Since 1865 Orkney has been served by many different shipping companies and services. The Inter Island Ferry network is today operated by Orkney Ferries. Offering a safe and efficient service to both island residents and visitors, the Company understands its vital role in the socio-economic stability of Orkney.
The ferries form a vital link between the outer islands and the Mainland, transporting passengers, vehicles and freight, including livestock on a daily basis.
On average, the ferry service carries 312,000 passengers annually and transports over 80,000 vehicles. There are 9 ferries in the fleet ranging from the largest, the Varagen, which serves the Outer North Isles, to the smallest the Golden Mariana which operates between Westray and Papa Westray, during the summer months only.
The Earl Thorfinn, Earl Sigurd and the Varagen operate to the Outer North Isles of Westray, Papa Westray, Stronsay, Sanday, Eday and North Ronaldsay.
A service to Shapinsay also departs from Kirkwall on a regular basis, with a journey time of approximately 25 minutes.
The inner north isles of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre have a regular service from Tingwall on the Orkney Mainland using the ferry Eynhallow, named after the small island to the south of Rousay, which can be seen during this crossing.
The Hoy Head leaves from Houton in the South of the Mainland, passing through Scapa Flow en route to the islands of Flotta and Hoy which attracts visitors in particular to historic war time sites including the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre in Lyness.
As well as these ro-ro passenger ferries the ferry company operates two vessels which are passenger vessels only: the Golden Mariana and the Graemsay. The former, operates a service between Westray and Papa Westray during the summer months only, while the latter operates from Stromness, Orkney's second largest port, in the west of the Mainland. The Graemsay runs to Moaness in the North of Hoy and to the small island of Graemsay. Moaness is the main access point for those wishing to walk to the Old Man of Hoy.
Make your trip to Orkney one to remember by taking a trip with Orkney Ferries to some of the many beautiful islands in the group.
For full Information on Orkney's Inter Island Ferry service, please contact:
Orkney Ferries, Shore Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1LG
The Customer Services offices are located on the harbour front near the entrance to Kirkwall Pier and adjacent to the Kirkwall Hotel.