Possibility of rough seas. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 20 miles to Skara Brae, approximately 1/2 hour; about 20 miles to distillery, approximately 1/2 hour; about 2 miles to ship, approximately 1/4 hour. Walking up to 2 miles; uneven, hilly terrain. Stone and grass paths at Skara Brae, steps with handrails leading to some areas; low, narrow entrance to replica house. All areas visited at distillery wheelchair accessible.
Aboard ship, we will have what we like from the breakfast buffet with hot and cold choices plus coffee, tea, water.
After sailing through the night, we’ll awaken this morning near Kirkwall, capital of the Orkney islands and a town with a rich Norse heritage. The first extant reference to Kirkwall is in a saga recording the life of Rögnvald Brusason, who served as Earl of Orkney with Thorfinn Sigurdsson for nearly a decade in the 11th century until his betrayal by Thorfinn in 1046. We’ll begin our time ashore with a walk around the area near Kirkwall’s port led by members of the expedition team, to familiarize ourselves with the town. We’ll then travel farther afield by motorcoach, on a field trip through Mainland — the largest island in the Orkneys — and Lamb Holm. We’ll follow the road across the historic Churchill Barriers, sea defenses constructed by Italian prisoners of war in the 1940s, to reach Lamb Holm. We’ll explore this small island’s beautiful Italian Chapel, built by the prisoners of war using scavenged materials, then return over Churchill Barriers to Mainland and make our way westward. The culmination of our field trip will be an exploration of Skara Brae, which has been called the “Scottish Pompeii” for its preserved Stone Age dwellings — older than Stonehenge, older than the Pyramids — the remains of a settlement of 10 homes. Skara Brae was hidden for almost 5,000 years until a giant storm revealed this remnant of an ancient civilization. Returning to Kirkwall, we’ll stop for an expert-led visit to the northernmost whisky distillery in Scotland, Highland Park. Here we’ll learn from the distillers how the landscape of the islands shapes the flavors of their award-winning whiskies.
Aboard ship, we will choose from hot and cold buffet offerings with coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Free time in Kirkwall. This block of time has been set aside for your personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.