Situated to the north of mainland Scotland, the Orkney Islands are renowned for the ruggedness of the climate and natural environment, which resulted in buoyant and hard-working inhabitants, with a mentality and culture of their own. The soils are known to be quite unsuitable for agriculture and the weather fairly unfriendly, and yet many settlements have grown and flourished and these islands are one of Scotland’s main touristic areas. Aside from mainland Orkney, which embodies much of the inhabited territory and economic activities, there are the South Isles and the North Isles, names according to their positioning in relation to the Mainland.
Aside from the towns of Stromness Kirkwall and, the Mainland also offers a chance to see vestiges of primeval civilisations, namely the Picts and Vikings, and also some building works from the Neolithic period, all having significant archeological value. Among the South Isles, not all are inhabited but on those that are, traditions carry on as they did centuries ago. For instance, on South Ronaldsay, customary cultural events are held yearly. The North Isles, for a change, constitute a more sizeable group in terms of vastness and rely mostly on agricultural activities, fishing and the leisure industry, which is well developed due to the picturesque sceneries and very traditional way visitors get a taste of on these islands in the far north. Moreover, many of the islands shelter remnants of ancient times, which are not to be found exclusively on the mainland and attract people from all over the world.