Walking on the Orkney and Shetland Isles

80 walks in the northern isles

By Graham Uney

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

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.
13 Apr 2016
8 Nov 2018
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
  • Overview

    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.

  • Contents

    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
    Orkney mainland
    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
    Southern islands
    Walk 9 South Ronaldsay – Hoxa Head
    Walk 10 Burray – the Hunda Reef (NO LONGER ACCESSIBLE)
    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
    Northern islands
    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
    Mainland south
    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
    Southern islands
    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
    Mainland central
    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
    Central islands
    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
    Mainland north
    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
    Northern islands
    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

  • Updates
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    Oct 2018

    page 130 - Walk 44. Please note correct distance is 29.7km (18.5miles) .

    June 2018

    Walk 77 - there maybe a seasonal restriction put in place due to nesting birds.

    March 2018

    Page 227 / 228 Table distance summary for the following walks should read :

    Walk 14 - 4.8 / 3

    Walk 27 and 28 - 5 / 3 1/10

    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.

  • Reviews

    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

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Graham Uney

Graham Uney

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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