""Orkney, insular co. of Scotland, separated from Caithness by the
Pentland Firth (6½ to 8 miles broad); area, 240,476 ac., pop. 32,044; pop.
of Pomona, or Mainland, 17,165. The Orkneys comprise 67 islands, 28 of which
are inhabited, besides a large number of rocky islets or skerries. They
are divided into 3 groups - the South Isles, comprising the large islands
of Hoy, South Ronaldshay, and many smaller ones; Pomona, or Mainland, the
largest island of the Orkneys; and the North Isles, comprising Rousay, Shapinshay,
Westray, Papa Westray, Eday, Stronsay, Sanday, and North Ronaldshay. Except
on the S. and W. sides, where the cliffs are bold and precipitous, the coasts
of the islands are extremely irregular, abounding in bays and headlands.
The surface - most elevated in Hoy, which is hilly - is generally low, and
much interspersed with rocks, swamps, and lochs. The climate, prevailingly
moist, is mild and equable for the latitude. The soil mostly consists of
peat or moss, but is either sandy or of a good loam where the land is arable.
The farms are usually of small size; oats, barley, and turnips are grown.
Live stock, poultry, and eggs are largely exported." from John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British
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