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Orkney Islands Walks
Walking Routes & Hiking Trails

Find Orkney Islands walks from the list below which features the best walking routes in the area. Most of routes are circular walks although there are a few linear hikes. The walks are listed from the shortest and easiest to the longest more challenging routes. The walks are divided into sub areas so you can find specific walks.

Walking on the Orkney Islands is varied and interesting. Despite the low-lying nature of many islands, the many well-preserved Neolithic sites, abundant bird and marine life together with a feeling of remoteness all provide good reason to explore the islands. The interesting coastline with natural arches and sea stacks together with some high cliffs offer excellent walking and scenic interest.


Orkney - Mainland Walks

The largest of the Orkney Islands, Mainland offers a variety of walking over mainly flat terrain. To the west of the island there are some low hills. The main focus of walks is along the coast with many interesting rock features and extensive birdlife.

3652The Gloup, Deerness Brough & Mull Headeasy4.00

Orkney - Isle of Hoy Walks

The rugged cliffs and hilly terrain or Hoy together with the sea stack 'Old Man of Hoy' are a perfect excuse for visiting this island. The varied terrain offers some demanding walking. The west coast of the island also has dramatic sea cliffs rising to over a 1000 feet above the sea.

3649Old Man of Hoy from Rackwickeasy/mod5.40
3650★☩Rackwick, Old Man of Hoy & Cuilagsmod/hard9.60
3648Old Man of Hoy & Glens of Broadiface moderate10.00

Orkney - Isle of Westray Walks

Westray is the most north-westerly island in the Orkneys. The western side of the island has a number of low hills rising above the coast with its many interesting features including caves and rock arches. The island is also home, in season, to many seabirds.

3651Noup Head from Backarass Farm, Westrayeasy4.50

Orkney - Isle of Rousay Walks

Rousay is a small hilly island lying about 3 km north of mainland. The island has been nicknamed "Egypt of the north", due to its archaeological diversity and importance.

3742Westness Heritage Traileasy3.00

Orkney - Isle of Stronsay Walks

Stronsay is Orkney's "Island of Bays" with three large bays - St Catherine's Bay to the west, the Bay of Holland to the south and Mill Bay to the east. Stronsay is 13 square miles in area rising to 44 metres (144 feet) above sea level. Natural features include the Vat of Kirbister, a natural arch and one of the finest in Orkney, white sand beaches and a variety of seabirds.

1991Vat of Kirkbuster & Bay of Housebyeasy/mod7.60

★ GPS file ☩ Route profile

Location Map

location map

Orkney Islands Guide

The Orkney Islands are an archipelago with about 70 islands, of which 20 are inhabited. Kirkwall, the largest centre is situated on the largest island, Mainland. The islands have been inhabited for at least 8,500 years with many of the oldest and best-preserved Neolithic sites in Europe. Most of the islands are based on underlying Old Red Sandstone and are home to an abundant marine and bird life. The islands are mainly low-lying except for some sharply rising sandstone hills on Mainland, Rousay and Hoy where Ward Hill is the highest point in the islands. Dramatic, rugged cliffs can be found on some western shores and provide an added scenic attraction.

Other walks in Britain - For a list of all the areas where walks are available go to the Main Walk Index.

Walk grading - Learn how each walk is assessed and select a walk to suit your ability and experience by going to Walk Grading Details.

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