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Orkney and Shetland in September / October


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Looking at several ideas for later this year. One is the chance to do Shetland and Orkney in Sept / October time.

 

We don't mind the lack of sunshine but expect that at this time the cold has not set in yet and its more wind and rain.

 

Whats the weather like at that time of year just on the edge of the season change. We have seen all the charts but wanted real life experience of end of season conditions.

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We went to Orkney in September a few years ago and the weather was great - warm but windy and little rain - I went for stargazing and had clear skies most nights. From what I remember reading whilst we were there is that Orkney has a pretty stable climate generally without the larger seasonal  changes we see further south.

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I worked in Shetland in 1977,  if it is not raining it is about to start. Temperature can vary as the arctic is fighting the gulf stream. Its tends to be very windy.

Once you are out of Lerwick, towns are very small, on the bright days the scenery is fantastic. 

I was base at a camp near Mossbank with spectacular view over to the island of Yell.

Good luck

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Posted (edited)

Cheers both for the reply's.

 

For any Scotish holiday we would of course pack sun cream and skis, wellingtons and large winter coats and shorts and tee shirts and summer hats.

 

Edited by hedgerowpete
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1 hour ago, hedgerowpete said:

For any Scotish holiday we would of course pack sun cream and skis, wellingtons and large winter coats and shorts and tee shirts and summer hats.

Don't forget the Avon Skin so Soft to combat the midges...

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think it is a good time to go.  The weather can be mild, sunny and dry if you are lucky and definitely no midges.

 

Not sure if you have looked at ferries yet but going to Shetland whether from Aberdeen or catching it from Kirkwall, there is only the one sailing and it is overnight. When we went to Shetland a couple of years ago, we took a 'Land Bridge' ticket on the advice of the lady on the phone when I rang to ask about tickets.  This was the cheapest way to Shetland.  You take the ferry from Scrabster (Thurso) to Stromness and then drive across to Kirkwall to catch the ferry from there to Lerwick on the same day.  You can have a reasonable time on Orkney that day as the ferry to Lerwick leaves very late in the evening and gets into Lerwick about 8 the following morning.    However, the ferry only calls at Kirkwall on some nights which restricts the days to use this method. 

 

If going just to Orkney, we often used the Pentland Ferry from Gills Bay which is usually cheaper and you can see a few of the sights as you drive North.    

 

Take a trip our to some of the other islands and you might want to consider using the inter island flights.   There is the shortest scheduled flight in the world from Papa Westray to Westray.  We took the passenger only ferry from Westray, walked on Papa Westray and then flew the return journey: the inter island flights are just like catching a bus.  The Puffins and some other sea birds will already have departed.

 

To avoid confusion on Orkney, be aware that the main island where Kirkwall and Stromness are is usually referred to as 'The Mainland' - they do not mean the Scottish Mainland.

 

The roads are good, particularly on Shetland.  We drove a lot of miles going all the way up to Unst to see Muckle Flugga and then to the South to Sumbugh.  

 

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many thanks, number one issue is we are travelling with a grey hound so the longer ferry is not what we want.

 

looking at driving to Thurso  over to Orkney and then three days later Shetland, a week in Shetland and then back to Orkney for a few more days and then ferry to the (main) main land and home.

 

From our midland home base. looking to finish work at lunch time and start to drive up. Over night motorway services stop at East Kilbride 10pm to 5am and then the rest of the drive north. over night at the campsite at john o groats, the one next to the sign post on the right of the car park. Big ferry to Orkney the next day.

 

Thats 600 miles and 16 hours driving just to start the holiday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and none of it starts or ends in France. This is a new one for us, lol

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That sounds like a good plan -  living in the North of Scotland, we always have that sort of mileage if going to the continent.  All you need now is for the weather to be kind.

 

If you want a very easy and cheap refuel, there is a large Tesco at the top of the ramp at Jnct 10 of the M74 signed Lesmahagow just before your East Kilbride stop.  It is easier than most motorway service stations and much cheaper - the toilets are just inside the main store entrance.  Slightly more complicated when southbound as you have to exit at Jnct 9 and follow the old road to the roundabout.

 

You will find no fuel at the roadside from Perth until north of Inverness ( At Inverness a Tesco about 400 yds along A96 towards Aberdeen) and there is another Tesco beside the road just outside Wick on the northern side where all the Orcadians fill up when passing.  Tesco tend to dominate in this part of Scotland.  If you are not already aware, there are continuous 'average speed' cameras from Stirling to Inverness.

 

Enjoy your trip - you will be amazed at the quality of the roads on Shetland.

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We spent that last few years travelling the Outer Hebrides and their roads are spot on.

Not been up the East coast for ten years. Family used to live in Granit city but moved so we stopped the drive up.

For the time we are going to drive to Wick i could do the south of France instead, they dont have midges in France, lol.

 

Our favourite stop was always that massive transport cafe up by the big lock that holds the oil rigs. We have had some amazing meals there. Real stomach filling grub that lasts you all day.

 

We prefer Scotland out of season not in season as we get fed up of the van lifers and mobile homes causing the chaos. Tourists can really spoil a place if there is too many of them at once.

 

My big issue is trying to find decent over night stops on my long drives. We leave as soon as after work to grab a four of five hour start. But that means we land after  9pm and want away before 7am. Thats beyond the reach of most campsites. So its either service stations or wild camps in lay bys. None are ideal but its the price you pay to travel long distance in a short time.

We have been researching on a lorry drivers forum for privately owner transport cafes with over night parking. comes up with some clear ideas.

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