two of the Orkney islands. The flight time 1.5 minutes!

Use the "Back" button on your browser or click here to return to the Index of "Did You Know?"

Where else would you like to go in Scotland?

Separator line