Walking on the Orkney and Shetland Isles
80 walks in the northern isles
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Walking guidebook to 80 routes on the Orkney, Shetland and Fair Isles. Day walks include routes on Hoy, Rousay, Foula, Yell and Unst as well as the mainlands. Walks range from 1 to 16 miles and provide options for walkers of all abilities. Information on interesting sites, getting there and getting around the islands included.
- April, May and June are the best months to go for daylight, sunshine and nesting birds, but the Northern Isles are a year-round destination - hardly ever getting midges or snow!
- Sumburgh, Kirkwall, Lerwick, Stromness, Hamnavoe, Scalloway
- From short walks to ancient monuments and waymarked coastal strolls to 10-mile traverses, there is something for everyone. Some routes will require basic navigational skills.
- Must See
- Superb wildlife - whales, otters, seals, puffins, whooper swans, birds of prey, seabirds; ancient archaeological sites - Skara Brae, Jarlshof, the Mousa Broch; the Old Man of Hoy; and the North Ronaldsay Coastal Traverse.
A guidebook to 80 walking routes on Scotland's Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. Routes are described on the islands of Orkney (Orkney Mainland, Hoy, South Ronaldsay, Burray, Rousay, Eday, Westray, Papa Westray, North Ronaldsay) and the islands of Shetland (Shetland Mainland, West Burra, East Burra, Foula, Fair Isle, Isle of Noss, Bressay, Whalsay, Papa Stour, Muckle Roe, Out Skerries, Esha Ness, Yell, Fetlar and Unst).
Routes vary in length from 1 mile to 16 miles, with something to suit all abilities. Offering a variety of landscapes together with a wealth of remarkable archaeological sites such as Skara Brae and Jarlshof, Orkney and Shetland are a walker's dream.
Step-by-step route descriptions are accompanied by clear OS mapping and a time estimate for completing each route. The book includes plenty of information on the region's wildlife, archaeology and history, as well as practical tips such as when to go, what to take and getting to and around Orkney and Shetland.
Quiet, remote and abounding in rare plants and wildlife, together with some of the world's most fascinating archaeological sites, Orkney and Shetland offer a treasure trove of natural and historic wonders, and makes an ideal walking holiday destination.
Archaeology and history
Walking on the Northern Isles
Getting to the Northern Isles
Getting between Orkney and Shetland
When to go
What to take
Maps and access
Using this guide
Walk 1 Mull Head and the Brough of Deerness
Walk 2 The Deerness memorial
Walk 3 Wideford Hill
Walk 4 Skara Brae, Yesnaby and Stromness
Walk 5 Marwick Head and the Kitchener memorial
Walk 6 Brough Head
Walk 7 The Loch of Hundland and Mid Hill
Walk 8 Fibla Fiold and Mid Tooin
Walk 9 South Ronaldsay – Hoxa Head
Walk 10 Burray – the Hunda Reef
Walk 11 Hoy – Heldale Water and Tor Ness
Walk 12 Hoy – The Old Man of Hoy, St John’s Head and Cuilags from Rackwick
Walk 13 Hoy – Ward Hill from Moaness
Walk 14 Rousay – Knitchen Hill and the Trumland RSPB Reserve
Walk 15 Rousay – Mid Howe Broch and the Westness walk
Walk 16 Rousay – the Suso Burn and Kierfea Hill
Walk 17 Rousay – Faraclett Head
Walk 18 Eday – Ward Hill and War Ness
Walk 19 Eday – Noup Hill and Red Head
Walk 20 Eday – Fers Ness and West Side
Walk 21 Westray – Inga Ness to Noup Head
Walk 22 Papa Westray – Mull Head and the North Hill RSPB Reserve
Walk 23 North Ronaldsay – coastal traverse
Walk 24 Jarlshof and Sumburgh Head
Walk 25 The Ness of Burgi Iron Age fort
Walk 26 Fitful Head
Walk 27 Around Fora Ness
Walk 28 St Ninian’s Isle over the tombolo
Walk 29 To the Taing of Maywick
Walk 30 Deepdale from Maywick
Walk 31 Sandwick to No Ness
Walk 32 The Helli Ness peninsula
Walk 33 Muskna Field from Wester Quarff
Walk 34 Scrae Field and the White Stone of Toufield
Walk 35 Fair Isle – the climb to Ward Hill
Walk 36 Fair Isle – Malcolm’s Head
Walk 37 Fair Isle – a west coast traverse
Walk 38 Mousa – the Mousa Broch and RSPB reserve
Walk 39 West Burra – Kettla Ness
Walk 40 East Burra – Houss Ness and the Ward of Symbister
Walk 41 Lerwick old town and the Knab
Walk 42 Scalloway to the Hill of Burwick
Walk 43 Fora Ness
Walk 44 Westerwick and Culswick
Walk 45 Staneydale Temple
Walk 46 Mu Ness to Deepdale over Sandness Hill
Walk 47 Ness of Noonsbrough
Walk 48 Scalla Field and the Butter Stone
Walk 49 The North Nesting coast
Walk 50 Foula – the Daal to the Sneck Ida Smallie
Walk 51 Foula – the Sneug
Walk 52 Foula – the Noup
Walk 53 Bressay – the Ward of Bressay and the Ord
Walk 54 Noss – Noss Head Nature Reserve
Walk 55 Papa Stour – Virda Field and Mauns Hill
Walk 56 Whalsay – the Ward of Clett
Walk 57 Out Skerries – Housay and Mio Ness
Walk 58 Lunna Ness
Walk 59 Ness of Hillswick
Walk 60 Esha Ness from Tangwick
Walk 61 Ronas Hill – highpoint of the Shetland Isles
Walk 62 Ronas Hill, Langayre and the North Roe plateau
Walk 63 The Beorgs of Skelberry
Walk 64 Towards Uyea Island
Walk 65 Point of Fethaland
Walk 66 Muckle Roe – the west coast and the Hams
Walk 67 Yell – the Old Haa and Heoga Ness
Walk 68 Yell – Ward of Otterswick
Walk 69 Yell – the White Wife
Walk 70 Yell – Stuis of Graveland
Walk 71 Yell – the Gloup and North Neaps
Walk 72 Unst – Valla Field
Walk 73 Unst – the west coast of Unst and the Dale of Woodwick
Walk 74 Unst – Keen of Hamar
Walk 75 Unst – the Horns of Hagmark
Walk 76 Unst – the abandoned village of Framgord
Walk 77 Unst – Hermaness National Nature Reserve
Walk 78 Fetlar – Lamb Hoga
Walk 79 Fetlar – Funzie Ness
Walk 80 Fetlar – Vord Hill
Appendix A Route summary table
Maps and access
For all of the walks in this guide I would recommend taking along the relevant Ordnance Survey Explorer sheets. The islands are covered by 10 sheets at this scale (1:25,000), as follows:
- Orkney – OS Explorer sheets 461, 462, 463, 464, 465
- Shetland – OS Explorer sheets 466, 467, 468, 469, 470
Also useful for general planning purposes is the Ordnance Survey Travel Map – Northern Scotland, Orkney & Shetland – at a scale of 1:250,000.
Access in both Orkney and Shetland has always been accepted as a right, as long as you are responsible. This means leaving nothing behind (yes, even apple cores and banana skins), leaving farm gates as you find them, not entering private gardens, respecting the wildlife and the countryside in general, keeping your dog on a lead, keeping noise levels to a minimum, and being aware of and respecting all other countryside users.
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Walk 10, Burray, Orknies.
It has been reported that there is now no access through the farm at Littlequoy to Hunda over the Hunda reef, so this walk is no longer accessible.
With 80 walks to explore 23 in Orkney and 57 in the Shetland Isles, this pocket sized guide provides a good variety of walks over a large area. From strolls to the more challenging, each route is supported by OS mapping, photographs, route description and points of interest on the way. Graham Uney gives the reader helpful information on the Northern Isles, how to get Orkney and the Shetland Isles, the region's wildlife, history and archaeology. A small warning though, as some of the walks of the beaten track such as moorland may require good navigations skills (map and compass) with limited paths and tracks to follow, so be prepared before setting out. Some of the cliff, beach and waterfront routes look particularly attractive to us.
Scotland Outdoors magazine, September 2016
Graham Uney runs his own mountaineering business from his base in Bampton, at the foot of Haweswater in the lovely Lowther Valley. Through his business he offers a wide range of skills courses for walkers and climbers. During the winter months Graham works for the Lake District National Park Authority Weatherline service, climbing Helvellyn every day as Fell Top Assessor to take weather readings and to write a report on snow conditions to help keep walkers, climbers, and skiers safe. He’s also a full member of the Mountain Training Association, the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, and a full team member with the Kirkby Stephen Mountain Rescue Team.
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