There’s a strong connection between Orkney and Iceland, and we’ve been going to Iceland for nearly a decade to explore this connection. The Orkneyinga Saga was even written in Iceland! Apart from the obvious Viking links (place names are remarkably similar between Iceland and Orkney) there is a strong natural history connection: our wintering birds of Orkney fly northwest to Iceland to breed. Birds such as great-northern diver; Slavonian grebe; greylag and pink-footed geese; and purple sandpipers to name but a few fall into this category. Our Orcadian orcas (killer whales) even share their lives with Icelandic waters as they travel the old Viking seaways between Iceland and Orkney. I’ve even seen several of the same individual orcas in Orkney, Shetland and Iceland! See the wonderful website Orca Guardians for more details of Icelandic orcas.
We also include a trip out to cross the Arctic Circle, and a whole day visiting the northernmost inhabited island of Grímsey, 25 miles offshore, and a 3 hour ride on the ferry Sæfari. Grímsey just kisses the Arctic Circle at 66 ̊ N and only about 100 inhabitants live there along with its seabirds. Expect to see Brünnich’s guillemots & puffins! There is also the possibility of seeing whales en route.
Specialist birds that we hope to see include Barrow’s goldeneye; harlequin duck; red-necked phalarope; Brunnich’s guillemot; white-tailed eagle; merlin and gyr falcon. Added to this is the backdrop of the stunning volcanic and geo-thermal scenery of Iceland, with geysers, waterfalls and glaciers as standard. Two whale-watching trips are included as we seek close-ups of orcas, minke, humpback and sperm whales. Our Iceland trips are amongst the finest that we do, and Steve’s favourite location!
For 2017 tour pictures please click here.
For current availability, itinerary and prices please click Iceland Tour Enquiry.