Pentland Ferries


Pentland Ferries sail between Gills Bay and St Margarets Hope. Use the search facility below to find the best fares on Pentland Ferries and book securely online.

Pentland Ferries Routes

Pentland Ferries Overview

The crossing from Pentland Firth to Orkney on Pentland Ferries Ltd. takes about one hour through the Firth and into the Orkney Archipelago. This is the fastest, shortest sea route to Orkney—and you can take your car with you!

The currents and winds running through Pentland Firth cause eddies and whirlpools. One located north of Stroma is known as the Swelkie whirlpool. According to Viking legend, it was caused by a sea witch turning mill wheels grinding salt to keep the sea salty. Passengers can also view a variety of local wildlife during their crossing. These include seals, porpoises, killer and Minke whales. From May to August sometimes huge basking sharks may also appear. The uninhabited island of Swona is home to feral cattle that have become a separate breed since they were left there in 1974. Huge numbers of seabirds inhabit the cliffs around the islands. Fulmars, great skua, guillemots, gannets, puffins and razor bills are only a few that may be sighted.

Pentland Ferries provides the fastest crossing time to Orkney for both passengers and cars. Their route, between Gill’s Bay at Caithness and St. Margaret’s Hope, South Ronaldsay in Orkney, is the most sheltered crossing. This makes their service especially appealing to travellers who are uncomfortable travelling by sea.

This family owned and run business belonging to Andrew and Susan Banks, was begun in 2001. Their current ships are new catamarans built specifically for their service routes: MV Pentalina which carries the Pentland Firth route. The catamaran provides greater capacity and reduces crossing time between St. Margaret’s Hope and Gill’s Bay. The Pentalina was introduced in 2007 to bring the fleet into the 21st century. In Cebu, Philippines the work progressed throughout the year. It made the journey from the Philippines to Orkney arriving in St. Margaret’s Hope. For the next two months the MV Pentalina underwent its final fitting out and then took over the route from the MV Claymore.

There are excellent reasons for travellers to choose Pentland Ferries Ltd. services. They provide safe, fast, frequent, more convenient, less expensive, comfortable, reliable, and environmentally friendly ferries. The MV Pentalina consumes only 26% of the fuel per crossing compared to other ferry services between Scrabster and Stromness. This catamaran produces only 1/3 the CO2 emissions per car-space compared with other ships. The Pentland Ferries additionally connect to shore-side electricity during overnight stops rather than continuing to use diesel. This Pentland catamaran already meets the targeted 80% reduction in CO2 that Scotland’s Government requires by 2050.

The convenience of Pentland Ferries Ltd. booking procedures makes them the easiest choice. Travellers can book and pay prior to boarding or board the ship and then purchase passage. They don’t require photo IDs either. The scheduled sailings from Orkney begin at 0800 and the last sailing from Gill’s Bay to Orkney is at 1930 which gives passengers an extra ½ hour—over other services—to arrive at the terminal for their trip.

Pentland Ferries cost less than comparable rides. Passengers travel for 20% less and price per car is 40% less than other carriers. This is true even though Pentland Ferries Ltd. receives no government subsidy for their Stromness-Scrabster service.

The route from Gill’s Bay to St. Margaret’s Hope traverses only 15 miles. Only half of the one hour voyage is on the choppier Pentland Firth with the remainder being within the sheltered, scenic Scapa Flow. Individuals who suffer from sea-sickness are much less likely to have this problem due to the short time in open sea.

Travellers who chose Pentland Ferries Ltd. for their crossing have a variety of reasons to be happy with their choice.