Q. Can I contact you to book a guide?
A. Sorry, no. All of our guides are self-employed and we are not a booking agency - please contact the individual guides directly through their own pages. You may also contact all our guides with your tour enquiry.
Q. What information should I supply when contacting a guide?
A. Please supply as much information as possible - at least the date(s) of your tour, whether a half or full day or extended tour is required, the number in your party, and any special interests you may have.
Q. How much does a tour cost?
A. We do not set guiding fees and all of our guides are self-employed and have their own fees - please see our 'Bookings' page for illustrative tour prices
Q. Do I have to pay in advance and what happens if I cancel my tour?
A. Each guide has their own payment and cancellation policy. Most guides will require payment in advance and operate a sliding scale of cancellation fees. Fees and terms should be agreed with your guide on booking.
Q. I've come across someone calling themselves an 'Orkney tour guide' but they're not listed on your website - are they qualified?
A. Only someone who has completed the Orkney Regional Affiliate course of the Scottish Tourist Guides Association (STGA) and been awarded the Green Badge is a qualified Orkney Tourist Guide and entitled to describe themselves as such.
Yellow Badge Guides are qualified by the STGA to guide in Stromness, but are NOT qualified to guide elsewhere.
Blue Badge Guides, who hold the STGA qualification for the whole of Scotland, are qualified to guide in Orkney.
All current STGA members are listed on the STGA website and should also hold a current STGA membership card and are therefore covered by STGA public liability and professional indemnity insurance - you should ask to see it if you are in any doubt. There is no legal requirement in this country that a guide should be either trained, properly qualified or insured - hence there is nothing to stop anyone calling themselves a guide and offering tours of Orkney or anywhere else.
Q. Can I hire a vehicle whilst I'm in Orkney and have one of your guides drive it for me?
A. No - this is illegal. However you are welcome to drive yourself, whether in a hire car or your own vehicle, and take one of our guides as a 'step-on' guide. We do also have members who are driver-guides with their own appropriately insured and licensed vehicle.
Q. How can I tell if my driver-guide's vehicle has the necessary licences and insurance?
A. Our driver-guides hold either a private hire vehicle licence (red plate) or a taxi licence (yellow plate) for their tour vehicles (up to 8 seats), issued by the Orkney Islands Council, together with a personal taxi or private hire vehicle licence also issued by the OIC. To gain these licences the tour vehicle's roadworthiness and insurance status has been checked, whilst the driver has been checked for criminal convictions, identity and driving history. The current list of holders is available on the Orkney Islands Council website.
The red or yellow licence plates show the vehicle's registration number and the number of passengers it is licenced to carry, and should be affixed to the vehicle - if these are not present the vehicle is NOT licensed by Orkney Islands Council to carrying paying passengers. Should you be offered a tour in a vehicle not displaying the red or yellow licence plate we would suggest that you carefully question the driver of such a vehicle as to their bona fides.
For vehicles carrying above 8 passengers there should be a Public Services Vehicle operators licence affixed to the front windscreen at the left hand side issued by the Department of Transport - if this is not present the vehicle is not licensed, the driver and vehicle are uninsured and committing a criminal offence. The driver of such a vehicle should also hold a personal Public Services Vehicle Driver's Licence.