Islands of Scotland – The Orkney Islands (1/3)
2) The Orkney IslesOrkney (also known as the Orkney Islands or, incorrectly, the Orkneys) is an archipelago in northern Scotland, situated 10 miles (16 km) north of the coast of Caithness. Orkney comprises over 70 islands; around 20 are inhabited. The largest island, known as "Mainland," has an area of 202 sq mi (523 kmÂ²), making it the sixth-largest Scottish island and the tenth-largest island in the British Isles. The largest settlement and administrative centre is Kirkwall.Orkney has been inhabited for at least 5,500 years. Originally inhabited by neolithic tribes and then by the Picts, Orkney was invaded and finally annexed by Norway in 875 and settled by the Norse. It was subsequently re-annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472, following the failed payment of a dowry for James III's bride, Margaret of Denmark.Orkney contains some of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe, and the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.