Day 1: Arrival in Orkney
Upon arrival in Orkney you will make your way to Stromness for your first nights accommodation. The town is a traditional stone built port that nestles beneath the granite ridge of Brinkie’s Brae and is sheltered by the islands of Outer and Inner Holm. Built up on a history of whaling and trading it is a labyrinth of steep winding paths and well worth exploring. Stromness Museum has an excellent Victorian natural history gallery and should not be missed.
Day 2: Walking on the Isle of Hoy - The Old Man of Hoy - 14.5 miles (or 6 miles from/to Rackwick)
Following the short ferry crossing the walk crosses heather moorland, home to birds such as red grouse, hen harrier and short eared owl. The trail also passes the most northerly native wood in Britain. The ’Old Man of Hoy’ is an awesome delight, and the surrounding cliffs are filled with nesting seabirds including puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes. You may reduce the overall distance by utilising the Hoy Hopper Bus Service at the ferry port of Moness to and from the village of Rackwick where you may join the 6 mile trail to the Old Man of Hoy. Following the walk the ferry will return you to Stromness
Day 3: Walk from Skara Brae to Stromness - 16.3 miles
A morning transfer to takes you the best preserved Neolithic site on Northern Europe, Skara Brae . Having risen from sand dunes in 1850 the preservation of the village is incredible and you may still see stone furniture. Following exploration the walk takes you around wild coastline passing magnificent sea stacks. You may find the rare Scottish primrose though more obvious wildlife takes the form of seals hauled out onto the rocks. If the distance involved is too long you may stop walking at Yesnaby 3 miles south of Skara Brae and retrace your steps back to Skara Brae. You will be able to book a taxi to take you back to Stromness.
Day 4: Walk from Stenness to the Ring of Brodgar - 6.2 miles
A morning transfer takes to the village of Stenness, your starting point for a walk to the Ring of Brogdar, the largest stone circle in Britain. At the start of the walk you will see the huge 5000 year old Stenness Standing Stones before walking out along the causeway between Loch of Harry and Loch of Stenness. The Ring of Brodgar is beautifully situated between the lochs and at more than 100m across is an impressive site to behold. The walk returns by the same route allowing you to enjoy the many water birds that visit. A transfer from Stenness will take you to Kirkwall, the capital of Orkney
Day 5: Guided Tour of the Island of Westray
An early start is the order of the day with a morning ferry from Kirkwall to the Island of Westray. On the crossing you may well be rewarded with sightings of porpoise and seals along with the ubiquitous fishing gulls and terns. Upon arrival you will collected for a guided tour of the island taking in the history and heritage. Noup head is a real highlight with its huge seabird colonies that include auks, fulmar, shag and skuas. The ferry returns you to Kirkwall for your final night on Orkney.
The tour is operated by local resident experts who will take you around the island to experience the sights, sounds and solitude of this 'Queen of the Orkney Isles'
Day 6: Onward Travel
After breakfast the trip is complete though should you have the time it is recommended that you explore the delights of this delightful port with it’s rich Viking history.
One of the highlights of this walking holiday is the high standard of the accommodation. We use hand-picked 3 and 4 star properties to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We do recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially in high season. You will find descriptions, photos and weblinks to a selection of the accommodation below.
This independent walking holiday is available to solo walkers but as all our holidays are priced per person based on two sharing there is a single supplement payable to cover the additional costs we incur. If you require single rooms within your party we will of course try to accommodate your request subject to availability.
Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival, alternatively your guidebook also includes details of local shops and convenient lunch stops on the way. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or nearby pubs and restaurants and your info pack will of course have recommendations.
Your bags will be collected from your accommodation in Stromness after your third night and moved onto your overnight accommodation in Kirkwall for the last two nights. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 15kg per person.
Many of our clients choose to add extra nights and these can be added at the time of booking. Kirkwall is a great place to have an extra night at the end of your walk.
Stromness Hotel - Stromness
The Stromness Hotel is in the very heart of Stromness. Established in 1901 this historic hotel offers very comfortable accommodation and they stock over 100 malt whiskies!
Hildeval B&B - Kirkwall
This new and well reviewed traditional B&B affords stunning views of Kirkwall Bay and Orkney's North Isles. They owners will look after you well and make sure you have a comfortable and relaxing stay.
Getting to and from Orkney
The Airline Loganair and it’s partner Flybe operate direct flights to Kirkwall from the UK airports of Glasgow (1hr 15m), Edinburgh (1hr 15m), Aberdeen (50m), Inverness (45m) . There are excellent services from many UK and International airports to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
The Northlink ferry company operates services between Aberdeen and Kirkwall (6hrs)and between Scrabster and Stromness (1.5hrs). The Pentland ferry company operates a service between Gill’s Bay in Caithness to St Margaret’s Hope on South Ronaldsay (1hr).
Travel to and from Departure points
Glasgow and Edinburgh are served by an excellent motorway network. Long term parking is generally available in the city centres/airports. From both cities there are a good road connections to all ferry ports. For directions and journey planner visit the Multimap weblink.
Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are served by several operators from throughout Britain. It is important to book as far in advance as possible to get the best fares. For information on all routes contact National Rail Enquiries .
Services from UK destinations are operated by National Express .
Services from Scottish destinations are operated by Scottish Citylink .
In order to plan all journeys correctly via public transport we suggest that you utilise the Traveline Scotland website.
Inter Island Travel
The Airline Loganair operates regular services between the Orkney Islands.
Orkney Ferries operates services between the Islands though it is important to note days of operation.
Public Transport on Orkney
Bus services are operated by Stagecoach Orkney .
Planning a trip on the Orkney Walking and Wildlife tour can be daunting, especially if this is your first long distance walking holiday. We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful.
How fit do I need to be?
The Orkney Walking and Wildlife itinerary is classed as moderate walking so if you are a regular walker or lead and active lifestyle you'll enjoy the walk. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardio vascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme.
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Orkney Walking and Wildlife trip is very popular especially over April/May and July/August. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. Do not forget binoculars! You can download a full equipment list from the downloads page of our website.
When is the best time of year?
Traditionally April/May has always been the most popular time of year because the theory goes that the weather is better. Although I believe any time between April and October offers a wonderful experience. Be aware that certain distilleries may be closed at weekends especially early or late in the season. We suggest that for any specific distillery visits you research beforehand to avoid disappointment.
Which direction should I walk?
We recommend you walk the routes in the way we have described them.The guidebooks are written in this direction and this is also our personal preference.
Am I able to take my dog?
Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.
What happens if I can’t walk a stage?
You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.
The Orkney Walking and Wildlife holiday is available from April to October. You can start your holiday on any date in the season. To make a provisional reservation select "Book" for the itinerary you are interested in.
Option prices will be displayed as part of the booking process.
Because every Orkney Walking and Wildlife holiday we book is unique availability changes from day to day and our booking process works as follows:
- You provisionally book the tour you are interested in for your preferred dates and pay a 20% deposit online or by phone.
- We confirm availability and book all your accommodation and options and send final confirmation as soon as everything is confirmed (max 5 working days).
- If we are unable to accommodate you on your confirmed dates/tour or an alternative of your choice your deposit is fully refunded.
||Orkney Walking and Wildlife
||6 Days & 5 Nights
- Hand-picked accommodation in B&B’s and small Hotels, in en-suite rooms wherever possible
- Door to door baggage transfer between Stromness and Kirkwall as per itinerary.
- Taxi Transfers as detailed in your itinerary.
- Guided tour of Westray where local resident experts will take you to experience the history, culture and wildlife of this beautiful island.
- A detailed information pack for the group leader including guidebook, local information, detailed travel information and a recommended kit list.
- Transfers as per itinerary:
Day 3: Stromness to Skara Brae.
Day 4: Stromness to Stenness.
Day 4: Stenness to Kirkwall.
- Emergency support from our offices in the event of a problem.
- Travel to the start or from the finish of the trip.
- Lunches, dinners, snacks or drinks.
- Travel Insurance.
- Personal Equipment.
- All ferry and air travel.
- Entrance fees to specific sites and attractions.
- Taxi transfers (apart from transfers as above) or public transport should you need to skip a stage.