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Orkney Walking and Wildlife

6 Days & 5 Nights 4.6 Read 16 reviews
  • Listen to the cacophony of sea birds on the western cliffs
  • Step back in time and follow in the footsteps of Neolithic man at Skara Brae
  • Look out for seals, porpoise and orcas rolling in the deep turbulent waters
  • Marvel at the rugged rocky architecture of the spectacular Old Man of Hoy
  • Hike through a land rich in Viking history and Orcadian hospitality
Hike to ancient stone age sites and cross the turbulent waters between the islands of Hoy and Westray, home to orcas, seals and ship wrecks. Walk to the 140 m sea stack, the Old Man of Hoy, where the cliffs throng with seabirds. Trails lined with rare wild flowers lead you through a land of Neolithic architecture and Viking heritage. Combine walking and wildlife watching with a 5 night stay on the far flung isle of Orkney. Explore the ancient sites of Skara Brae, and Maes Howe and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Ring of Brodgar and the nearby Stenness standing stones at 6m tall. Although these man-made structures impress they are perhaps nothing compared to the towering 140 m sea stack of the Old Man of Hoy. Spend 3 nights in the harbour town of Stromness followed by 2 nights in Kirkwall from where you’ll enjoy a guided wildlife and history tour of the nearby Isle of Westray.
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What To Expect

With an abundance of wildlife in an area soaked in history this holiday on Orkney makes for a wonderful adventure this holiday is perfect for both historians and nature-lovers. Including three varied walks (with transfers) and a guided tour of the Isle of Westray the trip is graded as moderate but the trip can be tailored to allow more flexibility.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.


Multi Centre Walking | You will spend multiple nights in one or more of the locations on this walking holiday

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travellers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wildlife
  • Historical Journeys
  • Coastal & Island


  • Classic


This route is largely not waymarked so you should be able to read a map and follow route descriptions closely. We supply detailed maps, route notes and GPS tracks via our Macs Adventure smartphone app so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way. The trip is graded moderate with the exception of the Ring of Brodgar to Stenness walk which is an easy going route at only 7.5 km / 4.5 miles.

Experience & Fitness

As all the walks are self-guided you will be responsible for navigation, decision–making and safety during your trip. The walks are graded between easy to moderate—they are not strenuous and although there may be some uphill and steeper sections, these are not particularly challenging. This trip is graded Moderate. The routes follow footpaths, bridleways, coastal trails, cliff top walks, open fields and some minor roads. And may involve some relatively steep ascent and descents. The longest day is 23.5 km / 14.5 miles in length.

Accommodation Information

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.

Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

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.

Additional Nights

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.

  • 5 Nights in hand-picked accommodation
  • 5 Breakfasts
  • Guided tour of the Isle of Westray
  • Baggage transfer and taxis (as per itinerary on days 3 and 4)
  • Information pack
  • Access to route notes, detailed maps, and GPS tracks in the Macs Adventure smartphone navigation app
  • 24/7 Emergency telephone support from our office
  • Travel to / from Orkney
  • Lunches, dinners, drinks & snacks
  • Return ferries, paid locally, to Hoy (day 2) or Westray (day 5)
  • Entrance fees to specific sites and attractions
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Additional nights along the route

When To Go

This walking holiday is best enjoyed between early April and mid October. Orkney can be popular during the summer months, so we advise you book as far in advance as you can. Orkney has a cool temperate climate and being an island in the far north experiences changeable weather from sunshine to windy days and rain.

Getting to the Start

Getting to/from Orkney

Loganair operates direct flights to Kirkwall from Glasgow (1hr 15m), Edinburgh (1hr 15m), Aberdeen (50m), Inverness (45m), which all have good UK/International connections.

The Northlink ferry company operates services between Aberdeen and Kirkwall (6hrs) and between Scrabster and Stromness (1.5hrs).

Inter-Island Travel on Orkney

By Air:  Loganair operates regular services between the Orkney Islands.

By Ferry:  Northlink ferries operate services between the Islands though it is important to note days of operation.

By Bus: Bus services are operated by Stagecoach Orkney.

Baggage Transfer

Bag and taxi transfers are included on this trip on days 3 and 4 as per your itinerary. You won't need to carry more than a day bag on your walks. We ask you to limit your luggae to one bag of up to 20 kg per person.

General Information

The distances and ascent / descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and trousers), sunglasses, and sun screen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer.

Westray Guided Tour - Availability

We recommend you don't begin your holiday on a Wednesday or Friday as this will coincide with the Westray guided tour falling on a Sunday and a Tuesday respectively (unfortunately these dates aren't possible because of a limited ferry timetable). Please speak to our Destination & Adventure specialists if you have any questions about this.

Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.

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Day 1 Arrive Stromness on Orkney Day 2 Walking on the Isle of Hoy 14.5 miles / 23.5 km Day 3 Walk from Skara Brae to Stromness 12 miles / 19 km Day 4 Walk from the Ring of Brodgar to Stenness and transfer to Kirkwall 4.5 miles / 7.5 km Day 5 Guided Tour of the Island of Westray Day 6 Onward Travel

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