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Potential relocation to Orkney

(15 Posts)
KKKKaty Wed 06-Jul-11 13:29:12

We're currently discussing the possibility of DH applying for a job in Orkney. I am a SAHM and we have two DS, a toddler and a new baby. I am a London girl originally but we've lived for the past few years in a medium sized northern city, which I love. I can see that there would be many advantages to living in Orkney (fresh air, low crime, great schools etc). However I'm concerned that I would go stir-crazy living somewhere so isolated and with such a small population. Is anyone familiar with Orkney? Is it somewhere where you would want to live? Would my boys grow up to be "country bumpkins" living there? Is there plenty to do if you're not a very outdoorsy type, like me? Any advice greatly appreciated.

lachesis Wed 06-Jul-11 13:30:44

I would go crazy.

Also, it's very very expensive there because of the cost of transporting everything.

mumblechum1 Wed 06-Jul-11 13:36:15

Put it this way; my dh once met a 25 yr old man from Orkney on a train from Scotland to London. He was amazed to see black people on the train as he'd never seen one before.

He had also never been on a train before and was panicking about missing his stop (Euston).

Bless his cotton socks.

DHwonTheDadsRace Wed 06-Jul-11 13:37:32

Have been to Orkney, but am more familiar with Western Isles, so similar issues (as in my family are from WI). You may go stir-crazy, but if so, well you can always move again, no? I'd go for it! If you're somewhere like Kirkwall or Stromness, they're lovely little towns, not so stir-crazyable.

Boys - no, not country bumpkins. But they'll probably have a very rich education. In WI, they get lots of extra input in case they are "deprived", so there's a lot of trips/exchanges/visitors. Schools are really excellent there. Can't imagine it's much different in Orkney?

My cousin in WI is one of the least outdoorsy people I know, and she is very busy. Depends what you like to do! There's a smaller pool of people to find like-people, but then again, it means you widen your horizons that way too.

One of my midwives went off to live there, and completely loves it. But she came from rural life, so some similarities anyway.

Should mention though, that while many aspects of cost of living are much lower, the cost of fuel is higher than the mainland, and you may use more, unless you live in town, and mail order postal charges are way way ridiculous!!!

I'd be off like a shot to be honest....

OhBuggerandArse Wed 06-Jul-11 13:39:25

As I said on your other thread (why two?):

To be honest, that kind of attitude to a place and its people will piss them off, and is just the kind of thing that a) gives incomers a bad name and b) will mean you won't be able to engage enough with the place to settle well. Perhaps if you try being a bit more humble and open minded you'd stand a chance of appreciating what a privilege it would be to have an opportunity like that; after that you'd be in a better position to make a genuine choice about whether or not it would be something you could consider.

KKKKaty Wed 06-Jul-11 14:09:17

My attitude to the small population is not the people themselves but the lack of multiculturalism and diversity of facilities that go hand in hand with a small population. I'm sure the people who live there are just as well-educated and cultured as you might find in other places but without a certain critical mass of people you are just not going to get the range of facilities and events you would elsewhere, thereby limiting exposure to such things for my sons. If this isn't the case, let me know, as this is the kind of thing I'm enquiring about.

LisMcA Wed 06-Jul-11 14:12:03

I know a few Orkadians, and none of them are bumkins! borderline alcoholics, yes, but not bumkins!!! grin

I think it would be a lovely place to bring up your children, granted there may not be the same ameneties that you are used to where you are now, but everyone there is in the same boat. Community-ness, not a real word I know, will probably be very strong and as long as you are open minded and try to make sure you become part of that community you shouldn't have any problems.

OhBuggerandArse did you read a different OP to me, because I can't see any kind of attitude at all. Unless you mean the bumkin comment, which is obviously meant in jest.

lachesis Wed 06-Jul-11 14:20:11

There are loads of people from SE England there.

It's just that it's very far from anything (except Norway).

To get anything, too, because you're not on teh mainland UK.

Fun to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there or bring up children there. They have big problems with alcoholism and drugs.

mumblechum1 Wed 06-Jul-11 14:29:38

And very very cold.

LisMcA Wed 06-Jul-11 14:36:30

I don't think the drug and alcohol problems are any worse than any other area of the UK. Unless you have evidence to back that up I certainly wouldn't make that the main reason for not going there.

Out of sheer nosiness, what does your DH do? If it were my DH I would let him apply, go for a visit to the islands and then make the decision to move if he is sucessful in his application.

countrybumpkinislandgirl Wed 06-Jul-11 14:41:10

I've namechanged for this as I don't want to out myself.

I'm from one of the other Scottish Islands. Similar population. I lived on the mainland (city) for years and have now been back for a while, having longed to come back for years. Have primary school aged kids. My situation is slightly different I guess as we have family here and this place is as much a part of me as my family. It's in my blood. I truly do mean that. I feel like it's part of my DNA. Much as I like where I lived before I know I would never have felt that it was home.

In terms of practicalities - fuel is expensive but you won't ever be stuck in traffic so we actually spend less time in the car over all.

Food - Tesco's may be taking over the world but their prices are the same in all stores.

Property - depends where you live now but I would be very surprised if you find it to be anything but cheaper / better value. Council tax here is low - not sure about Orkney.

Internet shopping has come on in leaps and bound in recent years. There are some that charge extra or won't deliver here, there are many that don't. I use Next, ELC, John Lewis, M&S, Debenhams, Tesco and Asda regularly. I only use online shops that offer free or cheap delivery and don't find it a problem.

Activities - Things have moved on so much since I was a kid. Having been to Orkney I don't think it will be any different - swimming, gymnastics, horse riding, judo, karate, dancing, music lessons, football all kids activities that are readily available. Not to mention space to run about, beaches etc...
Fresh air and beautiful surroundings.

Very little crime - my car sits in my driveway with the keys in the ignition all the time.

For nights out there are pubs and restaurants.

I would advise anyone to get involved in local activities. Gala / fun days, ceilidhs etc. All take organisation. Help is always appreciated and it's a great way to get to know people.

Respect locals and their way of life and traditions and you'll receive a warm welcome.

Oh, and their is no such thing as bad weather - only inappropriate clothing wink

countrybumpkinislandgirl Wed 06-Jul-11 14:47:33

Oh and no, there are not big problems with alcohol and drugs.

And Orkney is a short hop across the Pentland Firth.

It is not very very cold. It is actually a fairly mild climate due to the gulf stream. You will find it wetter and windier but it's not particularly cold in winter though it is cool in summer.

KKKKaty Wed 06-Jul-11 17:15:05

Unfortunately he works in an area of the medical profession where declining the offer of a job which you have applied for is really not done. So we'd have to decide before he applied, really. Thank you everyone so far for your help. I must admit I'm inclined to think that it wouldn't be for me, I'm far too used to busier areas and having everything on tap, but I wanted some facts before I start to argue against with DH!

MoreBeta Wed 06-Jul-11 17:23:17

We nearly moved to Guernsey a few years ago and one that has always stuck in my mind is what a Guernsey woman (born and bred) said.

"You have to get off the island occassionally or you will go mad!"

As lovely as it was, we had a definite plan to get away from the island to give ourselves and our children a different cultural experience. Having lived in a remote rural area as a child I know how isolated I felt and actually enjoyed being sent away to boarding school. You might need to think of that option for your children too.

soolin344 Sat 23-Jul-11 14:04:57

Don't think Orkney would suit you to be quite honest - you don't seem the right typr

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