The Scottish Isles of Orkney Spring 2025

Duration
6 Days
goat guide
price
£TBC

DATES Thu 8th May 2025
- Tue 13th May 2025

5 nights

This Scottish cluster of Islands out in the North Sea are a wonderful destination for some incredible hiking including the magnificent Old Man of Hoy. As you hike you will learn some of the ancient history of the islands and be inspired by the rich tapestry of folklore stories. You will love the Scottish hospitality in our cosy base The Ferry Inn in Stromness, located in the southwestern part of Mainland Orkney. Join us for this very special Scottish experience.

SUMMARY

Dates: Thursday May 8th to Thursday May 13th 2025

Get inspired with a little of Annie Lennox Orkney – Here comes the rain again

Guide:  Lorraine McCall

Walking Grade: 2 Goats – be prepared for Scottish summer weather which could involve rain. There are long walks of up to 17km but the ascent is not more than 400m so we have graded this 2 goats. You do need to have good fitness and be ready to be out all day.

Highlights:

  • go back in time to visit some of Europe’s most important neolithic sites like the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae
  • experience Scottish hospitality while staying in a family run inn in the picturesque town of Stromness
  • take a day trip to the island of Hoy and hike to the famous sea star of the Old Man of Hoy
  • be inspired by the rich tapestry of folklore, stories and history on this cluster of islands in the North Sea.

Base: The Ferry Inn at the harbour in Stromness – a traditional, very popular Orkney pub with rooms. You can be sure of an island welcome and a true Scottish experience.

Getting there: Our starting point on Thursday May 8th is a pick up at 10am at the Inverness Central Railway Station. If you would like to stay a night or two in Inverness we will recommend hotels.

If you are making your own way to Stomness we suggest joining us on the 7pm ferry from Scrabster.

We recommend joining us in Inverness for this very special road trip to Orkney together  – don’t miss it ! We will take the day aiming for the 7pm ferry from Scrabster to Stromness which gets us into Stromness at 8.30pm. We will have dinner together on the boat as we sail across the sea to reach Orkney. A beautiful journey.

Arrival in Stromness for check in and settle in. It will be 20.45 approx so perhaps a nightcap before bed!

Departure: After breakfast to catch a ferry around 11am to arrive in Inverness at around 16.00. You will be provided with a packed lunch for the journey.

Price:£tbc per person for this fully inclusive holiday:

  • Bed and Breakfast in ensuite double room for solo occupancy
  • Packed Lunches
  • All evening meals – 3 courses
  • Pick up and return to Inverness which includes the ferries
  • Minibus for walks to explore the island fully
  • Experienced Guide throughout your holiday
  • Ferry to Hoy

If you can bring a friend/partner and share a room there is a discount of £tbc pp and the price is £tbc per person . We will discount your final bill once you have paid your deposit.

Not included:

  • Travel to Stromness if not on the mini bus from Inverness
  • Drinks from the bar
  • Additional activities not in the itinerary

 

Download the brochure »

 

DETAILS

The Isles of Orkney lie in the very north of Scotland, just off the Scottish Mainland. It feels like a world away but the islands are surprisingly well connected. We  recommend joining us in Inverness and travelling together by mini bus through the north of scotland and across the sea from Scrabster to Stromness.

There are direct trains to Inverness (the Gateway to the Scottish Highlands and very well connected to London (Caledonian Sleeper overnight train), Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen)

Your journey to Orkney ends where you embark in Stromness and cross the road… and you’re home! At least for the next few days.

On our trip, we will walk on stunning beaches, visit Neolithic sites and take the ferry to experience another outlying island, Hoy. There are mysterious standing stones, Viking stories and ancient sites, marine wildlife including the elusive selkie. As well as the proud tradition of all the local produce created here – local beer, whisky and various foods all ready for you to try.

One of our favourite whiskey’s is Highland Park created and still made on Orkney. You can see a little of the magic that goes into the making of it on this video Highland Park Orkney Stories

Listen to this to get a sense of Stromness and the Orkney Islands. Written by Sir Peter Maxwell Davies as a protest against the proposed construction os a uranium mine near Yesnaby which you will visit.

Farewell to Stromness

TO GET INSPIRED here are some tips for reading and watching :

Hamnavoe by George Mackay Brown

The Outrun by Amy Liptrot – both a book and a film starring Saoirse Ronan

Books and photographs by Gunnie Moberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

ITINERARY

The itinerary may change depending on the weather and at the discretion of your guide. You will be briefed each day about your days walks.

Day 1: Thursday Arrival – meet in Inverness for a pick up at the central train station at 10am. 

You will travel with your guide from Inverness through Easter Ross and Caithness to the Ferry Port of Scrabster. We will stop at a few places on the way so be prepared for short, exploratory walks – this is a wonderful start to your holiday.

We arrive around 20.45 at the Ferry Inn, the bustling second largest township on the island. Situated directly by the sea (its name meaning ‘safe haven’), it has a wonderful meandering main street, nice shops and cafes and just a lovely feel to it.

Day 2: Friday, Roadtrip 

We are taking a day to explore Orkney’s Mainland and the Southern Isles by minibus today. Stopping, admiring and exploring with some walks around the following places:

  • Standing Stones of Stenness
  • Ring of Brodgar
  • Brough of Birsay and Earl’s Palace
  • South Ronaldsay, Churchill Barriers and the Italian Chapel
  • St Margarets Hope
  • Orphir

This should give us a good overview of the thousands of years of history and heritage on this island.

Day 3: Saturday,  West Mainland 

Today we travel to Skara Brae which is one of the most fascinating sites in all of Scotland. A stone-built neolithic settlement on a stunning sandy beach which dates back to around 3,000 years BC. This is proper time travel!

After exploring this incredible place, we head off to walk along the West Coast of the Mainland. Keeping the sea to our right, we have time to marvel at sandstone sea stacks, plenty of sea birds and the views across to Hoy.

Return for a late evening meal at the Ferry Inn together

Walk: Approx 6 hours, 17km, 320m ascent

Day 4: Sunday – Island of Hoy

After viewing the high-lying island of Hoy from a distance yesterday, we are boarding a small passenger ferry which takes us across the water to set foot on it. Rackwick Glen reminds us of the empty glens of Scotland’s north-west but it’s the Old Man that we are seeking. The Old Man of Hoy is one of the tallest sea stacks in the whole of the UK and the destination of our walk today Perhaps we might even spot a pair of climbers tackling this magnificent cliff.

Walk: 6 hours, 17km, 400m ascent

Day 5: Monday 

We’re giving our legs a bit of a rest as we are exploring Orkney’s largest town, Kirkwall (population: 8,500) and learn about the history of its cathedral, St Magnus. It was built almost 900 years ago and is dedicated to one of the earliest Earls of Orkney, his life immortalised in the Icelandic Orkneyinga Sagas.

There is plenty to see around Kirkwall and we will enjoy another leisurely walk near Kirkwall.

Walk : 10km, 3 hours, 310m ascent

Day 6, Tuesday.

We’re departing after breakfast and wishing a fond farewell to Stromness and the Orkney Islands.

Drop off at approx 16.00 at Inverness Train Station for those travelling with the mini bus.

 

 

CALL 01784 664063 – EMAIL CONTACTUS@WALKINGWOMEN.COM

Isles of Orkney

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The Scottish Isles of Orkney Spring 2025
DATES Thu 8th May 2025
- Tue 13th May 2025






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