The bus rides from Inverness to John O'Groates is a little bumpy and is tiring, but the ferry ride is breezy and wakes you up and invigorates all as you see the cliffs approaching on Orkney. Our driver was full of historical stories and puns tossed in here and there. It was VERY enjoyable and informative. It was a very high level visit of Orkney but has left us wanting to return so we can return for an extended visit to really experience and learn more about the people and the land. It is so incredibly beautiful and full of interesting history. We look forward to our next trip here.
As a side note, it is a VERY long day and we highly recommend packing snacks and drinks. There is so much to do in a limited time that there isn't enough time to stop anywhere to grab a sandwich or much of anything else.
The day lived up to our expectations! We were with a large group on a comfortable coach. The guides were very informative and accommodating, and kept us informed about the day’s schedule. The ferry ride over to the islands was relatively smooth, but the ride back was more adventurous with stronger winds and waves. Ferry captain did a great job getting us across though:) Bus guide was very good to keep people on schedule and speak to those who had difficulty following a schedule. The breathtaking Orkney Islands are well the all day trip!
Bus tour guide on Orkney was AWESOME and the sites are so worth the trip. What a great guy. But the bus to and from the ferry was hellish. I get motion sickness, but generally can handle it fine. Usually boats are the problem, but the boat ride across to Orkney was fine. The bus rides to and from the ferry were horrible, and the staff were totally uneuipped to assist. What complete dolts. Had I known the bus would be like that, I would have booked my own visit and stayed on Orkney for a night. We did get the wrost rainstorm on record while we were there which cut short some of our site visits, but even that didn't dampen the beauty and inspiration of the place. The Skara Brae exhibit is thought-provoking and just beautiful. I would definitely visit again. Just not via this tour.
I was very excited to take this trip however, on the morning of, we were to be at a bus stop at a certain bay at a certain time. I arrived early, 15 minutes before the time we were suppose to be there. There were three other people there. People started to arrive and get into a line. 10 minutes before the tour bus was to arrive, a representative came over and said they changed the bay number and we had to move across to another bay where there was a huge lineup. I went from the front to the back instantly. People were already grumbling and not happy as they specifically came early to get a window seat. When the bus showed up, people that had been at the new bay number started to get on as another bus pulled up behind it. We were going to board and a large screaming man started pushing people including me saying the first bus was not the Orkney bus and he should get on first on this bus because he had come early just for a window seat. There was a huge argument with this rude individual I actually thought there was going to be a fist fight. The doors to the bus opened and he literally shoved people to get on first. There was still screaming and yelling even when we got on the bus. I booked my tickets months ahead of time, at least 6 months and what I can guess is the few people that booked way in advance were given the original bay number and people that booked later received the new bay number. It was a gong show and left a terrible taste with quite a few people due to disorganization on the tour companies part. I would recommend when you book your tickets, there be a number system as this was a horrible way to start a tour. The tour itself was really good however there was just not enough time at the stops. It was really really rushed to try to take it all in.
Could have used a little more time in the town but you can't control the currents in the North Sea. It was an amazing day. The tour guides did a great job and ensured we had all the pertinent information. It is a definite must see...you may want to consider an overnight here there is so much to see and do.