Read our 2012 reviews
The tour was extremely well organised. We were taken to all the well known sites at times that they were not over-run by masses of other visitors. we were also taken to the less well known, but none the less spectacular sites.
The level of information was much better than you can get from guide books alone. I can recommend this to anyone interested in seeing the archaeology of Orkney.
Visited August 2012
A fantastic holiday that more than lived up to our expectations. Caz and Dave are very knowledgeable, not only about archaeology, but about all aspects of island life. Very well organised, comfortable hotel, good food and site visits carefully timed to avoid the crowds. Two wet days but OK because we had followed their advice regarding footwear and foul weather gear. Wonderful archaeology in a beautiful landscape and highly recommended.
Visited August 2012
Well, we took a deep breath and emptied the bank account for this holiday! It was money well spent: we and two of our 'children' in their early 20s had a wonderful time. Apart from enjoying being together as family, we were impressed by the accommodation Caz and Dave had arranged, which meant that in addition to being well fed and slept, our occasionally damp clothes were dried out overnight in the boiler room. Very helpful. The tour was everything we could have asked for: we were driven well in a comfortable van, everything was timed beautifully so that no hours were wasted, and Caz and Dave were well informed and enthusiastic about the archaeology. Standing amongst buildings 5000 years old is an amazing experience - and of course, there was the Napoleonic fort and tower, the 1st and 2nd world war remains and museums, and so much more.
I get the impression that even a 10 day tour (which we did) wasn't enough to see all that Orkney has to offer. It would be good to come back for more! Visited August 2012
There is no yardstick against which it would be proper to measure Orkney. The people seem quite different from those on mainland Scotland, even from areas closest to it, and although not born there Caz fits so well with her background, seemingly knowing everyone, that apart from the archaeology one feels drawn into it while with her. She is a masterful communicator with a vast knowledge and a gift for presentation, which will hold you riveted by the way she breathes life into the facts. Her seamless organisation of our private tour, avoiding the coaches with perfect timing, gave us the time and peace to marvel at the variety and depth of the archaeology and her stories and clear enjoyment of her surroundings was infectious.
She deserves every plaudit and we would love to do it all again! Visited August 2012
This was a terrific week overall. We knew it wouldn't be a relaxing holiday (no need for the swimming cozzie!) and it was, indeed, a pretty full-on study tour to a wonderful place. We managed to visit nearly 30 prehistoric monuments, sites, museums etc. between Sunday and Friday and certainly got a feel for what life was and is like on Orkney (from the Neolithic to present day). There was also a little free time in Kirkwall and Stromness (we'd advise going up a day early like we did). Dave Lawrence seemed to be able to answer pretty much all of the questions we threw at him, giving us the benefit of personal insights into the Neolithic archaeology of the sites we visited on Mainland, Hoy and Rousay. I'd agree with his assessment of the Swannay Brewery's Scapa Special bitter and The Chair (folk group). Dave managed to avoid clashes with the large tour parties emanating from the cruise ships berthing at Kirkwall. The weather held out (though we did need some warm weather gear even in summer, as advised by Caz) and we got a real sense of the continuity of life on these islands for thousands of years. Accommodation at the Ayre Hotel in Kirkwall was excellent. Visited July 2012
This was a truly fascinating tour. The degree of archaeological knowledge among the participants varied widely, but our two leaders Caz and Dave given their detailed knowledge of and their enthusiasm for their subject and the islands where they live, provided detailed information in a clear and interesting manner, dealt well with any questions and made sure that we enjoyed our holiday as well as learning a lot about the wonders of Orkney. They were able to adjust timings of visits as needed to cater for the varied weather conditions during the week. We visited a wide variety of sites, giving us a fascinating overview of the exceptional heritage of these delightful islands. The icing on the cake was a visit to a live dig - where the enthusiasm of those involved was highly contagious! You have been warned! Catering throughout was first rate, to suit all appetites and all included in the price. The hotel chosen was central, well equipped and comfortable with friendly and helpful staff. All in all we could not recommend this holiday more highly. Visited August 2012
To journey to the 'top of the world' and then to spend six full days exploring beautiful remote mysterious Orkney with a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide - what an adventure! This was much more than an Archaeology Tour. The archaeology sites are extraordinary and often very moving; thank you Caz for not rushing, and allowing time and space to reflect. We learned so much amazing pre-history but also much recent history and then much about present day Orkney life, agriculture and industry. And the wildlife! The organisation, itinerary and attention to detail were excellent as was the accommodation at the lovely Ayre Hotel. Caz drove us safely and catered to our every need. (Do take her list of 'what to bring' seriously - she is the expert.) Altogether a very special experience. Visited June 2012
This was a first class tour of first class sights in a first class part of the UK with first class guides. Dave and Caz, the tour guides, are archaeologists and residents of Orkney. Their knowledge of both is broad and deep, and their ability to convey what they know in an interesting and accessible way made for a very stimulating experience. Along with the visits to all the main sights and many others, there was also a visit to a 'live' archaeological dig and this really enhanced the overall tour experience. Anyone who has an interest in learning more about archaeology or Orkney will find this holiday extremely rewarding.
The tour arrangements helped to ensure that participants were prepared for each day and refreshed along the way with plenty of water and toilet stops. Dave and Caz do their research on the lunch stops so that they are all high quality with plenty to eat. The days are also well structured with built-in flexibility to accommodate the needs of the group and the vagaries of the weather and other tourists. We stayed in the Ayre Hotel, which is comfortable, clean, well located, and the staff are friendly. I personally find a week of hotel food a bit heavy going, but included in the cost of your tour you can choose anything from the menu - if you fancy fillet steak and sticky toffee pudding every night then this is the tour for you! Alternatively, the helpful hotel staff will cater to whatever diet you prefer during the week. If you have an interest in archaeology, or the earliest history of the Orkney Islands and the country we now call Scotland, then you'll love this. Visited August 2012
We have just returned from what can only be described as an excellent holiday. From the accommodation to the tours, it was a real 'adventure' indeed! We had tours with both Caz and Dave over the six days, and both were very informative and were clearly enthusiastic with a terrific depth of knowledge. The volume of archaeology on the islands make the Orkneys a 'must see' for anyone who is interested. I can highly recommend this tour, and hope to return for the follow up tour in the future. I would also like to mention that the both the hotel and lunch stops for first class and well selected. A full-on week which has left us wanting to find out more! Visited August 2012