The Orkneys and Shetland Isles....

Discussion in 'Travel' started by RangeStew, Aug 5, 2009.

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  1. I'm planning on having a look at the Orkneys & Shetland Isles with a view to moving there. I'm after some no duff gen about life there.

    I suffer from PTSD and am looking for a quiet out of the way place.

    Thanks
     
  2. I worked in the Shetlands back in the 80s and loved it, but then I loved the Falklands, so I might be a bit odd, the year before last I ,with a few mates , took my camper van to Orkney and loved it too, The people are great and very friendly. Took the ferry Thurso/Scrabster and drove all around the Mainland didn't bother with camp sites just wild camped in Pub car parks and beaches, loads of fishing and drinking, barbys ect a nice place if you want a bit of piece and quiet, hope that helps, all that went won't to go again next year
     
  3. There are more remote places accessible by road from the mainland. I like Skye and have stayed in places 20 miles from a shop, that is usually enough for most folk. On Orkney you will be closer to civilisation than that, but further from the mainland.
     
  4. Fang_Farrier

    Fang_Farrier LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Orkney is grand.
    It is made up of 64 different islands, only 16 of which are inhabited.
    Mainland has about 16,000 folk intotal with Kirkwall having about half of that. The islands range in polulation from a few hundred to 3 people! Boats journeys to Isles can range from 20 minutes to 1 & 1/2 hours.
    Definately a nice quiet place to live. Weather can be a little less warm than South with a bit of a breeze.
    Lots of different societies and clubs to while away the long dark winter nights.
    Plenty of sports and fairly cheap to participate in them. Rugby Club is second to none.
    If you're looking at pricing getting here, once a resident you get Air Discount Scheme on flights and Islander Discount on boats, both knocking about 40% off the usual price.
    Some jobs will give you "North Isles Allowance" which is extra cash to offset the cost of iving up here.
    www.orcadian.co.uk will give you a flavour of the place.
    If you have any specific queries, please PM me
     
  5. What is the ferry crossing time FF from Scrabster to Kirkwall? I know Orkney is lovely and all, I was just suggesting the mainland can offer better remoteness, with quicker access, I'll get my coat.
     
  6. Google is your friend

    http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/scrabster-ferry.html
     
  7. When you turn right at Scrabster off the boat, there a sign saying " Last petrol for about 160 miles" and the west coast road is awasome, loads of realy magic beaches, very beautifull country. the sort of place where you can park up and the only person you see is the postman, in the post bus,who stoped for a chat and a coffee, If you like solitude,walking on beaches with the dogs and not a sole in site, it's the place you should check out
     
  8. Lived on Shetland in the late 70's and early 80's, brilliant place. Only drawback is that it's difficult to get accepted as a "Soothmoother" by the locals. Managed to get a smile from the local farmer the week before we left. Either that or he was farting!

    Plenty of wide open spaces, can be bleak but stunningly beautiful, ideal for bird watchers and those who like the outdoor life. Over 100 islands make up Shetland and it's further from London than Berlin. Fly in from Aberdeen (1 hour) or 14 hours on the ferry. If the weather is crap (as it normally is during the winter), supplies such as bread can go down. It's the only place I know which has Force 8 Fog!
     
  9. Have just seen this post. I don't know much about Orkney apart from docking there of an evening on route to the Shetlands. I go up to Shetland with my gf on a regular basis (4-5 times a year) and have been doing so since 2004. We liked the place so much that we bought a small cottage up there as our holiday home ... beats having to mix with thousands of bingo seeking drunken Brits in Spain! But then again we both did prolonged tours in the Falklands and thats where we met. We both loved the place and that influenced our decision to go north.

    I had an accident in 2002 and whilst not diagnosed with PTSD, I did have some issues for a while and found the peace and tranquility of Shetland a very calming influence particularly anger issues. I would disagree with the previous poster who claimed that Shetlanders don't really accept us 'soothmoothers'; there are many English (and other nationalities) settled on Shetland and mostly they intergrate into local communities. Shetlanders can be reserved and won't push themselves on you; like most people living on a remote island they can be wary of 'incomers' and sometimes not that world-wise ... local issues are magnified in importance in any remote community.

    Shetland is as remote as you like taking 12-14 hours by ship or around an hour by plane from several Scottish airports. The ferry can be cheap out of season and air travel outragiously expensive. There are good shops in Lerwick (the capital) including a large Tesco and Co-op. The town has everything you could need and anything else can be ordered from the mainland. Roads, public transport, medical care, sport facilities, schools are second to none. Pubs are mostly found in Lerwick and outer communities have active community centres.

    The weather is 'changeable'! You can get 4 seasons in a day even in the summer but it isn't unknown to have a few weeks of good weather. In the summer months daylight hours are long ... the sun 'dims' well after midnight in June and pops back up about 2am. but winter months are dark with only a few hours daylight. Because of the weather it is not uncommon to go several days without flights or even the arrival of ships ... although it is uncommon for both to be cancelled together.

    I would suggest that first you try a holiday and if you like it try a prolonged stay before making a decision. Certainly visit at different times of year to get a feel for the place; a balmy summers day in June sipping wine whilst watching the sun dip at midnight is not Shetland in February when there's a couple of feet of snow on the ground with 80mph winds gusting off the North Sea.
     
  10. Thanks for that k13eod, having spent a while reading up on the place and checking out house prices we think we might try and rent a place for a few months to get the feel of it.
     
  11. Pleasure mate.

    The one thing that I did miss off my post was that, apart from property prices and land, everything in Shetland is expensive. you will notice that most goods in the shops are a penny or three dearer ... it costs to ship it and they gladly let the customer absorb the cost! The worst thing is the cost of fuel which is generally 10p a litre dearer but we've seen it as much as 17-18p a litre dearer. If you take a car up then it's a bulging tank in Aberdeen and leave Lerwick on fumes!

    Like I say, I'm a regular visitor (only just returned last Wednesday) and if there's anything I can do to help please PM me and I will try to help with advice/local contacts etc.
     
  12. Just rode up there this last week on my motorbike.

    Ferry from Gills ( Scotland ) to St Margarets in Orkney runs 3 times a day and takes just over 1 hour and costs £24 for a bike....cannot remember the cost for a car.

    Ferry from Kirkwall to Lerwick ( its the one from Aberdeen ) leaves Kirkwall at 23:45 and lands in Lerwick at 0700 costs £30 for a bike then add cost of cabin or seat.

    The ferry times change depending on time of year for the tourist season and such.

    I think its about £120 for a bike for example from Aberdeen to Lerwick if you do not fancy the drive through to the North of Scotland..leaves Aberdeen about 1700 or 1900 and arrives next morning 0700.

    Speaking to a chap in Stromness who has moved there from the Midlands with his family and he said he bought a 2 bedroom cottage with a little bit of land for £40,000 last year.All in all I found it an exceptionally refreshing kind of place.