LIVING ON NORTH RONALDSAY ORKNEY TRAVEL, SHOPPING & EATING

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Historically a visit to North Ronaldsay has always been an adventure. It's remoteness gives it a special charm and peace that we and others fell in love with at first sight. To reach us by sea involves a two to three hour voyage, but Loganair has three flights daily on a small 8 seater plane. 20 return from Kirkwall.
Remember that is is a small island in the north Atlantic and leave a little slack in your travel arrangements.

Shopping for supplies on North Ronaldsay.
It will come as no surprise to anyone planning a self catering stay on a remote island, with a tiny population, to find that shopping opportunities are limited when compared with Mainland Orkney.

The island shop is open for one or two hours most days of the week but it is wise to give an order in advance for perishable goods.

However, guests at Howar Cottage and Nouster need have no worries about food. June and Gerry maintain a good stock of basic supplies provided at cost.

Guests planning longer stays on the island may wish to adopt the ways of the island and make their own arrangements. Several stores, not including Tesco, will accept orders over the phone and  deliver them to Kirkwall pier from where Orkney Ferries will ship them to North Ronaldsay for a small charge. Weather permitting, Orkney Ferries delivers goods to the island either by boat or plane on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Kirkwall stores that will deliver groceries to the pier include:
Bruce's Store
The Co-op
The Frozen Food Centre
Our preference is to do our Kirkwall shopping personally. We book a Thursday return flight for 14 and take our purchases to Kirkwall pier. The ferry is equipped with freezer and chiller boxes and our goods are delivered to North Ronalday pier on Friday morning.

Eating out.
Advance warning to the establishments is recommended

North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory has a restaurant offering all meals throughout the year. 01857 633 200.

Mark at the lighthouse cafe offers meals from 10 am  to 5 pm. His North Ronaldsay mutton pies have been highly acclaimed by islanders. Mark's mobile is 077 68 20 16 51. The cafe also shares a landline phone with the visitor centre 01857 633 297 

Sandra's menu at the post office includes an excellent roast ot seaweed eating sheep, drop in at the post office to arrange a meal in advance.

Travel  to Orkney
Our recommended option is to fly north to Kirkwall with Flybe from one of the main Scottish airports, possibly combined with rail to Scotland.
Early booking return, to Kirkwall, currently from, Aberdeen 120, Edinburgh 150, Glasgow 150.
From London Gatwick to Kirkwall it's currently 180 return in summer.
By car we recommend Pentland Ferries from Gills Bay. Return, car 60 adult 26
Foot passengers by the Orkney bus from Inverness. Return 49

Transport
Once you get to Orkney we have highly subsidised transport services.
A day return from North Ronaldsay by plane costs 14 return. The air fare for flights starting from Kirkwall is 20 return provided that you stay for at least one night. It's 34 return for a day trip.
Loganair summer timetable. The planes are 8 seater and the baggage limit is 15kg. Booking is by phone 01856 872494, from outside the UK it's
44 1856 872494. There are 3 flights a day and early booking is recommended. 

The regular weekly ferry to North Ronaldsay which takes about 2 hours, is on a Friday, with an extra Tuesday sailing in the summer. The fare for a one way sailing from or to Kirkwall is 7.35, 17.40 for a car. Orkney Ferries summer timetable
On Sundays in the summer there are about two excursion sailings a month, which enable visitors to spend around four hours on the island. Summer excursion timetable

Transport on the island
Tommy Muir operates a tour and taxi service and has cars for hire at 37.20 per day incuding fuel and VAT. Tel 01857 633 244

Mark has the bicycle franchise. He can be contacted at the lighthouse cafe. Bicycles are available for hire at 8 per day. Tel: 01857 633 297

If you like walking the island is about 3 miles long and about 13 miles round the shore.

Mail
We have an excellent Royal Mail service that uses the daily Loganair planes. First class mail takes two to three days and second class five to six days. Packages up to 20kg take about 6 days. Both Post Office parcels and Parcelforce parcels are handled by Sandra the post mistress and deliveries are made to every dwelling on the island. Large items have to be shipped to us by sea using other couriers.

Other couriers' services to Orkney are very expensive and where available typically take two or three weeks to reach us.

Telecommunications
Almost every dwelling has a landline telephone. Each outer island has a 3 figure code, North Ronaldsay's is 633, followed by 3 figures for individual homes. When phoning from outside the islands, or from a mobile, use the area code 01857

We have a 0.5MB broadband service which is adequate for most internet activity that doesn't involve video. Guests at Nouster and Howar can use the wireless link at Howar for their laptops.

The O2 and Vodaphone networks provide coverage for most of the island, though the signal for other networks can be patchy.

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