Orkney/Arcaibh is made up of some seventy islands about ten miles north of Caithness in northeast Scotland. Mainland, one of twenty inhabited islands, is the largest and Kirkwall the Orkney capital is located there. The islands have been inhabited for at least eight and a half thousand years and were occupied by the Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age), Neolithic (New Stone Age) and then Pict tribes. The Picts were thought to have spoken a Brythonic language, one of the two inter Celtic language families. The Picts later merged in with the Gaels, who spoke the other inter Celtic language Goidelic whose language and culture would eventually become dominant in the Pictish area. In 875 AD Orkney came under Norse rule and was subsequently annexed to the Scottish Crown in 1472. Under Norse rule Orkney and Shetland were known as the Northern Isles (Nordreyjar) as distinct from the Southern Isles (Sordreyjar) which comprised the Hebrides, the islands of the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Man.
Orkney is noted for having some of the best preserved and oldest Neolithic sites in Europe. A group of such monuments on the Mainland island is known as the 'The Heart of Neolithic Orkney' and the four sites form a Unesco World Heritage Site. Transceltic begins it's trail in Kirkwall on the Mainland and the island itself.