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Northern Isles

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The Northern Isles of Scotland.

The Northern Isles [1] are a chain of islands off the north coast of mainland Scotland.

The group includes Shetland, Fair Isle and Orkney. Sometimes Stroma is included, which is part of Caithness.

Culture and politics

The Northern Isles are usually separated for political purposes, but they come under the Orkney and Shetland parliamentary constituency in Westminster.

Due to their history, the islands have a Norse, rather than a Gaelic flavour, and have historic links with the Faroes, Iceland, and Norway.

Orkney and Shetland were given to Scotland as a deposit on the dowry of Margaret of Denmark when she married James III of Scotland in 1469.


  1. Old Norse: Norðreyjar; Scots Gaelic: Na h-Eileanan Tuath; Scots: Northren Isles