Walking in Orkney

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  • A couple walking on a farm track at Deerness, Mainland, Orkney
    A couple walking on a farm track at Deerness, Mainland, Orkney
  • A couple walking on the path above the beach at Dingieshowe, Mainland, Orkney.
    A couple walking on the path above the beach at Dingieshowe, Mainland, Orkney.
  • A footpath sign points the way to see some of Orkney's coastal wildlife.
    Follow markers to see Orkney's magnificent wildlife
  • A couple walking on Sands of Wright, South Ronaldsay, Orkney
    A couple walking on Sands of Wright, South Ronaldsay, Orkney
  • A couple stand on Warebeth beach near Stomness and admire the hilly shoreline.
    Admiring the shoreline at Warebeth beach, Stromness

There really are very few places in the world where you have the freedom to roam around almost 70 islands and skerries or a UNESCO World Heritage Site older than the pyramids. In Orkney, that’s not just considered a fact, that’s a promise.

Although it lies just off the north coast of Scotland, you instantly get an otherworldly feeling when you land on Orkney. Lacing up your walking boots is just the first step in discovering the unspoilt rolling landscapes and the tranquillity of its islands.

There is something for every walker here, and by taking just a few of our selected routes, you’ll experience first hand some uninhabited islands and the islands’ haunting ruins and Neolithic sites like Skara Brae, the Stones of Stenness and the Maeshowe Tomb. The Ring of Brodgar is even attracting attention away from Stonehenge as the most important ancient site in Britain.

Below is a small selection of the many trails you could choose. Find out more about walking routes, printable maps and GPS waypoints on Orkney.

  • Binscarth Wood, Finstown
    Distance - 6km; duration - 2hrs
  • This walk, starting and ending in Finstown, will take you along an old drovers road through rare woodland, across moorland and past lochans.

  • The Ring of Brodgar to Maeshowe
    Distance - 8.5km; duration - 2.5 - 3hrs
    This return walk takes you through the heart of a massive ancient complex known as the Ness of Brodgar. The people inhabiting Orkney thousands of years ago certainly left their mark, including the foundations of a large structure thought to be a Neolithic palace or temple.
  • Papa Westray Walking Tour
    Distance - 14.5km; duration - 4.5 - 5hrs
    Reached by ferry or on the world’s shortest scheduled flight, there are many walks on this remote island to choose from. Pointing you down grass paths, beaches and quiet roads, this one showcases the island at its best.
  • Sands of Wright, South Ronaldsay
    Distance - 6km; duration - 1.5 - 2hrs
    This route will blow off the cobwebs as you walk along sand and shingle beaches with the option to take a detour to the cliff tops at Hoxa Head and scramble through ruined gun batteries from the Second World War.
  • Wideford and Inganess, near Kirkwall, Mainland
    Distance - 5.5km; duration 2 - 2.5hrs
    Not far outside of the island’s capital Kirkwall, this circular loop takes in the sandy beaches along the curving Inganess Bay east of the airport and then along the Burn of Wideford.
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