For World War history buffs among you, Scapa Flow is a well-known name. Before our visit to Orkney, Tested Travel was not versed in this really cool, historic site.
A natural, protected harbor, the sheltered waters of Scapa Flow have been used by ships since prehistory and it has played an important role in travel, trade, and conflict throughout the centuries – especially during both World Wars.
During World War I, Scapa Flow was developed as a critical defensive post in the North Sea. While at least two German U-boats tried to enter the area, extensive defensive works (mines, scuttled boats, and concrete works) made invasion impossible.
During the negotiations of the Treaty of Versailles, the German fleet was harbored at Scapa Flow. Concerned that German boats would fall into English hands before the treaty was settled, dozens of German ships were scuttled.
During World War II, a German U-47 penetrated Scapa Flow and sank the WWI–era battleship HMS Royal Oak anchored in Scapa Bay. Of the 1,400-man crew, 833 were lost. The wreck is now a protected war grave.
The wreckage of some of the remaining WWI ships has become a popular scuba diving site.
Visit the website for more information.