Orkney is one of the smaller vice counties, but it is made up of a large number of islands, 16 of them inhabited, with populations from 2 to 20,000, and many more smaller, uninhabited ones. Included are Sule Skerry and Sule Stack, 40 miles westwards into the north Atlantic.
Kirkwall on ‘Mainland’ Orkney is the Islands’ capital (with a Norse cathedral); it has plenty of places to stay and is a convenient centre for exploring the islands, especially those to the north. There are daily ferries to most of the larger ones of these, also an inter-island plane service. Stromness is the second-biggest town, an attractive place and more convenient for visiting the island of Hoy and others in Scapa Flow. For full details of where to stay, travel, and more, try VisitOrkney.
There is much of interest for the botanist. Highlights include arctic-alpines at unusually low altitude on the ridges of the Hoy hills, maritime heaths and grasslands with Primula scotica and Euphrasias, dunes and machair on the island of Sanday and a multitude of small lochs, most of them naturally eutrophic or mesotrophic and rich in aquatic plants.