Peedie adventures in Orkney

Bryce Wilson's Mermaid Bride illustration


"Peedie" means little in Orkney dialect. Compared to Orkney's better-known sites, the peedie adventures we're going to show you have an intimate and undiscovered feeling. Theses places are perfect for people who want to explore Orkney in a deeper way.

Brough of Birsay

* Skip down the page here to start your adventure.

Thoughtful visitors are sometimes disappointed when they arrive at the Stones of Stenness, the Italian Chapel or other must-see sites only to find them swarming with tour buses.

The good news is, that's not likely to happen with our favorite peedie places. You might come across a few dreamy-looking souls wandering about with preoccupied smiles. But rarely will you see anything like a crowd.

Rackwick, Orkney


Picture it ...

The Ring of Brodgar on a summer's day.

Tom and I have brought some visiting friends to the standing stones. Tom is telling us what it was like to dig with a team of archaeologists in the ditch that surrounds the Ring. 

Ring of Brodgar dig 2008, Orkney
Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, 2008 dig with Tom Muir

He tells us a folk story that goes with these stones - the one about dancing giants.

Drawn by the stories, others pause to listen.

Just then ...

Ring of Brodgar

... a couple comes strolling past. They stop and look around. One gives a shrug. Then they snap a few selfies and make a beeline for the road.

They do not look back at the 5,000-year-old sacred space they’ll probably never see again. Their voices ricochet around the stones as they walk away. 

"I thought they'd be bigger," says one.

The other answers hopefully: "Oh, well. We'll be doing Orkney tomorrow."

Say, fellas - where are we, anyway?

You got the feeling they were expecting a neolithic theme park - Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble popping from behind stones to pose for photos. 

No. Orkney is not that kind of place.

Orkney is an experience.

Brough of Birsay Viking ruinsThe Brough of Birsay, where you can sit inside a Viking's house.

These lesser-known places can help you get to know the real Orkney. Yes, they take a bit more effort to find. But there are advantages.

  • Orkney's main sites are widely spread over the mainland and outer islands. Knowing other places you can visit while you're in an area helps you make the most of your time and see more.
  • Solitude sets the mood for a more meaningful experience. I think Orkney's secret places reflect its spirit more authentically. 
  • Most of our favorite peedie adventures are free of charge and don’t require scheduling a time slot.

Lighthouse on the island of Graemsay.

The best way to experience the Orkney Islands is at a leisurely pace, with a margin of time left around the edges for savoring discoveries.

There are so many rich nooks and crannies to explore. I think that's why so many people return to Orkney again and again - you just don't want to rush through the wonder.

Brough of Deerness pathTake time to explore.

If your travel style is reflective rather than box-ticking, the peedie adventures you'll find below might be just the thing.

Have a great adventure!

Click the photos below for inspiration

Mermaid image (Rhonda's pages) and storyteller image (Tom's pages) courtesy of our dear friend - Stromness author, artist and historian, Bryce Wilson MBE - Thanks, Bryce!

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