The page will be updated as and when new transport details becomes available 


Following the Ministerial announcement with regards to Orkney residents and essential travel only and now, today, the Prime Ministers, instruction to ‘stay at home’, it is crucial that the policy for the carriage of passengers on our internal ferry and air service matches the national need to minimise the amount of movement of people. To this end, Travel and Transport will be entirely focused on the need to protect and support the NHS and on the need to provide the logistics and emergency and repair activities to enable people to remain safe, sheltered, fed, healthy and, where required, supported and cared for. Restrictions on travel and transport and the associated timetable changes and those required to be at their normal place of work will be imposed shortly.

To this end, the policy for the carriage of people on our ferries and air services are to very firmly restrict it to:

Isles residents travelling to and from their isles place of residence.

• Daily travel should be discouraged unless the individual is a Key Worker (ferries; emergency services or ferry/pier staff).

• Travelling to stay or be with or to visit relatives is discouraged unless it is to provide care for them.

• Travel for shopping is discouraged as the on isles shop should be used – supplying such shops will be a priority.

Health and care workers travelling to the isles to provide urgent medical and care duties.

Essential repair workers for repair tasks crucial to the wellbeing, safety and shelter of residents.

• Examples are heating repairs, electrical safety and making IN USE dwellings weathertight

Essential repairs for public services including water, electricity, phone and internet provision and critical repairs to roads and essential/emergency vehicles.

Those involved in the production of food for immediate consumption.

Those involved in essential logistics for stocks about to run out (fuel; food; animal feed) and essential waste collection.

Vets on emergency call outs

Those travelling are to provide, when asked, for evidence of place of residence if an isles resident. For all others, letters of proof of tasks from their employers/company or evidence of the defect repair to be undertaken must be provided at the time of booking.

Travel will be refused for all other reasons including routine maintenance, construction, inspections, surveys, training, non critical repairs etc

Where Orkney Ferries rejects travel, customers should be assured that the decision has not been taken lightly and been taken with these guidelines firmly in mind. Orkney Ferries will not be held responsible for the consequences of any decision to refuse travel.

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.

In line with the Scottish Government’s latest announcement, and with effect from tomorrow (Wednesday 25th March) Pentland Ferries will operate a service for essential freight operators and key responders only. Lunch time sailings will be suspended.

This plan will be in force for the next three weeks, but will be reviewed on a weekly basis (in response to any Government changes).

The online booking system has now been closed until the end of April.  Any passengers booked to sail over the next three weeks (up to Tuesday 14 April) are being contacted directly.

Director of Pentland Ferries, Kathryn Scollie said: “We very much hope that the country will adhere to the lockdown and that we will be able to resume normal service as soon as possible.”

Travel by Pentland Ferries is currently restricted to the following:

Freight – food, fuel or animal feed suppliers only

Key Responders from the following list, however we will consider other organisations on a case-by-case basis:

  • Police Scotland
  • Scottish Fire and Rescue Service
  • Scottish Ambulance Service
  • NHS Staff
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • Scottish and Southern Energy
  • Scottish Water
  • British Telecom
  • TA Representative, 10 Troop, 71 Engineer Regiment (Volunteers)
  • Funeral Directors

Air Travel

Information to be added soon

Information to be added soon