Shetland and Orkney Islands
Ancient islands north of Scotland with a rich history
The Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands (previously known as Zetland) are North Atlantic archipelagos off the coast of Scotland. The Shetlands are the more remote, lying 110 miles off the Scottish coast, and 50 miles from the Orkneys.
Both these island groups have a rich prehistoric past and have been the subjects of invasion and territorial disputes in years gone by.
With economies based around fishing, farming, and tourism, both sets of islands share similarities, yet each has a very distinct identity and flavor.
Usually a one-day stop-over on an Arctic cruise, the islands provide wonderful opportunities for bird watching and stunning coastal walks, as well as fascinating historical sites and cultural history.
Interesting facts about Orkney and Shetland Islands
Our expert guide says: "Shetland Ponies are a unique breed, thought to have arrived on the islands over 4,000 years ago after crossing the frozen ocean during the last Ice Age. They are tiny, only about 42" tall, but they are incredibly hardy. They have evolved a winter coat that can shed rain and snow, allowing them to survive the Shetland winters."
Pictures of Orkney and Shetland Islands
Our trips to Orkney and Shetland Islands