- Orkney Wireless Museum
- Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar, Stenness - coach trip to see the neolithic site
- Orkney International Science Festival - a couple of events and a lovely old cinema projector
- Getting to Orkney - by sleeper train, coach and ferry
Tuesday, 11 September 2012
I first visited Orkney in 2007 for work, giving a talk on diabetes research to one of our voluntary support groups there - I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. On that visit I took two flights to get there and managed to arrive within one day but these days that just doesn't seem dramatic enough and after my heroic journey earlier in the year to Belfast I thought I'd try it again and re-visit Orkney, in time for their International Science Festival.
There's a ferry from Aberdeen that runs a few times a week so the obvious previous step is to get to Aberdeen and there's an overnight sleeper train that does that, however it sets off at 9pm and my departure night clashed with an opportunity to see Ian McKellen and Jonathan Hyde (among others) launch their spoof comedy show - the Clapham Academy of the Creative Arts - at the Prince Charles Cinema. That was hilarious fun, and the timing meant that I took the later Glasgow sleeper instead of the Aberdeen one.
The overnight sleeper is such a delightful way to travel that I am prepared to arrange quite complicated travel plans around it and I've recently developed a taste for overnight or evening ferry journeys too (as of June 2012). So I slept on a train on the way to Glasgow and snoozed on the evening ferry from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, the capital city of Orkney. In the middle of that I tried out a 3 hour coach from Glasgow to Aberdeen. Not particularly luxurious but not uncomfortable and a great opportunity to see the lovely countryside, and the coach stations of Scotland.
When I arrived in Kirkwall there was a connecting bus that didn't quite go to my hotel but the driver was very accommodating (this is a bit of a feature of Orkney buses!) and dropped me off nearby - I had to walk down a pitch black (seriously) alleyway which would have been much more terrifying if there wasn't a light at the end of it (my hotel). But the nicest bit was when I looked up and saw stars. LOADS of them. So unlike London.
Since I spent most of Sunday snoozing and recovering you might think that taking 24 hours to travel and another to recover is a bit daft... but I enjoyed it so there. I think that I might actually be mentally preparing myself for a sea voyage from Southampton to New York in a few years ;)
Itinerary London - Kirkwall
Friday 7 September: 23:45 depart London Euston (boarding from 11pm) on Caledonian Sleeper arriving Saturday 8 September 07:20 in Glasgow.
08:30 Megabus coach from Glasgow Buchanan Bus station to Aberdeen, arriving 11:35. Spot of lunch and I managed to catch Brave (great fun) on 3D before getting the 17:00 Northlink ferry (MV Hjatland, by the way Northlink have recently been taken over by Serco!) to Kirkwall arriving 11:05 and getting to my hotel at about 11.45 and then having quite the sleep after that!
Sleep is always lovely but sleeping on a train or boat is the best.Other Orkney 2012 posts