The Orkney Islands (or simply Orkney) are a cluster of small islands few miles north of the mainland of Scotland with the smallest population of any county in Scotland, 19,800. This population is mostly on Orkney and many smaller islands most of which are to the North.
The main Orcadian industries are textiles (wool, linen and straw plating), fishing (herring, cod, ling, lobster and crabs) plus renewable wave energy ‘Wave Farm’s.
Frequent Viking invasions made Orkney their headquarters while raiding the UK mainland from the 8th century onwards. Norwegian settlers brought their distinctive culture, diet and language to the area until Christianisation of the islands in 995. The King of Norway officially gave back the islands in the 15th century.
The main travel links to the islands are ferry and air links from Kirkwall Airport with flights to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Famous Orcadians include: author and translator Edwin Muir, Arctic explorer Dr John Rae, African explorer William Balfour Baikie, and author Mary Bruton.