We will be traveling to Scotland in March 2022 and are planning to visit the Orkney Islands. We are still deciding between taking the ferry or flying from Inverness. We would like a private or small group tour around Mainland since we will only be there for one day. Any recommendations on excellent tour guides?
It’s a long day by road from Inverness as a day trip. I took the excellent boat /coach day trip from John o’Groats as I was staying nearby, but this doesn’t run in March - June to September only. We bought the tickets the day before at the shop/kiosk at the port. It was 9am - 7pm and blustery out on the water. Inverness is a 3 hour drive in each direction.
I went in June and the sea was very choppy on the return sailing. We headed into JoG sideways and apparently it was touch and go whether it was going to run. I dread to think what it would be like in March! The planes have a notoriously poor record, as they get cancelled in high winter winds.
It’s a fascinating place, but March wouldn’t be my choice.
I think In March I would fly as storms could make the crossing a bit miserable. But it really is not the best time to go. You are starting to get a decent amount of sunlight--10.5-13.3 hours depending how close to April you travel. I would check to make sure that the sites that you want to see will be open. It can be wonderful to visit places off season, but do a little research. You might post on the Orkney forum on TA. You will get some local advice. You might explore this website. I will say too that one day is not much time. You will have to be very focused as to what you want to see.
If you join the Facebook group Orkney Past &Present I think you can post an inquiry. I believe the group rules forbid actually selling services or goods (didn't go back and read), but I think if you word your inquiry tactfully you can get suggestions.
In any case, that Facebook page is wonderful!
If you can think about two nights on Orkney, rather than a day trip. Road wise it is two hours by private car to Scrabster then another hour and a half to Stromness. Different times if using the John O'Groats ferry, and the rail can be slower than road transport, although it is one of the better lines in the UK.