The Orkney Islands are located off the northeastern tip of Scotland, between the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The island group can be split into three main sections: The mainland, the North Isles and the South Isles.

Most of the population of the islands is located on the Mainland (a name which stems from a corruption of the Norse word meginland) in the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness. Less than one third of the islands are inhabited, and some of the South Isles are connected to the Mainland by the Churchill Barriers, which were initially built as anti-submarine defences during the Second World War. Inhabitants of Orkney are known as Orcadians

Orkney's principal industry is tourism, though many products are exported around the world as well. Award-winning real ale is brewed at the Orkney Brewery, and Highland Park whisky is distilled in Kirkwall, and known throughout the whisky-drinking world. Other exports include various arts and crafts such as jewellery and pottery.

Orkney's history and archaeology are world-renowned, and include stone age villages, a medieval cathedral and Renaissance palaces. There is also a wealth of more recent history from both World Wars, since Scapa Flow (one of the best natural harbours in the UK) was used as a base by the British fleet, and was the site of the scuttling of the German fleet in World War One. The influence of the Vikings can be seen in Orkney placenames, many of which are of Norse origin.

Orkney has a rich cultural heritage dating back several millennia, and posesses something to interest most people, except perhaps a nightlife. If you like the quiet, it's ideal.

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