The Orkney Tourist Guides Association (OTGA) is a membership organisation, not a booking agency. Our members are self-employed guides and our website makes it easy for you to contact all of our members with your enquiry. You may alternatively browse all our guides and contact them individually. If you book a guide then your contract is with the individual guide and not with OTGA.
Membership of the Orkney Tourist Guides Association (OTGA) is open to those who have completed the relevant training course and passed the written and practical examinations required to hold either the Green, Blue or Yellow Badges of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA). As paid-up members of the STGA guides adhere to a code of conduct and are fully insured for public liability and professional indemnity, provided they are guiding in an area for which they are qualified.
Most of our members are Orkney Green Badge guides and are qualified and insured to guide anywhere in Orkney. Some of our members hold Green Badges for other areas of Scotland, and others are Blue Badge guides qualified and insured to guide anywhere in Scotland including Orkney. We do not currently have any Yellow Badge guide members, but the Yellow Badges are qualified only for a particular area or site, which in Orkney is restricted to Kirkwall and Stromness. Yellow Badge guides not insured or qualified to guide anywhere else in Orkney.
You can easily tell if your guide is qualified as they will be wearing the appropriate badge which is engraved with their name, as shown in the examples below. To find out more about training as a guide please visit the STGA website.
You may also contact OTGA if you have a general query.
Why book a tour?
Whether you want to make the most of your one day in Orkney, or want to immerse yourself in all things Orcadian for multi-day tours, your experience will be enhanced if you employ a qualified Orkney tourist guide.
Orkney guides come from a wide range of professional backgrounds and have equally varied interests and specialist knowledge, ranging from archaeology, family history, flora and fauna, military history, farming, fishing, folklore, food and drink … the list is pretty much endless! Once accepted for training as an Orkney guide they all follow an intensive course including both lectures and personal study followed by an examination which they must pass, before they proceed to learning practical guiding skills (including vital knowledge like knowing the location of all of Orkney's public toilets!).
The Orkney green badge course includes lectures and personal study under the following main headings:
The Archaeology of Orkney: Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age Orkney; the Vikings and Norse Earldom.
Orkney History: Medieval/Renaissance Orkney; the Scottish Earls; Modern History; Military History; wartime Orkney and Scapa Flow.
Orkney's Economy: Agriculture; Fishing; Tourism; Oil and Renewables; Crafts; Food and Drink.
Orkney Today: Local Government; Living in Orkney (education, health, other local issues).
Orkney Natural History: Weather and Climate; Geology; Flora, Birds and Other Fauna
Orkney Culture and Traditions: Art and Architecture; Folklore; Language, place names and dialect; festivals.
As you can see, by the time they finish the course your Orkney guide will be able to answer most of your questions, and if they don’t know the answer then they'll find out for you!