Walk Orkney

Experience the beautiful and charismatic Orkney archipelago. A place steeped in folklore and history, and perfect to explore on foot. Enjoy stunning clifftop walks with uninterrupted views, alongside visits to world-famous historical sites like the Ring of Brodgar and 5000-year old Skara Brae; without doubt the finest Stone Age village in Europe

The unhurried pace of life on Orkney is highly seductive, and in our eyes, walking is by far the best way to experience the islands natural beauty. Our exploration of the islands will take us on a beautiful coastal walk from Stromness to the Stone Age village of Skara Brae. On the island of Hoy, the wildest and highest of the islands, we walk to view the famous sea-stack 'Old Man of Hoy'. On the island of Westray, we follow the dramatic west coast to visit the lonely lighthouse of Noup Head. On Rousay we will see Midhowe Iron Age Broch and cross the wild moors to climb Blochnie Hill - the island's highest hill.

Orkney hosts, in addition to the stunning views and world-famous historical sites, an incredible array of wildflowers and birdlife, including puffins and short-eared owls. The abundance of seascapes also affords the chance to see otters, seals and dolphins, and on land, you may spot the Orkney vole or mountain hare. Most of the walking is along grassy footpaths above the sea with occasional descents to wide, sweeping beaches.

Highlights

  • Experience fabulous coastal walking
  • Explore the islands of Westray, Hoy and Rousay
  • Visit Iron Age villages and Neolithic sites including Skara Brae
  • Enjoy the unhurried pace of life and the welcoming nature of the Orcadians

At a Glance

From £1,250 per person
Single room: a limited number of single rooms are available from £120

Grade
Moderate +
AccommodationSingle centre. 6 nights comfortable 3* hotel
Duration7 Days
LocationNorthern Isles
StartInverness Station @ 14.30
FinishInverness Station @ 15.30
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Route Map


View Orkney Odessey in a larger map

Book your Trip

At a Glance

From £1,250 per person
Single room: a limited number of single rooms are available from £120

Grade
Moderate +
AccommodationSingle centre. 6 nights comfortable 3* hotel
Duration7 Days
LocationNorthern Isles
StartInverness Station @ 14.30
FinishInverness Station @ 15.30

Walk Orkney

7 days | AVAILABLE | Ref: OO0121

15 May 2021 · £1250

BOOK NOW

Walk Orkney

7 days | AVAILABLE | Ref: OO0221

03 July 2021 · £1250

BOOK NOW


Itinerary

The itinerary for each day’s walk is given below however; alternative walks may be undertaken depending upon the weather and group fitness.  On such a day, the leader will carefully choose an alternative guided by the group interest.

Day 1 – Travel to Orkney

Meeting in Inverness Rail Station at 14.30. Drive along the Northeast coast of the Highlands to Scrabster where our ferry sails across the Pentland Firth to Stromness, transfer to hotel in Kirkwall.

ACCOMMODATION: Hotel in Kirkwall
MEALS PROVIDED: No meals (basic meals are available on the ferry)


Day 2 – Deerness (Mainland)

The peninsula of Deerness is the easternmost part of the Mainland. Our walk brings us to the Brough of Deerness – a Viking Age settlement of top of a sea stack – and The Gloup, an impressive collapsed sea cave that produces strange gurgling noises! From here we follow the coastline around Mull Head to the Convenanters’ Memorial, which commemorates 200 prisoners who perished off the coast in 1679. After our walk, we visit the beautiful Italian Chapel. The Chapel was built by Italian prisoners of war, who helpt constructing the famous Churchill Barriers during Word War II. Afterwards in Kirkwall, you have time to visit the beautiful St Magnus Cathedral and Tankerness House, home of the Orkney Museum.

DISTANCE: 9km
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel in Kirkwall
MEALS PROVIDED: Breakfast, Dinner


Day 3 – Isle of Westray

Today we take the ferry to Westray in the far northwest, a fantastic voyage out along the old Viking sea route called the Swan’s Path. We start our exploration with a short walk to the Castle of Burrian sea stack area, which is fantastic for viewing puffins between April and mid-August. We continue to the northwest of the island for our walk to the lighthouse of Noup Head, a place second only to St Kilda in numbers of breeding seabirds. From here we continue our walk south along the coast enjoying the lovely wildflowers and stunning the clifftop views. On our way back to the ferry we visit the ruins of Noltland Castle, built around 1560 for Mary Queen of Scots.

DISTANCE: 11km
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel in Kirkwall
MEALS PROVIDED: Breakfast, Dinner


Day 4 – West Mainland & Skara Brae

We start the day with a long, but easy and enjoyable walk northwards from Stromness, following the coast and passing the sea stacks of Yesnaby fort and North Gaulton castle. Along the way, we might see the Primula Scotia (Scottish Primrose), Orkney’s most famous flowering plant. Our walk finishes at the site of 5000-year-old Skara Brae, one of the best-preserved Neolithic villages in Europe. On our way back to our base in Kirkwall, we visit the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness. Together with Skara Brae and the burial tomb of Maes Howe, they form the Heart of Neolithic Orkney UNESCO World Heritage site.

DISTANCE: 14km
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel Kirkwall
MEALS PROVIDED: Breakfast, Dinner


Day 5 – Isle of Hoy

The island of Hoy is the most dramatic of the Orkney’s islands with mountainous land rising to 1570 feet. Our walk takes in dramatic views of the 450’ high sea-stack, the Old Man of Hoy. From here we have several excellent walking options northwards or southwards, depending on group fitness and interest.

DISTANCE: 13km / 300 metres ascent
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel in Kirkwall
MEALS PROVIDED: Breakfast, Dinner


Day 6 – Isle of Rousay

Today is a day of historical highlights. We start with the short ferry ride to Rousay, also known as “The Egypt of the North” due to its many archaeological monuments. In an area considered of real importance in relation to the history of Scotland, we visit the large Midhowe neolithic chambered cairn and Midhowe Iron age Broch Tower. We also stretch our legs by climbing Knitchen Hill and Blochnie Hill; with 275 the highest point on the island and enjoy the fabulous sea views.

DISTANCE
: 10km / 275 metres ascent
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel in Kirkwall
MEALS PROVIDED: Breakfast, Dinner


Day 7 – Travel back to Inverness

Transfer from Kirkwall to Stromness ferry terminal (11 am departure). From Scrabster, we will drive south to Inverness. Arrival time approx.15.30. If you fly back from Kirkwall you will have to make your own way – by taxi or bus – to the airport.

MEALS PROVIDED: Breakfast


What's Included

Included:

  • 6 nights bed and breakfast in comfortable hotel
  • 5 x dinner
  • Guiding services of qualified and experienced NWF leader
  • Transfers from/back to Inverness
  • Ferry ticket to/from Orkney
  • Day trips to the islands of Hoy, Westray & Rousay
  • Entree to Skara Brae

Excluded:

  • Travel to Inverness
  • (Packed) lunches
  • Travel insurance
  • Miscellaneous expenses like drinks, entrance fees etc

Accommodation

Please find below details of our prefered accommodation for this holiday.

Orkney Hotel

During the trip we stay at the comfortable 3* Orkney Hotel. You can be sure of traditional Orcadian hospitality in the heart of the ancient royal burgh of Kirkwall. Dating back to 1670, the hotel has been sympathetically renovated, retaining many of its original features and its charm.