Orkney lies only 20 miles north of mainland Scotland, yet for many centuries its culture was more Scandanavian than Scottish. Strong westerly winds account for the scarcity of trees on Orkney and also for the tradition of well-constructed stone structures. As a result, the islands boast a large number of exceptionally well-preserved remains, which help us to form a detailed picture of Orcadian life through the ages. Sites and remains to be explored include settlements from the Stone Age, stone circles and burials from the Bronze Age, Iron Age brochs, Viking castles, the magnificent cathedral of St Magnus in Kirkwall, Renaissance palaces, a Martello tower from the Napoleonic Wars and numerous remains from the Second World War. In this updated edition of her best-selling book, Caroline Wickham-Jones, who has worked extensively on Orcadian sites for many years, introduces the history of the islands and provides a detailed survey of the principal places and sites of historic interest.