People in Orkney are “seriously” considering rejoining Norway, Oslo’s honorary consul on the islands has said.
The islands were settled by Vikings from Scandinavia in the 800s and were part of the Kingdom of Norway for centuries.
When Christian I of Denmark, Norway and Sweden sent his daughter to marry the King of Scots, he was unable to pay a dowry and instead gave Edinburgh control of Orkney and Shetland in 1472.
Although the islands are located a mere 16km north of the Scottish mainland, they still feel a strong connection to their neighbours to the east.
“Most obviously in Kirkwall, the capital where I am, we have a large red sandstone cathedral in the middle of the town which was built by the Viking earls who ruled Orkney in the 12th century,” honorary consul Leslie Burgher told Moncrieff.
“That is a tangible link but there’s other less tangible things that happen at different times of the year.
“We have an annual parade on Norwegian Constitution Day.”
Earlier this month, Orkney Council voted to explore "alternative forms of governance" - including whether to rejoin Norway.
Councillors complained that the islands have been "treated despicably" by the Scottish and British Governments and need more funding for local services.
Mr Burgher said people have always joked about leaving Scotland for Norway but this time it feels different.
“I’ve heard it occasionally over a dram or two of Orkney whisky at the end of a meal between the regions where one side or the other will say, ‘Why not?’
“But it’s very rarely I’ve heard it said seriously until the last few weeks.”
In the 2014 referendum on independence, Orcadians voted by a margin of 67% to 33% to remain in the United Kingdom - the largest margin in Scotland.
Main image: Houses on Orkney. Picture by: Alamy.com