Summer sailings from John O’Groats, on the north coast of mainland Scotland, to Orkney begin this week and continue to 2 September. The 40-minute voyage is the quickest sea link to the islands.
John O’Groats Ferries (01955 611 353) has a £62 day tour that departs Inverness bus station at 7.30am daily and returns at 9pm, taking in some of the highlights of the Orkney Islands. These include the cathedral in the capital, Kirkwall; the “inland sea” of Scapa Flow, guarded by wartime Churchill Barriers; and the ancient settlement of Skara Brae (admission fee not included).
If you’d prefer an aerial tour of the islands, Loganair ( www.loganair.co.uk) offers a £39 round-trip from Kirkwall, which includes the world’s shortest scheduled flight – the two-minute hop from Papa Westray to Westray. Once you’ve completed the flight, you get a certificate signed by the captain – and a miniature of Highland Park whisky to celebrate.