Orkney tops UK rural quality of life survey
People living in Orkney enjoy the best quality of life of any rural area in the UK, according to a new survey.
As well as stunning scenery, researchers found that the islanders benefit from low crime rates, quiet roads - and a good choice of pubs.
It is the first time that the islands have topped the Bank of Scotland's rural quality of life survey, having jumped from 46th last year.
It beat Wychavon in the West Midlands into second place.
And it comes four months after the same islands were rated the second-best place to live in the UK.
Graham Blair, mortgage director at Bank of Scotland, said: "The Orkney islands is a stunning part of Scotland with some beautiful scenery.
"Pair this with one of the lowest population densities and traffic levels in Scotland, as well as the lowest levels of anxiety and highest life satisfaction ratings, and it's not surprising that the Orkneys offer a quality of life that is unmatched elsewhere in rural Britain.
"The Shetland Islands and Western Isles continue to dominate the Scottish rural quality of life top three for another year, ranking well in a lot of similar categories to Orkney.
"If it's a rural life you are after, then nothing beats being up north on one of Scotland's many islands."
Shetland was ranked second in Scotland for quality of life (15th in the UK), while the Western Isles was third (50th overall). The Scottish Borders and Perth and Kinross finished third and fourth respectively.
The quality of life survey rates locations based on a variety of factors, including its employment rate, quality of education, and levels of anxiety.
This year, two new categories have also been added to survey - rating the number of pubs and the availability of health clubs and leisure centres.
Among the benefits of living on Orkney, where the population stands at just over 20,000, it listed:
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