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Walking on Orkney

6 Days & 5 Nights 4.6 Read 16 reviews
  • Discover Orcadian hospitality and a land rich in history
  • Follow in the footsteps of Neolithic man at Skara Brae
  • Listen to the cacophony of sea birds while walking clifftop paths
  • Walk to the spectacular Old Man of Hoy sea stack
  • Visit one of Kirkwall's whisky distilleries for a dram
Located off the Scottish mainland's northerly tip the islands of Orkney are the perfect place to switch off from the everyday and tune into the landscape surrounding you. Immerse yourself in history, Orcadian culture and wildlife on this twin-centre walking holiday on the far flung islands of Orkney. From Stromness, on the Orcadian mainland, hop across to the neighbouring Isle of Hoy. Walk along coastal paths, where the cliffs below throng with seabirds, to be rewarded with unrivaled views of the 140m tall Old Man of Hoy sea stack. Visit the world-renowned, UNESCO sites of Neolithic Skara Brae, Ring of Brodgar and Maeshowe chambered cairn. Arrive in Kirkwall, where you'll spend your final 2 nights. This small town grew up around St Magnus Cathedral and is home to two whisky distilleries, Highland Park and Scapa. Bring your trip to a close with a small group tour of the Isle of Westray with a local expert guide. Discover the history of this little island and look out for curious seals bobbing in the surf.
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What To Expect

This walking holiday on Orkney is designed with variety in mind, allowing you the flexibility to discover this magical island on foot and at your own pace. Wander the island landscape peppered with Neolithic sites and mysterious standing stone circles. Linger long enough for great wildlife encounters and to take in the view before returning to your cozy accommodation after a hearty local dinner.

Tour Style:

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

Activity:

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

This trip is suitable for:

Solo Travelers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • Wildlife
  • Historical Journeys
  • Coastal & Island

Inspiration:

  • Classic

Activity Level & Terrain

This trip is graded moderate. The walks vary in grade, from easy up to moderate—there may be some uphill and steeper sections, but these are not particularly long or challenging.  The routes follow footpaths from good to vague on coastal trails, through open fields/land and sometimes along quiet country roads. Some routes also take in clifftop paths meaning this trip isn't suitable for those with severe vertigo. You could tailor the trip to avoid these sections or walk off the path further from the clifftop if your vertigo is less severe. Speak to one of our specialists if you have any questions.

The day's vary between 23.5 km (with 630 m ascent/descent) to a much shorter day of 5 km (21 m ascent/descent) to allow plenty of time for sightseeing and exploring the sites at Brodgar. 

Navigation

As all the walks are self-guided you will be responsible for navigation, decision–making and safety during your trip. This route is largely not waymarked so we recommend being able to read a map and following the route via GPX tracks and route notes on our free, easy to use Macs Adventure smartphone app. 

Accommodations

We use hand-picked 3-4* B&B's, guest houses and country hotels to ensure that you enjoy every minute of your stay. All offer a warm welcome to walkers, traditional hospitality and delicious local food. We recommend that you book this trip early as the area is always popular and the hotels and inns do fill up early, especially during the summer months. 

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. If you require single rooms within your party we will of course try to accommodate your request subject to availability.

Meals

Breakfast is included each morning while lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Your accommodation may be able to provide a packed lunch on request, otherwise there are some small supermarkets/deli's where you can buy lunch and snacks for your walks. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or in the nearby pubs and restaurants in Stromness and Kirkwall. 

Additional Nights

Many of our guests choose to add extra nights and these can be added at the time of booking. 

Included
  • 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
Excluded
  • 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)
Extras
  • Additional nights along the route

When To Go

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

Getting to the Start

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

By Ferry: The Northlink ferry company operates services between Aberdeen and Kirkwall (6 hrs) and between Scrabster and Stromness (1hr 30 min).

By Bus: Once on the islands you can get around by bus, local sevrices are operated by Stagecoach Orkney.

Luggage 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 / 44 lbs per person.

General Information

Isle of 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 the tour isn't possible on these dates due to 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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Itinerary

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 3.5 miles / 5.5 km Day 5 Guided Tour of the Island of Westray Day 6 Onward Travel

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