Wilderness Hiking in the Orkney Islands
Join us on a stunning and unforgettable journey to the Orkney Isles, a little-visited archipelago of some 70 small islands and skerries due north of the Scottish mainland. This mysterious place of long days and colourful night skies is home to a wealth of sea life and sea birds, not forgetting the remarkable flora of the islands. The unique situation and environment of the Isles have combined to create a fascinating cultural and historical tapestry of stone circles, countless invasions and occupations, isolation and extremity, all of which have left their mark through the ages.
Day 1: Inverness and arrival to the Orkney Islands
This morning you meet your group in Inverness and travel by ferry to the Orkney Islands. The journey to the Orkneys follows the north-east coast of the Highlands and onwards over the Pentland Firth. Your accommodation is situated nearby the major archaeological sites which add to the intrigue of these islands. (D)
Day 2: Rousay and the Mid Howe Broch
Drive to the Eynhallow Sound and take a local ferry to the island of Rousay where you will enjoy two short hikes - the Westness Walk to the Mid Howe broch and a superb moorland walk around Faraclett Head. (8 km, 4 hrs) (B,L,D)
Day 3: The Gloup and Mull Head
The hike starts at The Gloup, a partially collapsed sea cave from where you head north along the coast to Mull Head. Before returning to Kirkwall visit the Italian Chapel, two Nissen huts converted into a place of worship by prisoners of war. (9 km, 4 hrs) (B,L,D)
Day 4: The Old Man of Hoy, Scapa Flow & Rackwick Bay
A short drive along the edge of Scapa Flow takes you to Houton where you catch the ferry to the island of Hoy. Here, hike to the famous Old Man of Hoy and some of Britain's highest seacliffs before returning to Rackwick Bay. (10 km, 5 hrs) (B,L,D)
Day 5: Stromness, Ring of Brodgar and the Sand of Warebeth
Today follow a coastal path from Stromness to The Ness before heading west for the Sand of Warebeth. Afterwards possible visits to the Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe. (12 km, 5 hrs) (B,L,D)
Day 6: Brough Head to Marwick Head, Scara Brae
From Brough Head, a superb hike follows the coast south to Marwick Head - one of the largest seabird colonies in the Northern Isles. Afterwards you visit the Stone Age village of Skara Brae, discovered in 1850 after a storm cleared away the sand dunes that were covering it. (12 km, 5 hrs) (B,L,D)
Day 7: Return to Inverness
After breakfast, you return by ferry to the mainland and Inverness, via the rugged coastal scenery of the Northern tip of Scotland. (B, L)
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are physically fit enough to join our hiking holidays. Please note, however, that you can have an optional rest day at any time. If you have any questions regarding your suitability for any of our hiking holidays, please contact our office and speak to one of our team who can offer advice.
Our "Easy" hiking holidays involve straightforward hiking, following generally good trails with no major ascents. You will, however, be out hiking for around 5 hours each day so you will need a reasonable level of fitness.
The hikes will be conducted at a leisurely pace in order to allow more time for photography, nature study and looking historical features. The underfoot terrain will usually be on paths or hill trails. However, these trails may still be muddy, or a bit rough in places, so you will need good hiking boots.
Woodwick House is a warm, welcoming and comfortable historic Country House overlooking the island of Gairsay. Nearby the major historic sites, bird reserves and beaches, Woodwick is set in twelve acres of woodland. Local artists display their work in the dining area and the restaurant is particularly renowned for local produce and seafoods, organic where possible. Naturally, any special dietary requirements can be catered for and the restaurant is fully licensed offering a selection of Orkney malts and ales. Accommodation may be substituted.