The Orkney Islands are 70 small islands, 20 of which are inhabited. They are located 16 km north of mainland Scotland, in one of the most dangerous sections of the UK with the strongest tidal currents known as the Pentland Firth. The main island is known as the Mainland and has the city of Kirkwall to the east, as well as the small town of Stromness to the southwest.
After centuries of Norse rule, Orkney was annexed to Scotland by James III in 1468. The Norwegians have never officially recognized Orkney as part of Scotland. But while traces of Scandinavian history can be seen everywhere, Orkney's history goes much deeper. The researchers suggest that if you study the Orkney Islands in a little more detail, they will show many archaeological fossils. Parts of the Western mainland have been declared a World Heritage Site.
Actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio recently publicly hailed the renewable energy revolution taking place in the Orkney Islands. The European Marine Energy Center is located in Orkney and helps the islands generate more electricity than they need by using wind, wave and tidal energy. In addition, the world's first hydrogen-powered ferry to transport passengers to and from the island was completed in 2021. Other local industries in Orkney include tourism, a thriving agricultural sector and a small but efficient fishing and aquaculture industry.
The Orkney Islands are home to a huge number of birds. The islands also have a large population of greylag geese, which are very detrimental to crops and cultivated land. Curlew geese, oystercatchers and other small wading birds are found on the coastline throughout the island. Their cries can be heard echoing through the landscape during the morning hours, sounds often associated with islands. There are many otters on the islands, these mammals can be seen in rivers, especially where they flow into the sea and lakes. Fur seals can be seen stretched along the entire coast, along with quite rare killer whales, whales.