Wartime Orkney Explorer

You can choose which sites you would like to visit from the selection below.
Prices based on number of people and are on request.

Come and discover the vital role Orkney played during the World Wars in protecting the British Grand and Home Fleets based at Scapa Flow. We will expertly guide you around familiar and unfamiliar sites giving you a feel of what life was like for the personnel who guarded Orkney’s shores and the civilians who lived here during the World Wars.

‘Orkney Wartime Explorer’ Tour Itinerary

  • HMS Royal Oak and Kriegsmarine U-boat U-47
    The HMS Royal Oak was torpedoed by German U-boat U-47 on the 14th October 1939 with the loss of 834 on board. Follow the path of the U-47 and the strategy behind the attack on the HMS Royal Oak, from the entrance to Scapa Flow, to escape. See rare and unique aerial reconnaissance to help visualise this tragic story.
  • The Churchill Barriers
    In depth discussion about the construction of the Churchill Barriers named after Winston Churchill the British Prime Minister during WWII. Learn about the men who built them and the stories associated with this historic site. Overview of Blockships and Boom Defence. Great picture taking opportunities.
  • Italian Chapel and POW Camp 60
    Visit the Italian Chapel built by Italian POWs during WWII. See the remains Camp 60 home to the Italian POWs from 1942 – 1944. Learn about their task to build the Churchill Barriers and their lives and interaction with the locals.
  • Blockships WWI
    See a number of merchant vessels that were deliberately sunk by the British in 1915 during WWI to stop German submarines sinking the British Grand Fleet based at Scapa Flow.
  • Hoxa Battery
    Walk up to Hoxa WWI and WWII Coast Defence Batteries. See the 6” gun emplacements and learn about the fire power and protection of Scapa Flow’s southern approaches during the World Wars against the Kriegsmarine.
  • Balfour Battery
    Beautiful coastal walk to Balfour Battery WWII. Two TWIN 6 Coast Defence Batteries located defended Hoxa Sound against the Kriegsmarine Motor Torpedo Boats.
  • St Mary’s and the Rockworks
    Learn about the war effort from St Mary’s village during WWII, including barrage balloon support and the construction of the Churchill Barriers by Balfour Beatty. Visit the site of what used to be the Rockworks.
  • RAF Netherbutton
    Overview about the importance of the RAF Netherbutton Radar Station and the role part it played in the strategic defence of the British Home Fleet based in Scapa Flow during WWII.
  • HMS Sparrowhawk WWII Aerodrome
    Overview of RNAS Hatston codenamed HMS Sparrowhawk. Drive around the former RNAS Hatston (now an industrial estate). See blast shelters, aircraft hangars, air raid shelters, runways and much more.
  • HMS Royal Oak Memorial Garden
    Visit the idyllic HMS Royal Oak Memorial Garden and remembrance hut. Every year on the 14th October a Royal Navy memorial takes place here to remember the 834 men and boys who were lost on HMS Royal Oak.
  • Scapa Beach
    Visit the Scapa Pier and hear about its use by the Royal Navy Stevedores during WWII. Watch the sonar survey of HMS Royal Oak and see the buoy that marks her final resting place as a designated War Grave.
  • Commonwealth War Graves
    Visit St Olaf Cemetery and the Commonwealth War Graves of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending Orkney during the World Wars. Many served on HMS Sparrowhawk during WWII.
  • Wideford Hill
    Journey up to the top of Wideford Hill. Take a short walk down to a WWII slip trench and learn about Anti-Invasion lines that protected Kirkwall and HMS Sparrowhawk in WWII. Beautiful panoramic views over Scapa Flow and Orkney’s Mainland.
  • HMS Tern WWII Aerodrome
    Visit this spectacular WWII Airfield, see inside Air Raid shelters, visit the Control Tower and see runways and other interesting sites and structures.
  • Scorradale
    Walk up to the top of Scorradale and see the massive anchorage that is Scapa Flow. Overview of the scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet on 21st June 1919.
  • Yesnaby
    Visit WWII AA Gun emplacements. Learn about the WWII Anti-Aircraft Gun Training and the firing capabilities of the guns based here. Beautiful views over the North Atlantic Ocean.
  • Western Approaches to Scapa Flow
    Overview of the Western Approach Defences (Land, Sea and Air) of Hoy Sound and Scapa Flow which played a significant part in both World Wars. Learn about German High Level bombing campaigns over this region in 1940 and the Battle of Orkney.

Tour Notes:

  1. Prices on request.
  2. Orkney Uncovered includes bottled water and snacks.
  3. Tour does not include lunch.
  4. Places to eat: Hoxa Café, Sands Hotel, Standing Stones Hotel.
  5. Our transport accommodates up to 7 guests.
  6. Visual aids, commentary and aerial cartography, where appropriate, accompany this tour.
  7. Walking – moderate.
  8. Toilet and refreshment stops en route.
  9. Recommend warm and waterproof clothing and comfortable walking shoes.
  10. Tour may be subject to change due to adverse weather conditions.

If you would like more information or to enquire about this tour send an enquiry directly from this website.