A self organised unconference for anyone with an interest in services in islands, wherever they may be (including the big one with Cardiff, Edinburgh, and London on it); and for anyone with connections to islands, however tenuous. Also (in May 2012 and May 2015), an opportunity for visitors to Orkney to see puffins!

IslandGovCamp #IsleGC15 : Saturday and Sunday 30-31 May 2015
Kirkwall Grammar School, Orkney (and online)

(There will also be an island visit, and/or bus tour in Orkney on Friday 29 May 2015, for govcampers travelling to Orkney who can arrive a day or 2 early.)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Tour of the Orkney mainland by public transport

Tour of the Orkney mainland by public transport
Friday 25 May 2012

Please Note:
To book a place on this tour, please register on the Ideascale page, and vote for the idea (also leave a comment saying how many places you wish to book): it's first-come-first-served!

Co-ordinated and led by Fran Flett Hollinrake, Orkney tour guide,
storyteller and
mild-mannered cathedral custodian

The Orkney ICT Forum is grateful to Fran Flett Hollinrake for sponsorship , in the form of contributing her professional services in devising the itinerary and leading the tour


1. All participants must bring stout footwear and waterproofs
2. We will use public service buses, which run to a timetable
3. Numbers on the tour are limited (to 20), due to the capacity of the Maeshowe monument
4. Additional guests may join the tour, but are not guaranteed entry to Maeshowe.
4. The format of “tour by service bus” is an experiment!
5. There is no absolute guarantee that buses we are relying on will have capacity to take us, so times and attractions visited may vary for this, or any other, reason!!
6. Anyone wishing to use their own vehicle (rather than buses) to follow the tour may do so (“Follow that bus!!), but parking may be an issue, especially at Maeshowe
7. Anyone wishing to join the tour at any point after the Maeshowe visit (or wishing to miss out a section of the tour, or leave the tour early) may do so – using the GovCAmp “rule of 2 feet” (and/or 1-or-more wheels) just meet us at the point you wish to take part (tweet @sweynh or ring 07796952788 first, to check where we are!)

The tour is designed to showcase some of the highlights of the Orkney mainland that are accessible by public transport in May. It contains many of the elements of an Orkney tour, including landscape, poetry, archaeology, geology, Norse sagas, Stone Age monuments, coffee, wartime heritage, lunch, modern art, shopping time, architecture, folklore. As far as the weather is concerned, Orkney is sometimes said to offer “all four seasons in each day”, although by late May we will hope for some sort of focus (for most of the time) on spring and/or summer!


0900 Arrive KW Travel Centre – distribute maps/mini-guides (index-cards as storyboard for proposed phone app ‘Kirkwall to Stromness by bus’, featuring sites of interest, geology, folklore, history, etc)

0910 Dep KW Travel Centre by X1 bus (next bus to Stromness at 1035)

0925 Arrive Tormiston Mill (Visitors Centre for Maeshowe) – check in for tour, toilet available, 7-8 minute walk to the monument. Photography NOT permitted inside Maeshowe. Members of Historic Scotland get free entry, as do members of English Heritage, Manx Heritage and Cadw (after 1st year of membership – if in 1st year then entry to HS properties is half price). Entry charge is £5.50 or £4.40 for concessions. If 11 or more people pay together as a group, there is a 10% discount.

1000 Tour of Maeshowe (booked). The tour starts at the monument and usually takes about 40 minutes. The guide will be informed that we are catching a bus at 1050. 7-8 minute walk back to the main road for the X1 bus to Stromness (next bus 1150).

1050 Dep Tormiston Mill

1105 Arrive Stromness Travel Centre

1115 Guided tour of Stromness by Fran Flett Hollinrake

1215 Lunch and free time for Pier Arts Centre, Stromness Museum, shopping etc. Lunch is self-sourced – various options include The Cafe Bar, Julia’s Bistro, Argo’s Bakery. Pier Arts Centre has free entry, Stromness Museum £3.00/£2.00.

1340 Dep Stromness (next bus 1440)

1410 Arr KW

1420 Tour of St Magnus Cathedral by Fran Flett Hollinrake. Photography permitted, free entry, toilets available.

1500 Coffee/Orkney Museum – Orkney Museum has free entry and will be self-guided with possible chat with Exhibitions Officer and local storyteller Tom Muir. Options for tea/coffee include The Reel or the St Magnus Cafe (both have WiFi), or The Strynd.

1615 Dep Kirkwall Travel Centre (next bus 1715)

1630 Arrive Lamb Holm – walk to Italian Chapel. Free entry, photography permitted, no toilets.

1640 Visit Italian chapel

1705 Walk back to bus stop

1715 Dep Lamb Holm (next bus 1815)

1731 Arrive Kirkwall Travel Centre


  1. I'd be grateful if the tour leader could confirm or ascertain whether dog creche facilities, or a special dispensation, may be available at Maeshowe please!

  2. It is likely that informal dog-minding arrangements at the various attractions featured in the tour can be made, collaboratively, on the day, as there will be Orkney-based people on the tour who may be willing to forego the tour of the interiors of the attractions themselves. It seems likely that one or more such people might be willing to agree to offer the necessary service in order to maximise the overall value to IslandGovCamp of the tour.

    I will raise the issue with Fran Flett Hollinrake directly, as the question of pets accompanying guests on tours cannot be one that han never been considered before, and there may be a more straightforward solution!