Orkney Ferries News

Operational News

Change to Westray Afternoon Sailings from 15 June 2020.

5/6/2020 15:00

To facilitate an increase in shellfish traffic the 1300 Kirkwall to Westray sailing on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will now sail as follows:-


Depart Kirkwall 1340 Arrive Westray 1505

Depart Westray 1515 Arrive Kirkwall 1640


The Tuesday 1330 sailing is unaffected by this change.

Saturday 6th June - Papa Westray / North Ronaldsay sailing

5/6/2020 11:40

Below are the times for Papa Westray / North Ronaldsay sailing tomorrow Saturday 6th June,

Dep Kirkwall 1000

Arr Papa Westray 1150

Dep Papa Westray 1215

Arr North Ronaldsay 1330

Dep North Ronaldsay 1420

Arr Kirkwall 1700

Media Release

29/5/2020 09:20

Media statement:

Tuesday’s announcements on the move to Phase One of the Scottish Government’s Route Map out of Lockdown will result in no immediate change to current public transport arrangements:

The First Minister stressed this at her daily briefing today when she stated: “You will be able to travel – preferably by walking or cycling - to a location near your local community for recreation. However, we are asking you, for now, to please stay within, or close to, your own local area. And don’t use public transport unless it is absolutely necessary.”

The first steps out of Lockdown could only involve “careful and cautious” changes, she said.

In Orkney, this means that travel on public bus and inter-island ferry and air services will continue to be for essential reasons only during Phase One, with passenger numbers severely restricted as a result of and in line with social distancing requirements.

Across Scotland it is assessed that social distancing will reduce transport capacity by 75% – 90% and this figure is very much in line with the assessment in Orkney for our ferries and local bus services.

During Phase One, there will be no changes to the current timetables for local bus, ferry and inter-island air services.

For Orkney Ferries, the aim is to help protect residents in the isles from the risk of infection – along with the crews who operate the service – and to ensure that the ferries can continue to run and deliver freight and other essential supplies.

The Scottish Government’s new guidance, published on Tuesday, will help public transport operators and passengers prepare for the further lifting of lockdown restrictions at a future date.

Detailed information from the Government on the newly announced Public Transport Guidance has been sent to the council. Careful consideration is being given to how this might apply locally when the move to Phase Two begins.

The Guidance does state that people should wear face coverings when using public transport and further information on the Council’s expectations on this will be provided in due course.

The Government has acknowledged that there will be geographic challenges in implementing the Guidance and that there can be no ‘one size fits all’ to the approach taken across Scotland.

The Government’s latest travel advice is available here: https://www.transport.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/transport-transition-plan/advice-on-how-to-travel-safely/

Hoy Monday livestock sailings

12/5/2020 09:00

Hoy farmers will be pleased to note that a process is in place to facilitate early return from livestock runs to the Mart sales on a Monday. Please ask Houton Office for more information when booking livestock inward for sales.

Office Opening Hours

21/4/2020 09:30

During the Covid-19 outbreak our Offices at Kirkwall, Houton and Tingwall will be available for telephone calls 9am – 1pm and 2pm - 5pm Monday to Friday, there will be no access to the Public. All offices will be closed at the weekend.

Pre Paid Travel During Covid-19

27/3/2020 07:00

From Friday 27/03/2020 All non account customers wishing to travel must contact the office and make payment before travel to reduce contact between customers and stewards on board vessels.

Payment can be made by Credit/Debit Card. Vessels will be advised of the details of Passengers who have paid to travel. We will continue to accept Travel cards, Multi Journey tickets and there will be no change to processes for Account holders.

Customers are reminded that following on from the government’s guidance on social distancing in relation to COVID-19, people should avoid travelling unless it is essential and remain in their primary residence.

Our Offices in Kirkwall, Houton and Tingwall will be available for telephone calls 9am – 1pm and 2pm - 5pm Monday to Friday, there will be no access to the Public. All offices will be closed at the weekend.

Reduced Service Timetable until 5th July 2020

25/3/2020 15:45

The current Orkney Ferries timetable will remain in place until Government guidance allows for relaxations. At that point a revised timetable, that is appropriate to the guidelines, will be agreed.


Orkney Ferries supports essential travel only and are currently only taking bookings up to 5 July 2020.

Passengers are reminded that they should not be traveling if they or someone they live with has symptoms of coronavirus.

The most common symptoms are new:

• continuous cough

• fever/high temperature (37.8C or greater)

• loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

A new continuous cough is where you:

• have a new cough that’s lasted for an hour

• have had 3 or more episodes of coughing in 24 hours

• are coughing more than usual

A high temperature is feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back (you don’t need to measure your temperature). You may feel warm, cold or shivery.


If you or someone you stay with has symptoms, please stay a home, do not travel and self-isolate for 14 days.


Further guidance is available on the NHS Inform (Scotland) website HERE


You can find the timetables at the links below:


Outer North Isles - HERE


Rousay, Egilsay & Wyre - HERE


Houton - HERE


Graemsay - HERE


Shapinsay - HERE

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