(Orkney Islands)

Orkney, the southernmost group of the Northern Isles, comprises some 70 islands of which 20 are inhabited; the largest island is known to Orcadians simply as 'The Mainland'. The Council is headquartered in Kirkwall, the largest town, and, owing both to its geography and the proud independence of its people, has managed to avoid the local government reorganisations which have taken place elsewhere in Scotland. Orkney is linked to Shetland in terms of representation in the British Parliament, but returns its own member to the Scottish Parliament.

Ruled by the Norse until 1468, the islands' ancient history can be traced in their historic and prehistoric monuments which date back over 5,000 years. In addition to historic sites and a flourishing agricultural economy, Orkney's sea angling and seabird colonies attract many visitors.

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