Wet and windy Orkneys best place to live in Scotland?

Dec. 21, 2013 at 3:00 AM

KIRKWALL, Scotland, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- The Orkneys, 70 islands off the northern end of the Scottish mainland, have the best quality of life in the country, a survey says.

The even more remote Shetland Islands are in the No. 2 spot in the Halifax Bank's annual survey, the Scotsman reported Saturday. Scotland as a whole did not rank high, with the Orkneys trailing 49 places in England and Wales.

Hart, an affluent district in suburban Hampshire, was No. 1 in Britain for the third year in a row.

But Orcadians, as the islands' residents are known, are apparently content with their lot. They have a happiness index of 8.01, significantly higher than the British average of 7.3.

The survey also found the Orkneys rank high -- or at least higher than most of Scotland -- on health, life expectancy, employment and the crime rate. Even the weather is said to be better.

An estimated 21,000 Orcadians are scattered across the 20 inhabited islands. Kirkwall, the administrative center and largest town, is on the island of Mainland and has a population of fewer than 9,000.

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