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Wilderness Walking – The Orkney Isles

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Price from: £1,095

Next trip: 16th May

Duration: 6 night(s)

View prices & departures

Location: Orkney and Shetland Isles

Comfort: Classic

Difficulty: 2

35 review(s)
  • Discover wild walks, ancient landscapes and spectacularly weathered sea cliffs on the walking holiday of a lifetime
  • Experience the rich natural and cultural heritage of the Orkneys in the company of our knowledgeable guides
  • Enjoy Orcadian hospitality and fresh local produce at our stylish accommodation in a historic guest house

Green Graded Walking Holidays

Our Green grade walking trips involve straight forward hiking, following generally good trails with no major ascents.

These walks are pretty leisurely and will last for around 5 hours each day. The terrain underfoot will usually be on paths or hill trails, which may still be muddy or rough in places. The daily walks are mainly glen and coastal hikes, with some ascents of low level hills, up to around 1,500 feet / 450m high. So to help you decide if you are fit enough for this trip, ask yourself:

Can you comfortably hike for 6 miles (10km), including some ascent, with rough ground in places? Have you done this recently?

Our accommodation on Orkney is in a recently upgraded 4-star small hotel. Located on the outskirts of Kirkwall, near the world-famous Highland Park whisky distillery, the hotel overlooks Scapa Flow with its beautiful sandy beach.

The hotel has just 10 rooms, each of which is individually furbished with antiques and local artwork. The rooms are all ensuite and provide spacious, comfortable accommodation.

The hotel’s restaurant is popular with locals and has a strong focus on local Orkney produce. Naturally, any special dietary requirements can be catered for and the restaurant is fully licensed offering a selection of Orkney malts and ales. Not to mention the extensive 200 malts-strong whisky list!!

Single guests willing to share will be accommodated in a twin room with a member of the same sex. For this itinerary, there ia a supplement of £175 a single room is required.

You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at the fixed seating area in the centre of Inverness Railway Station at 10:30am on Day 1 of your trip.
As lunch is not included on Day 1, you may wish to either eat lunch beforehand or bring a packed lunch to eat on the ferry. Please note that under new legislation, you must bring photo ID (passport, driving licence) with you to board the ferries. For full details on how to get to Inverness, please see our website: Travel to Scotland.

by Deborah Middleton 14/08/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
High point was the walk to the Old Man of Hoy - blessed with glorious weather on the day too, which no doubt influenced my view. Low point perhaps was the length of the days, complicated by many evening meals being arranged away from the hotel (so I elected to dine in-house away from the group). On reflection after returning home and reviewing our activities, I wonder whether the timetables for some days may have been able to be streamlined a bit better - with less time in transit doubling back over old ground. Just a suggestion!
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Tim tolerated the various peccadillos of the group members, including mine, with great patience and good humour. Very knowledgeable chap, and not afraid to admit when he did not know something which was very refreshing. He was also very helpful - for example taking me to a supermarket and back to the hotel again - which was much appreciated and beyond the call of duty.
The Bottom Line

by Mark Weinfeld 10/08/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I found that the number of hiking miles per day as estimated in the dossier were a great overstatement of what we actually did. My wife and I are hikers and would have enjoyed a bit more hiking. For example, the dossier estimated 12 km for one particular day, and I doubt we actually did 4 km. The decision not to hike as much, however, may have been a function of the group, some of whom were not up to it.
Trip Comments
Lots of high points. Viewing the wildlife, seeing local birds close up, hiking in the rain, the amazing coastal scenery, walking through towns and villages, hearing live music; it was all good.
Accommodation and Food
I found that the number of hiking miles per day as estimated in the dossier were a great overstatement of what we actually did. My wife and I are hikers and would have enjoyed a bit more hiking. For example, the dossier estimated 12 km for one particular day, and I doubt we actually did 4 km. The decision not to hike as much, however, may have been a function of the group, some of whom were not up to it.
Your Guide
Tim was great, absolutely great. He never stopped trying to please us, and went above and beyond what he needed to do. On the last night, after dinner, he took us out to watch the sun set over the Rings of Brognar (probably spelled this wrong). Took us to a pub one night to hear live music. Went out and bought us Irn Bru when we told him we liked it. His knowledge of flora and fauna is extensive and when I asked him an occasional detailed question he was unsure of, he had looked up the answer by the time I next saw him. He was a great guide!!
The Bottom Line
This is the second time we have traveled with you and both trips were amazing. All detailed were attended to and nothing went wrong. We did so much it was unbelievable.

by Janet Cogswell 10/08/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
I have traveled with other companies and Wilderness Scotland is definitely the best.
Trip Comments
Walking along the sea cliffs was venturing into another world of soaring birds, pounding ocean waves echoing in caves and soft ground under your feet. It was an experience so breathtaking you put away the camera and simply experience the moment.
Accommodation and Food
I have traveled with other companies and Wilderness Scotland is definitely the best.
Your Guide
Tim simply went above and beyond to make this trip superb for everyone. From checking restaurants ahead of time for special diets to sharing great playlists of music he shepherded a group of disparate travelers with humor and efficiency. His knowledge of the local wildlife especially birds and fauna was astounding.
The Bottom Line
Wilderness Scotland provided a world class walking vacation. It was a wonderful combination of location and attention to details. Remember the Orkneys have been populated since neolithic times. There was a reason! It is a land of incredible beauty. However a trip is not just about the location. Wilderness Scotland handled all the travel details without flaw. We were met on time, made all of our travel connections and had our many special requests all graciously honoured.

by Janet Cogswell 10/08/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

by Nancy Ettele 07/08/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The email communications were clear and concise. I made one phone call to ask a question before the trip and was answered quickly and pleasantly.
Trip Comments
We had a very compatible group and our guide was funny, organized, perceptive, and well-informed. Every day was the personal high point until the next day, which became the high point. I can't imagine how the trip could have been any better, and I had been planning to take this particular trip for 10 years. It was even better than advertised.
Accommodation and Food
The email communications were clear and concise. I made one phone call to ask a question before the trip and was answered quickly and pleasantly.
Your Guide
Tim Francis is a very funny guy - subtle but funny. He made every day of the trip fun and interesting, did the logistical work invisibly so that it all looked very smooth and easy, and showed genuine interest in every person on the trip. I am ready to go home after 8 hours of work, but Tim was willing to spend 14+ hours a day with us - evening meals with the group were as much fun as the rest of the day. He shared field books, maps, and the planning of each day's activities, so that we felt fully a part of the experience.
The Bottom Line
I have already recommended Wilderness Scotland to my friends at home. This trip was the high point of the last 10 years of my life, which is as long as I have been planning to take the trip.

by Gillian Forbes 04/08/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
More explicit information on the meals included during the trip. I checked beforehand as it was not clear and found out that others on the trip had not picked up that not all were included.
Trip Comments
Lots of variation - a good balance between walking, historical visits and bird watching. Each day surpassed the previous one.
No low points other than the trip passed to quickly :-)
Accommodation and Food
More explicit information on the meals included during the trip. I checked beforehand as it was not clear and found out that others on the trip had not picked up that not all were included.
Your Guide
Tim was knowledgeable and always helpful. He paced the walks perfectly with plenty of breaks and time to take photos etc. Tim listened to the requests of the group and nothing was a problem.
The Bottom Line

by Carol Waterdrinker 04/08/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

5Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

5Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Tim was really great and had a great knowledge about the history,birds and plants. Very friendly and relaxed.
The combination walking- seeiing historical sites was great.
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Tim was really great and had a great knowledge about the history,birds and plants. Very friendly and relaxed.
The combination walking- seeiing historical sites was great.
The Bottom Line
The only thing I didn't know was that I was expecting a tour with English/Scottish people so 3 Americans and 1 Australian was unexpected. For me it was the second holiday in Scotland not really full off people from Scotland. My first holiday in Scotland I ended up in a german group but it's all about balance. I hope the next holiday I book with you will have more foreign people.

by Ruth Baynton 15/07/2014

4Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

4Accommodation and Food

0Your Guide

5The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
The literature describing the itinerary was too brief and could have included more information about the hotel particularly the address & phone number, ferry crossings and flora and fauna likely to be seen.
Trip Comments
It could have been improved if the vehicle was air conditioned and if we had been picked up and set down in the station car park.
Accommodation and Food
The literature describing the itinerary was too brief and could have included more information about the hotel particularly the address & phone number, ferry crossings and flora and fauna likely to be seen.
Your Guide
Eilid was a very friendly and personable guide but was not quite as experienced/well informed as other guides we have been with.
The Bottom Line
This was a truly wonderful introduction to a most beautiful haven within the British Isles. We enjoyed the variety of this holiday especially the combination of walks taking in stunning coastal scenery, wildflower meadows, bird colonies and visits to world heritage archaeological sights.

by Julian Lambley 14/07/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Great place to go. The walking was rather less than I expected and easier . Very pleased we saw all the historic sites i wanted. Visit to Hoy was great. Were left hanging about at Scara Brae as departure time was not heard by wife or me..
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
Got on well with her. Very reliable. .She did not apparently have a lot of experience on Orkney previously . Had good knowledge of wildlife and botany though not as extensive as guide on our previous trip with Wilderness.
The Bottom Line
Liked the islands a lot. Choice of day trips was good. Ferries and connections worked very well.. Fascinating place for pre-history. Walking was very easy really.
Make sure you get room with a view or have the option to request it.

by Charlotte Chambers 07/07/2014

5Pre-Trip Service

4Trip Comments

5Accommodation and Food

4Your Guide

4The Bottom Line

Pre-Trip Service
Trip Comments
Accommodation and Food
Your Guide
The Bottom Line

Prices and Departures

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
16th May - 22nd May 2015
£1,095
5 place(s) left
11th Jul - 17th Jul 2015
£1,095
Places available
25th Jul - 31st Jul 2015
£1,095
Places available
22nd Aug - 28th Aug 2015
£1,095
Places available

Trip Details

Walking in the Orkney Isles is a wonderful way to discover these islands.

Join us on a stunning and unforgettable journey to the Orkney Isles, a little-visited archipelago of some 70 small islands and skerries due north of the Scottish mainland.

This mysterious place of long days and colourful night skies is home to a wealth of sea life and sea birds, not forgetting the remarkable flora of the islands.

The unique situation and environment of the Isles have combined to create a fascinating cultural and historical tapestry of stone circles, countless invasions and occupations, isolation and extremity, all of which have left their mark through the ages.

In the company of your highly knowledgeable guide you will walk in the wildest places of Orkney, with history all around, before returning to enjoy memorable cuisine and the finest accommodation in the Isles.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Orkney Islands

Our journey to the Orkney Islands follows the north-east coast of the Highlands and onwards over the Pentland Firth. Our accommodation is situated near the major archaeological sites which secure the intrigue of these islands.

Day 2 – Rousay and the Mid Howe Broch

We drive to the Eynhallow Sound and take a local ferry to the island of Rousay. We enjoy two short walks here – the Westness Walk to the Mid Howe broch and a superb moorland walk around Faraclett Head.

Distance 8km, 4 hrs.

Day 3 – The Gloup and Mull Head

The walk starts at The Gloup, a partially collapsed sea cave from where we head north along the coast to Mull Head. Before returning to Kirkwall we visit the Italian Chapel, two Nissen huts converted into a place of worship by prisoners of war.

Distance 9km, 4 hrs.

Day 4 – The Old Man of Hoy. Scapa Flow and Rackwick Bay
A short drive along the edge of Scapa Flow takes us to Houton where we catch the ferry to the island of Hoy. Here we walk to the famous Old Man of Hoy and some of Britain’s highest seacliffs before returning to Rackwick Bay.

Distance 10km, 5hrs.

Day 5 – Coastal Walk and visit the Ring of Brodgar

We follow a coastal path from Stromness to The Ness before heading west for the Sand of Warebeth. Afterwards we may visit the Ring of Brodgar, Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe.

Distance 12km, 5hrs.

Day 6 – Brough Head to Marwick Head, Scara Brae

From Brough Head, a superb walk follows the coast south to Marwick Head – one of the largest seabird colonies in the Northern Isles. Afterwards we visit the Stone Age village of Skara Brae, discovered in 1850 after a storm cleared away the sand dunes that were covering it.

Distance 12km, 5 hrs.

Day 7 – Return to Inverness

Following breakfast, we will return Southwards to the mainland and Inverness, via the rugged coastal scenery of the Northern tip of Scotland.

Download Dossier

Prices and Departures

Trip Date
Price
Availability
Trip Status
 
16th May - 22nd May 2015
£1,095
5 place(s) left
11th Jul - 17th Jul 2015
£1,095
Places available
25th Jul - 31st Jul 2015
£1,095
Places available
22nd Aug - 28th Aug 2015
£1,095
Places available

Trip Photos

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Trip reviews

Deborah Middleton
14/08/2014

5

This is the second time we have traveled with you and both trips were amazing. All detailed were attended to and nothing went wrong. We did so much it was unbelievable.

Mark Weinfeld
10/08/2014

5

Rated 4.7 out of 5 based on 35 review(s) of Wilderness Walking – The Orkney Isles

Read All Trip Reviews