Guided tours of Orkney
Orkney never ceases to delight. Golden light on never-ending summer’s evenings, dramatic cliffs, sparkling clean ocean, emerald green hills. Five thousand years of human life. Come and delight in Orkney with us!
Dr Ragnhild (‘Raggie’) Ljosland
Qualified professional guide, Green Badge certified by the Scottish Tourist Guides Association.
Special areas of expertise:
- Viking Age and Norse period
- Orkney’s Norwegian history
- Folklore, folk tales, tradition, custom and folk belief
- I love a walk in nature
I am of course also happy to guide on general topics of Orkney life, nature, art, crafts, and industries.
- Half day (up to 4 hours): £200
- Evening tour (up to 1.5 hours): £120
- Full day (up to 8 hours): £320
Prices are in accordance with 2024 Scottish Tourist Guides Association rates. Prices are for the whole group, not per person.
Prices do not include:
- vehicle hire
- entry tickets to sites
Prices refer to tours on the Orkney Mainland and linked islands. There may be an extra charge for tours to outer islands. Ferry travel costs will come in addition.
Terms and Conditions
Bookings must be accompanied by a deposit of £50, payable at the time of booking.
The remaining balance should be paid 14 days before arrival at the latest.
Failure to pay a deposit or the balance on time may result in cancellation of the tour.
Cancellation by you
If you cancel your tour up to 14 days before the tour date, the deposit will be retained but any further payment will be returned. There will be no refund for cancellations less than 14 days before the date of the tour, so you are strongly advised to take out travel insurance. If you are unable to go on the tour due to unavoidable circumstances such as acute illness or travel disruption, I will refund the balance but keep the deposit.
Cancellation by me
If extreme circumstances force me to cancel the tour, I will do my best to offer a fully-qualified guide to follow the planned itinerary. If this proves impossible or is unacceptable to you, a full refund of the cost of the tour will be given but I am not responsible for any consequential loss e.g. travel costs.
I am a step-on guide, which means I do not own a touring vehicle. I am happy to guide as a passenger in your vehicle, or give a walking tour, or a tour using public transport.
Unavoidable changes to tour itinerary
If circumstances dictate unavoidable changes to the tour itinerary, for reasons such as adverse weather, closed causeways, or attraction closures, I will do my utmost to provide a good alternative.
Book your tour
- Think about your interests, what you would like to experience, and where you would like to go. I can also give suggestions.
- Read through the prices, terms and conditions.
- Enquire through the contact form. Let me know your dates. If you have flexibility in dates, there is a greater chance we will find a date that suits us both.
- When I receive your enquiry, I will respond and let you know my availability. At this point, if we agree to go ahead, I will ask you to pay the deposit.
- In dialogue with each other, we design your tour.
- Pay the balance at least 14 days before arrival.
- Come to Orkney and enjoy your tour!
Evening tour of Kirkwall
When it’s quiet, and the northern summer evening is still light, I would like to show you the town where I live.
The Viking town where longships found a safe harbour. The destination for medieval pilgrims to Saint Magnus Cathedral.
The trading port in the age of sail, where the British Navy pressed young boys into service, and landlords built business empires reaching as far as America.
The small but buzzing hub of culture, where musicians, authors, artists and storytellers thrive. Let me read you some favourite pieces by local authors.
And, of course, I want to show you the hidden gems to be found when you know what to look for.
The witches of Orkney
This guided walking tour of Kirkwall takes you back to the 16th – 18th centuries when witchcraft was a great concern of the church and civil authorities.
You will hear the stories of some of the more than 70 people who were taken to court accused of witchcraft, such as Alisoun Balfour who allegedly poisoned the Earl, Jonet Rendall ‘The Spitting Witch’, Jonet Forsyth ‘The Westray Storm Witch’, and Marjorie Paplay the mother of Kirkwall’s richest man.
You will see where the accused were held in prison and walk the walk of shame with them to the execution site where Orkney’s memorial to the victims of the witchcraft trials is located.
The Witches of Orkney is available as a private tour on request, or occasionally as a ticketed tour – see events calendar for dates.
(Full day or half day)
Let me bring you back to the days when the Vikings ruled over Orkney.
Hear their voices from the past by reading the runic inscriptions they left behind. I will help you; I know Old Norse and can read runes.
Visit the places where they lived and find out what their lives were like. See where the Jarls (Norse Earls of Orkney) lived and hear stories from sagas of their lives full of opulence and splendour, danger and adventure.
This tour combines archaeology with saga literature and storytelling to bring Viking Orkney to life.
Sites included depends on whether a half-day or full-day is chosen.
Do you love nature and literature? Do you feel that out in the wild there is a special poetry that speaks to you and makes you connect? I do.
This tour combines walking in nature along the pilgrimage route, Saint Magnus Way, with poetry and other literature by Orkney writers. I will bring my favourite pieces of text, specially selected for the places along our walk.
I will also tell traditional local folk tales, making the landscape come alive.
Let yourself unwind, find a connection, allow yourself to be moved by the beauty.
It is up to you how far we walk. Perhaps it is nice to sit for a while, too?