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Orkney Islands Walk
Heritage Trail from Westness

County/Area - Orkney Islands

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 3.0 miles / 4.9 km

Ascent - 189 feet / 57 metres

Time - 1 hours 40 minutes

Grade - easy

Start - OS grid reference HY384290
Lat 59.143306 // Long -3.078414
Postcode KW17 2PT (approx. location only)
what3words start poets.dividing.sonic

Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Heritage Trail from Westness
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This Orkney Islands walk explores the rich heritage along the west coast of the island of Rousay. This hilly island lies to the north of mainland and offers many sites of archaeological and historical interest that cover a period of 5,000 years from the Neolithic period to the Picts and Vikings and more recently the highland clearances.

The start is a small parking space above Westness Farm (grid ref. HY384290) beside the B9064. After parking, turn left after the cottage on the left to follow a clear track down to Westness Farm. Continue past the farm buildings down towards the coast. Bear right off the track and join a feint path along the coast (with the sea on your left).

The first point of interest is the Knowe of Swandro, where there is ongoing archaeological exploration being undertaken in summer. Continue along the coastal path to pass the ruins of Skaill Farm. Pass through a gate and follow the as it briefly turns inland to the ruins of St. Mary's Church. Go through another gate to return to the coast to reach The Work and the remains of Brough Farm.

You soon reach Midhowe Cairn, the largest of its type in Orkney. Do allow time to explore inside the protective stone construction. Continue along the coast path to Midhowe Broch and impressive Iron Age fortress overlooking Eynhallow Sound. Again, spend some time exploring its interior. From here return along the path and pass Midhowe Cairn on your left. Turn left and follow the rising track inland. After 200 metres turn right on a clear track that runs parallel to the coast on your right. Continue to Westness Farm, where you turn left to return to the road and the small parking area.

Isle of Rousay - can be reached by car and passenger ferry from Tingwall on mainland. The service is operated by Orkney Ferries which links the islands of Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre with the mainland of Orkney.

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