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    Wilderness Walking

    Winter - The Orkney Isles

    36 reviews

    Next Trip: 14th - 18th Feb 2025 Duration: 5 Days / 4 Nights

    From: £1,575 View Prices & Dates

    Travel Planning & Advice

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    Trip created by Rachael Gavan
    View Rachael's Profile

    Region: Orkney and Shetland Isles
    Trip Type: Wilderness Walking
    Accommodation: Deluxe
    Max Group Size: 16
    Confirmed: When 2 Travellers Book
    Deposit From: £410

    Grading:

    Carbon Footprint: 96kg ? What does this mean?
    Click here to find out about our carbon labelling project and what we're doing to be more sustainable.

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

    Download Itinerary

    Winter is a spectacular and invigorating time to visit Orkney. Moody skies, crashing waves against stoic cliffs and salty gusts carrying the taste of the sea through this ancient landscape. Winter is the perfect time to escape and be recharged by the unbridled power and majesty of nature. Outside the traditional tourist season, you’ll enjoy the company of locals – hardy wildlife and welcoming people. Connect with the landscape and the earliest Orcadians as you journey through time with visits to Neolithic and Bronze-age sites where you’ll learn about the lives that were shaped by the untamed natural elements of these special islands.

    On this 4 night/5 day trip you’ll hike each day, breathing the fresh sea air and marvelling at the sweeping views. Spend relaxed evenings in front of a crackling fire with hearty food and good whisky to warm your soul as well as your toes. Visit the local distillery for a tour and tasting and spend time wandering through the locally-owned craft shops of Kirkwall. The Orkney Isles is one of the best places in the UK to see the Northern Lights so if the sky is clear, we’ll wrap up warmly and head out under the stars to try and catch a glimpse of the elusive ”Mirrie Dancers”.

    Trip Highlights

    • Discover the thrill of invigorating wild weather walks with sweeping coastal views
    • Experience the rich natural and cultural heritage of these special islands in the company of your knowledgeable guide
    • Enjoy Orcadian hospitality and fresh local produce in warm and welcoming accommodation

    Day by Day Itinerary

    Day 1 - Travel to Orkney

    We meet in Inverness and transfer north. Our journey to the Orkney Islands follows the north-east coast of the Highlands and onwards over the Pentland Firth. We reach Orkney this afternoon where we’ll enjoy a short clifftop walk, offering superb views over Scapa Flow, Flotta and Hoy. Continuing on to Kirkwall, there’ll be time for a quick orientation tour so you can get acquainted with the picturesque streets and independent shops. Arriving at our hotel this evening, there is time to settle in before enjoying a welcome dinner to toast the start of your trip. (L, D)

    Walk details: 2.7km / 1.75 miles | approx. 1 hour

    Day 2 - The Gloup, Mull Head, Distillery Tour & Standing Stones Sunset

    Today our walk starts at the Gloup, a partially collapsed sea cave, which gets its name from the sound the sea makes as it rushes in and out of the cave. From there, we head north along the coast to Mull Head to watch the restless sea and ever-changing skies. This afternoon we take a tour of the local distillery that uses the Orkney Islands’ fiercely Viking heritage as inspiration for their warming spirits. At sunset, we head to the heart of Neolithic Orkney to visit a World Heritage Site, the Ring of Brodgar. Placed in the centre of a massive natural cauldron formed by the surrounding hills, the stones have stood firm through sunshine and storms, withstanding the elements for thousands of years. We’ll appreciate quiet moments as we watch the last of the light cast long shadows as the sun sinks below the horizon. (B, L)

    Walk details: 9km/ 6 miles | approx. 4 hrs

    Day 3 - Skara Brae and Yesnaby Cliffs

    This morning starts with a visit to the Stone Age village of Skara Brae, discovered in 1850 after a storm cleared away the sand dunes that were covering it. Built 5,000 years ago – long before Stonehenge or the Egyptian pyramids – Skara Brae is the best-preserved Neolithic settlement in Western Europe. After exploring, we’ll head out onto the cliff tops to hike to the impressive Yesnaby Castle sea stack. As we walk, watch the powerful waves roll in from the Atlantic throwing themselves against the rocks as the gulls hang at eye level in thermals that rush up the cliff sides. It’s easy to see how these powerful elements hid an entire village and then revealed it again all those years later. Back in Kirkwall there’ll be more time to explore its historic centre. (B, L)

    Walk details: 10km/ 6 miles | approx. 4-5 hrs

    Day 4 - The Old Man of Hoy

    A short drive along the edge of Scapa Flow takes us to Houton where we catch the ferry to the Island of Hoy. A beautiful and dramatic walk takes us to the famous Old Man of Hoy sea stack and some of Britain’s highest sea cliffs. Here we watch the seabirds wheeling in the wind and shags drying their outstretched wings. Returning to Rackwick Bay, keep an eye out for hunting hen harriers and the white winter coat of mountain hares. (B, L, D)

    Walk details: 10km/ 6 miles | approx. 5 hrs

    Day 5 - Italian Chapel & Return To Inverness

    After breakfast this morning, we’ll take one last walk on the beach and then visit the Italian Chapel, two Nissen huts converted into a place of worship by prisoners of war. Heading to the ferry terminal, we’ll return to the mainland and onwards to Inverness via the rugged but spectacular coastal scenery of the northern tip of Scotland. (B, L)

    X
    Wilderness Walking
    The Orkney Isles

    To download a PDF copy of our Trip Itinerary, containing full details about this holiday, please complete the form below:

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    Trip Dates & Prices

    All payments taken in local currency GBP

    Trip Dates for 2025AvailabilityStatusPriceBook
    14th Feb - 18th Feb 202514 places leftGuaranteed £1,575Book Now
    7th Mar - 11th Mar 20258 places leftAvailable £1,575Book Now
    14th Mar - 18th Mar 20258 places leftAvailable £1,575Book Now
    21st Mar - 25th Mar 20258 places leftAvailable £1,575Book Now
    28th Mar - 1st Apr 20256 places leftGuaranteed £1,575Book Now

    Trip Details

    Accommodation Read More

    Our accommodation in Orkney is in a 4-star small hotel, close to Scapa Flow and, somewhat temptingly, next to the Highland Park distillery. Accommodation is in twin or double rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities.

    Single Rooms

    There is no supplement charged to solo travellers, however, you will be required to share a room with another person of the same sex. If you request a double room for single occupancy, a supplement of £320 is charged.

    Due to the nature of the accommodations we use, single supplements are limited and are allocated on a first come first served basis.

    Meals Read More

    Breakfast and lunch are included each day as well as dinner on your first and last evening.

    On this trip, we generally eat dinner as a group however if you would like to make alternative arrangements you are free to do so. Your guide will have an evening off during this trip where they do not eat with the group. They will recommend options for dinner that evening and will help you make any necessary reservations. Included dinners are two courses as standard.

    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.

    Inclusions Read More
    • 4 nights accommodation in a four-star, family-owned hotel with views across Kirkwall to the north isles
    • Most meals during the trip as stated in itinerary
    • (Meals included indicated as B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
    • The services of an experienced and knowledgeable guide / driver throughout
    • All transport throughout the trip starting and finishing in Inverness
    • All private boat and ferry transfers
    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

    Your Guide will meet you at the centre of Inverness Railway Station by the fixed seating area at 9:00am on Day 1 of your trip

    You will be returned to Inverness Railway Station by 5:00pm on the final day of your trip

    If you would like to use your own vehicle on the trip please get in touch with our team to discuss.

    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

    Rachael Gavan

    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 Rachael 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

    Trip Reviews

    Rated 4.92 out of 5 based on 36 reviews of Winter – The Orkney Isles

     

    Every client receives a feedback survey when they return from their guided, self guided or tailor made holiday with us. Once completed the review is published on our website just as soon as our database updates. The little touches and details are important to us and where issues are raised we make positive changes to our trips to improve your experience.

    That’s why we read each of our client’s reviews and although we don’t respond to all of them, if it’s glowing feedback then we get the satisfaction of helping to make your holidays truly memorable.

    MH

    Michael Holohan

    Reviewed on 10/04/2024

    Age: 60 - 70
    Country: USA
    Trip Date: 22/03/2024
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    Book your trip with Craig as your guide number one. Two adhere to Wilderness Scotlands suggestions for gear it will only make your trip more enjoyable. Three enjoy meeting the other folks on the trip...they are all unique folks and conversation worthy.

    MK

    Michael Keys

    Reviewed on 02/04/2024

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: United States
    Trip Date: 22/03/2024
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    I have done several trips in Scotland with other organizations. All were quite good but I would rate this as the best overall.

    LQ

    Lucy Quacinella

    Reviewed on 30/03/2024

    Age: 70 - 80
    Country: USA
    Trip Date: 22/03/2024
    Trips Taken: 1

    The Bottom Line

    The Bottom Line

    My final verdict is my experience was superlative! The only reason I gave a 3 on the previous question is the expense-- I feel I got full value but most of my friends likely could not afford the expense, and I'd hate to encourage them to look into the Wilderness Scotland trips knowing they might be disappointed by not being able to afford to go.

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