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A Souvenir Guide to Orkney [Paperback]

Charles Tait
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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The Peedie Orkney Guide Book: What to Do and See in Orkney (Charles Tait Guide Books) The Peedie Orkney Guide Book: What to Do and See in Orkney (Charles Tait Guide Books) 4.3 out of 5 stars (3)
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Book Description

6 Jun 2007
There is much to see and do in Orkney, and this guide is designed to help visitors find and appreciate the main sites of interest on the Mainland and other islands. The rich archaeological heritage of the islands is one of their prime attractions, but the soft green and fertile landscape, beautiful beaches, spectacular cliffs, abundant wildlife and above all friendly people are equally important in making up "Orkney".

Orkney lies just north of Mainland Scotland at around 590N and comprises over 70 islands of which 17 or 18 are inhabited by about 21,000 people. The first written reference to the islands is by Pytheas the Greek in 325BC, but they have been inhabited for at least 6,000 years. The timeline from prehistory through historical times to the 21st century runs continuously, making the division between past and present at times hard to discern.

Perhaps most famous for its exceptionally well-preserved Neolithic monuments, some of which now enjoy World Heritage status, Orkney has a wealth of other visitor attractions ranging from archaeological sites, local museums, the Highland Park Distillery and St Magnus Cathedral, to a diverse array of craft workshops and shops selling attractive local goods. Wildlife, especially birds, is another feature of Orkney not to be missed, whatever the season. This book aims to maximise the benefit of your visit, no matter how short.

The Old Red Sandstone rocks result in a combination of fertile agricultural land, most of which is used to raise Orkney’s renowned grass-fed beef cattle, moorland and spectacular coastal fringes, making it a haven for many species of birds in every season, while in Spring and Summer wild flowers are abundant.

The maritime climate combined with the relatively warm Atlantic Ocean, make the climate very equable, with snow and frost rare in winter. Equally, the temperature rarely exceeds 20 degrees in summer. Situated at the meeting point of the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean the islands are surrounded by waters abundant in fish and shellfish, adding to the wide variety of locally produced quality foods.

Whether the visitor arrives by air or sea at Kirkwall or by sea at Stromness, St Margaret’s Hope or Burwick, Orkney presents a strong contrast to the Highlands. Both towns are dominated by their winding main streets and harbours, while Kirkwall also has the imposing 12th century St Magnus Cathedral.

Both towns have excellent shops, hotels and eating places, as well as interesting museums and make excellent bases from which to explore the rest of Orkney. Even on the shortest of visits there are several "must see" sites.

Good places to start are the Orkney Museum or the Highland Park Visitor Centre, with its excellent audiovisual, in Kirkwall, followed by a tour of the West Mainland taking in Maeshowe, the Ring of Brodgar and the Standing Stones and then Skara Brae. If time permits there are many more places which can be visited in a day.

On a longer visit it is strongly suggested that a visit should be made to at least one of the other inhabited islands, all of which are very accessible by ferry or aircraft. Each island has a character all of its own and all have interesting places to visit as well as accommodation and shops.

A good map is a great help in all such visits and the Orkney Tourist Board produces a useful one which also includes Shetland. The Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 series covers Orkney in three sheets, and is recommended for all serious explorers. Most of the places mentioned in this book are signposted.

Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Charles Tait Photographic; 3rd edition (6 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0951785923
  • ISBN-13: 978-0951785928
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.8 x 0.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,028,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Charles Tait is based in the Orkney Islands, off the north coast of Scotland. After taking a BSc in Genetics in Edinburgh, he did a PhD in Biochemistry in Aberdeen, followed by postdoctoral time at Gif sur Yvette in France. Returning to Orkney in 1977 "for a few months" the family is still there.
Magnus studied Chemistry at Edinburgh University, and has done extensive travelling mostly to USA and Japan. Thorfinn read English also at Edinburgh and spent three years on the JET programme in Japan. He is still there and now married to Kika. Charles has developed his passion for photography into a business, and now travels far and wide in search of new images.
The publishing and photo library aspects of the business have come to the fore in recent years, especially with the publication of many postcards and calendars plus the new range of Guide Books, which now covers Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles with more titles to come.
Charles is very keen on landscape, seacape and nature photography, especially of islands. The Picture Library of course includes all sorts of commercial subjects as well. Originally a Kodachrome fan (and still one), he used mostly Velvia 6x7 or 645, for many years until converting wholly to digital in 2002..
Boats are a Tait family obsession, and the family motorboat "Shaalder" will be 60 in 2008. She allows visits to the 60 or so uninhabited islands in our archipelago. Sailing is of course another great interest, now usually charter trips to places like St Kilda. The very short summer season in Orkney makes boating difficult as we are so busy in these short months (which have long hours of daylight).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars just what we want 9 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
this is an ideal guide for the visitor to the orkneys, small and compact but with plenty of info and full colour pictures - we're really looking forward to seeing everything in real life.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Little Book 29 Aug 2012
By L. Lewis - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has some good information & great color photos. It's more of a supplement to other books on the Orkney Islands if you are wanting something more in depth. It's fine for planning a vacation & getting some ideas as to what there is to see & do, etc.
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