Colonised by the Vikings in the 9th century as a base from which to launch assaults on Ireland’s monasteries, the natural beauty, folklore and unhurried pace of life on the ‘Isles of the Whale’ is seductive.
Most of the walking is along grassy swards high above the sea with occasional descents to wide, sweeping beaches.
We take a cliff-top walk on Hoy, the wildest and highest of the islands, overlooking the famous sea-stack, the Old Man of Hoy. And, from the site of Thorfinn the Mighty's palace at Birsay we walk to Marwick Head where the Kitchener Memorial stands above the ocean. Weather permitting we may walk the dramatic west coast of Westray to the lonely lighthouse of Noup Head and visit the ruin of Noltland Castle, built in 1560.
Orkney hosts an incredible array of birdlife, which includes puffins, short-eared owls and hen harriers. The abundance of seascapes affords us the chance to see seals, porpoises, dolphins and even whales, whilst on land we may spot the Orkney vole or a mountain hare.
Tip: This trip would combine very well with our exciting holiday to Shetland. It is also possible to prolong your stay in Kirkwall should you wish to spend more time on Orkney, to go shopping and sightseeing in Stromness for example. Please contact us for details.
The emphasis is on a leisurely pace with time to observe and interpret the area, its history and wildlife. We usually spend 5 to 6 hours walking up to 8 - 10 miles (12 -16 km). Gradients are generally easy and much of the walking is on paths, although these can be rough in places. Basic fitness required.
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