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Selected Trips

    Wilderness Walking

    Shetland and Orkney

    Next Trip: 2nd - 10th Jul 2024 Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights

    From £2,945 View Prices & Dates

    Travel Planning & Advice

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    Trip created by Anna Brownlow
    View Anna's Profile

    Region: Orkney and Shetland Isles
    Trip Type: Wilderness Walking
    Accommodation: Deluxe
    Max Group Size: 8
    Confirmed: When 3 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: £736.25 £736.25


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    All you need to know about your trip, this essential document is a must for all adventures.

    Download Itinerary

    Discover Shetland and Orkney’s boundless, salt-stung beauty on an unforgettable 9-day walking holiday. Known for their spectacular coastal scenery and rich ancient history, enjoy exploring these wild isles off of Scotland’s most northerly coast.

    With your knowledgeable Wilderness guide, hike out to iconic sea stacks, cavernous caves and sheer cliffs that shimmer with thousands of seabirds. Visit National Nature Reserves and beaches where the sea breaks turquoise on crescents of white sand. As you explore, spot wildlife synonymous with these islands, including grey seals, brown hares, stocky Shetland ponies and a myriad of birds such as guillemots, fulmars, puffins and kittiwakes. Rich in heritage, tradition and folklore, visit fascinating archaeological sites and thoughtful, engaging museums. As darkness slips inland with the tide, relax in cosy accommodations hand-picked for their warm hospitality.

    Where gannets dive like arrows beneath the surf and ethereal light shifts across the Atlantic, enjoy a guided walking adventure to a place surrounded and shaped by the sea.

    Trip Highlights

    • Visit Unst, Shetland's most northerly isle and home to thousands of seabirds
    • Hike out to the breathtaking sea stack Old Man of Hoy.
    • Enjoy a tour of one of Scotland's oldest working whisky distilleries.
    • Explore the incredible Stone Age village of Skara Brae.

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 – Welcome to Shetland

    Meet your Wilderness Guide on Shetland this morning at Lerwick Ferry Terminal or Sumburgh Airport. Once the group has assembled, head off for a beautiful circular hike – a true Shetland classic. Wind your way along the coast and ascend Sumburgh Head, the southernmost point of Shetland and a brilliant place to see puffins up close during the summer season. On your return, explore Jarlshof, a remarkable archaeological site comprising prehistoric and Norse settlements. Afterwards, transfer north to your lovely hotel and enjoy dinner. (L, D)

    Walk details: 5.5 km/3.5 miles | 200 m/650 ft of ascent | approx. 3 hours

    Day 2 – Hiking Ness of Hillswick

    After a leisurely breakfast, join your guide for a coastal circuit around the diamond-shaped peninsula. The beginning of the hike is a fantastic place to spot otters and, further along, seals and a myriad of seabirds. The tiny modern lighthouse at Baa Taing is a lovely spot to stop for a picnic lunch and admire the stunning scenery. This afternoon, enjoy another short hike which provides amazing views of a dark sea cave, before returning via a loch and the crumbling remains of a broch. This evening, enjoy a drink in your hotel’s quiet sloping garden as the soft notes of dusk settle on the breeze. (B, L, D)

    Walk details:
    11 km/7 miles | 300 m/980 ft of ascent | approx. 5 hours

    Day 3 – Hermaness National Nature Reserve

    This morning, head out to explore Hermaness National Nature Reserve. Located on the far tip of Unst (Shetland’s most northerly isle), it is home to more than 100,000 birds in the breeding season. Enjoy a spectacular walk along the clifftops, chatting with your knowledgeable guide as the drama of the reserve fills the cliffs, sea and skies. This afternoon, visit Haroldswick and learn about Shetland’s rich Viking heritage as you explore the Skidbladner (a replica Gokstad ship) and a Viking Longhouse reconstruction. Return to your hotel and enjoy a delicious dinner. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 10.5 km/6.5 miles | 285 m/935 ft of ascent | approx. 4 hours

    Day 4 – Visiting Shetland Museum and Travel to Orkney

    As the syrupy sunlight glides across the water, join your guide for an engaging walk out across the clifftops. Providing incredible views of magnificent sea stacks and dark, salt-stung caves, wind your way along the heath, looking out at the weathered arches that stand like ancient battlements above the swell. On your return, nosy your way to Lerwick and have lunch, spending some time in the award-winning museum before boarding your ferry to Orkney. As you sail steadily towards Kirkwall, chat with your group over dinner as the silhouette of Shetland fades on the horizon. Later this evening, arrive at your elegant Orcadian hotel and enjoy a good night’s sleep. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 8.5 km/5.25 miles | 280 m/920 ft of ascent | approx. 3.5 hours

    Day 5 – Hiking Mull Head

    After a slightly later arrival last night, enjoy a lovely laid-back morning before heading out to visit a charming Italian Chapel with your guide. Located on the small, uninhabited island of Lamb Holm, it was built back in World War II. Under a big blue sky, learn about the chapel’s poignant history before returning to the main isle for lunch. This afternoon, hike one of the finest coastal circuits on mainland Orkney. The route takes you past a dramatic gloup (‘gloup’ is a word of Norse origin describing a collapsed sea cave or large blow hole) and provides wonderful views across the waves. Return to your hotel for a locally sourced, seasonal dinner this evening. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 7 km/4.5 miles | 195 m/640 ft of ascent | approx. 3 hours

    Day 6 – The Old Man of Hoy

    After breakfast, join your guide for a short drive along the edge of Scapa Flow to catch the ferry to Hoy. The island is distinctive, dramatic and wild with mountainous moorland and glaciated valleys. Enjoy a beautiful coastal hike to the incredible sea stack of Old Man of Hoy, carrying on to St John’s Head – the highest vertical seacliff in the UK. On your return, keep an eye out for skuas and peregrine falcons hunting along the coastline. Tonight, enjoy a free evening, perhaps strolling into Kirkwall to enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants. (B, L)

    Walk details: 10 km/6 miles | 220 m/720 ft of ascent | approx. 4 hours

    Day 7 – The Heart of Neolithic Orkney

    Enjoy learning more about Orkney’s fascinating history this morning as you visit some of its most treasured ancient sites. A short drive will take you to the beautiful and mysterious Ring of Brodgar (Scotland’s largest Neolithic stone circle), the Stones of Stenness and Maeshowe Chambered Cairn. After lunch, join your guide for a lovely circular walk along an easy coastal path to Warbeth Beach. Enjoy the spectacular views across the tempestuous Hoy Sound and the twin peaks of Cuilags and Ward Hill. Arrive back in the pretty stone village of Stromness and pop into a couple of artisanal shops before returning to your hotel for dinner.
    (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 8 km/5 miles | 45 m/150 ft of ascent | approx. 4 hours

    Day 8 – Visiting Skara Brae and a Whisky Distillery Tour

    This morning, visit the fascinating Stone Age village of Skara Brae. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this Neolithic semi-subterranean settlement was uncovered by a winter storm in 1850 and gives a remarkable picture of what life would have been like on the island over 5000 years ago. After lunch, enjoy a walk from the RSPB Reserve Marwick Head to the unique tidal island of Brough of Birsay. Later, enjoy a tour of Highland Park Distillery and learn about its history before sampling some signature single malts. Dinner at your hotel this evening will be a celebratory experience as you enjoy your final night on the salt-soaked shores of this beautiful island. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 8 km/5 miles | 160 m/525 ft of ascent | approx. 4 hours

    Day 9 – Ferry to the Mainland and Depart

    This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, wind your way to Stromness to catch the ferry back to the Scottish mainland. On the crossing, enjoy the stunning views of the islands across the white-flecked waves and watch the birds that coast along on the salty breeze. Once back on the mainland, have lunch at a local cafe before returning to Inverness. Upon arrival at the railway station, bid your guide farewell and begin your onward journey. (B, L)

    Wilderness Walking
    Shetland and Orkney

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    Trip Dates for 2024AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    2nd Jul - 10th Jul 20247 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,945Book Now
    16th Jul - 24th Jul 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,945Book Now
    27th Aug - 4th Sep 20246 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,945Book Now
    17th Sep - 25th Sep 20248 places leftUNCONFIRMED£2,945Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    Our accommodation partners are carefully chosen according to several factors: charming locations, very good facilities and a reputation for providing excellent hospitality. Accommodation is in a choice of double or twin rooms with ensuite facilities.

    Single Rooms

    For solo travellers: Accommodation is based on sharing a twin room with another solo traveller of the same gender. A limited number of rooms for single occupancy are available on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to a single supplement of £645. Please enquire about availability.

    Meals Read More

    On this trip, all meals are included from lunch on day one to lunch on day nine, apart from dinner on day six. Your guide will let you know the options for dinner on day six and help you make the necessary reservations, and then they’ll take the evening off. Included dinners are two courses as standard and special dietary requirements can be catered for.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 9 days of professional guiding.
    • 8 nights accommodation.
    • All meals from lunch on your day of arrival, to lunch on the final day, except for dinner on day 6 (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • Vehicle transport throughout from meeting in Lerwick, Shetland to finishing in Inverness, Scottish mainland, including the ferry between Shetland and Orkney and Orkney and the Scottish mainland.
    • Entrance and admission fees to sites stated in the itinerary.
    Trip Grading Read More

    Green Graded 1-3

    Green graded walking holidays are suitable for active travellers who are reasonably fit and enjoy moderate hikes. We walk at a comfortable pace and you can expect to be out for 5-6 hours a day. The terrain will be mostly good paths and hill trails but these can still be muddy and rough in places. Some hikes may involve an ascent up to a max of approx 1,500 feet / 450m. Distances will be typically 8-10km but there may be the odd slightly longer day. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.

    Travel – Arrival and Departure Read More

    You will be met by your Wilderness Scotland Guide at either Lerwick Ferry Terminal, Shetland at 8.30am or Sumburgh Airport, Shetland at 10.00am on Day 1 of your trip. Please let us know where you would like to be picked up.

    The trip will conclude at Inverness Railway Station at 5.00pm on the final day of the trip.

    There are overnight ferries to Shetland departing from Aberdeen each evening operated by Northlink Ferries. Flights to Shetland leave from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Inverness airports and are operated by Loganair.

    On the final day, we will depart Orkney by ferry and travel south to Inverness. If you would prefer, you are welcome to leave the trip after breakfast and organise your own flight to depart Orkney. Flights from Orkney depart for Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Inverness and are operated by Loganair.

    Please get in touch with us if you need any further advice.

    Photo Gallery

    Make This Trip Private

    Fancy this trip just for your group? Get together with family and friends spend quality time exploring wild places. A private trip allows you to benefit from all the features of the group departure, including hand-picked accommodation and expert local guides but with the advantage of the flexibility to tailor the days to your group. Make the trip more or less challenging depending on your experience or choose to add in some optional extras like castle or distillery visits depending on your interests. The price of a private trip will depend on the number of travellers in your group. Let us know your prefered departure date and we'll take care of the rest.

    Speak to an Expert

    Bridget Brown

    Our friendly office team hail from across the world but share a passion for the outdoor and wild spaces of Scotland. We are committed to providing you with the best customer service and are more than happy to chat through options and provide help and advice. Get in touch to find your perfect adventure.

    Ask Bridget a Question

    Meet Your Guide

    Difficulty Grades Explained

    Green Graded Walking Holidays

    Green graded walking holidays are suitable for active travellers who are reasonably fit and enjoy moderate hikes. We walk at a comfortable pace and you can expect to be out for 5-6 hours a day. The terrain will be mostly good paths and hill trails but these can still be muddy and rough in places. Some hikes may involve an ascent up to a max of approx 1,500 feet / 450m. Distances will be typically 8-10km but there may be the odd slightly longer day. Daily hike details are available in the itinerary.

    Compare walking grades

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