Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
gloomyandy
Posts: 1038
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 10:46pm

Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby gloomyandy » 18 Jul 2017, 12:01pm

Hi,
I'm toying with doing a tour of the Orkney Isles. I've been there a couple of times in the past but have always taken the car over and stayed in a cottage. This time I will probably drive up and leave the car on the mainland and just head over with my bike (and camping gear). I've always used Pentand Ferries from Gills bay, but is there a better option if just taking the bike? In particular is there a good (free, or low cost) place for me to leave my car on the mainland?

My plan would be to visit as many of the islands as I can, I've covered most of the main island in the past (though I'm sure I'll do some of it again on this trip) and would like to spend some time on some of the other islands, so any recommendations for things to see, places to camp etc. would be of interest.
Last edited by gloomyandy on 18 Jul 2017, 2:22pm, edited 1 time in total.

jgurney
Posts: 526
Joined: 10 May 2009, 8:34am

Re: Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby jgurney » 18 Jul 2017, 12:33pm

I enjoyed visiting Sanday, and stayed at this hostel, which also offers camping: http://www.ayres-rock-hostel-orkney.com/

The main attractions of Sanday are being a quiet island with a beautiful coastline.

A little curiosity: It's airfield is, as far as I know, one of two in the UK to be a request stop: the 17:53 Sundays flight from North Ronaldsway to Kirkwall will also call here to pick up/set down, but only on request (by 'phone in advance, not by standing in the field waving at the pilot).

bogmyrtle
Posts: 896
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby bogmyrtle » 19 Jul 2017, 7:36pm

I usually go from Scrabster to Stromness (North Link). Costs £10 to park for up to 14 days.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

gloomyandy
Posts: 1038
Joined: 16 Mar 2012, 10:46pm

Re: Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby gloomyandy » 19 Jul 2017, 8:27pm

That seems pretty good value, I assume you have never had any issues when leaving a car there?

Lilyf
Posts: 61
Joined: 26 Feb 2016, 4:12pm

Re: Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby Lilyf » 19 Jul 2017, 9:04pm

If you are getting the early ferry from Stromness to Scrabster you can book an overnight stay on the ferry.
http://www.northlinkferries.co.uk/offer ... breakfast/
We did LEJOG last year and then spent a few days on Orkney coming back on the above route.
We booked a premium cabin which, last year, had a special offer of two free drinks each in the Magnus Bar. We could also help ourselves to as many cakes/biscuits/pastries/fruit etc as we wanted in the bar - all included in the price.
Breakfast the following morning was 'as much as you could eat'.
The facilities in the 'en suite cabin' were excellent with plenty of tea/coffee/hot choc and biscuits.
Check in is from about 9.30pm and we left our bikes to be loaded onto the ferry the following morning by the ferry staff. The bikes were left in a secure place although we did take our panniers to our cabin.
It was excellent value at the price per cabin inclusive of all the food and drink we got.
They have less than 20 cabins so if you are thinking about booking one then do it early as they go quickly. When booking, make sure you mention that you will have bike/s.
The b&b price doesn't include the crossing.
Last edited by Lilyf on 19 Jul 2017, 10:57pm, edited 1 time in total.

pau1ine
Posts: 104
Joined: 9 Aug 2008, 8:40pm

Re: Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby pau1ine » 19 Jul 2017, 10:13pm

jgurney wrote:I enjoyed visiting Sanday, and stayed at this hostel, which also offers camping: http://www.ayres-rock-hostel-orkney.com/

The main attractions of Sanday are being a quiet island with a beautiful coastline.

A little curiosity: It's airfield is, as far as I know, one of two in the UK to be a request stop: the 17:53 Sundays flight from North Ronaldsway to Kirkwall will also call here to pick up/set down, but only on request (by 'phone in advance, not by standing in the field waving at the pilot).


I bet it doesn't take bikes through!

Campsite on Sanday was good when we visited several years ago.
Island hopping by bike is just great way so see Orkney. Westray and Papa Westray are both lovely. Rackwick on Hoy is possibily the most amazing place although it's home to the only serious midge risk.

bogmyrtle
Posts: 896
Joined: 5 Mar 2008, 10:29pm

Re: Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby bogmyrtle » 19 Jul 2017, 10:28pm

gloomyandy wrote:That seems pretty good value, I assume you have never had any issues when leaving a car there?

Never had any issues.
You could park at Scrabster then cycle to Gills Bay for the St Margarets Hope ferry, tour around and then go back via Stromness to Scrabster. It is worth using the B & B on the early ferry to get a good start for the drive home.
A bike does more miles to the banana than a Porsche.

jk49
Posts: 112
Joined: 6 Apr 2013, 7:51pm

Re: Orkney ferry, parking, outer islands, camping

Postby jk49 » 22 Jul 2017, 6:33pm

We went in June via Gill's bay. They were fine with us leaving our car in the car park on the dock for 10 days free of charge. (At our own risk)

So much to see and do, particularly if you like Neolithic, Iron age, viking remains.

Camp at hostels and there is usually cooking and lounging facilities under cover.

Highlights for us was Rousay and Hoy, although west part of mainland was great.
scara brae best at lunch time when cruise ship passengers are having lunch! Maes Howe has to be booked in advance for 1/2 hour slot.

Wheems Campsite on S. Ronaldsay, Camping at hostels in Rousay ,Birsay ,Westray as above regarding excellent facilities. The bothy on Hoy was an amazingly beautiful place to spend a couple of nights.

Also take shoes/boots so you can walk onto the cliff tops to see the huge seabird colonies! Watch out for the skuas!

We had a fantastic time, sometimes challenging weatherwise, but I can't reccomend it enough.