Orkney - Giving something back

Giving something back

Cause and effect are certainly at work in Orkney, and visitors have a significant role to play in the islands’ future. This applies to how and where you choose to spend your money: supporting local shops, particularly grocery stores and island hubs, can make a meaningful difference to the prospects of them staying open. In turn, that has an impact on the quality of islanders’ lives.

Despite their increasingly popularity, these islands are not a destination for mass tourism; islanders are not geared up for that and most of them do not wish to be. This can mean things don’t always go to plan. Service is generally very good but – like anywhere – can come under pressure when overwhelmed by more visitors than they are used to. The wild swings of Orcadian weather are a fact of life and, indeed, a large part of the appeal for many visitors. Yet some people will find it unnerving to experience a big storm in a remote landscape.

When you draw up a wish list of things to do on Orkney, you may find that Plan A doesn’t always work out. Above all, that weather usually has the final say in how your holiday will unfold. But do you need everything to go like clockwork and expect – or want – to be able to access the internet at a drop of a hat? Reciprocating the courtesy and phlegmatic approach extended to you when things go awry matters a good deal; islanders will take note of how you respond to such situations. Just accept that Plan A may have to be ditched and Plan E, or even Plan Z, may rise to the top of the list. Come with an open mind, ready to respect and embrace local attitudes and you will be welcomed into a distinctive culture like no other in Britain.

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