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As soon as you leave the Scottish mainland, you feel the magic and mystery of far-flung Orkney archipelago. Spend six days exploring some of the UK’s most remote coastal landscapes, where raging seas bash agains looming sea stacks, waterways abound in sunken ships, and Stone age monuments coexist with Viking monoliths. Fueled by local delicacies (or whiskey, we don’t judge), you’ll roam rolling hills, rest on stunning beaches, ferry to curious islands, and explore lands forged by 5,000 years of history, including the best-preserved neolithic settlement in Western Europe. If you want to see landscapes straight out of a fantasy book, make your way to the islands shimmering in sea mists.
Explore remote landscapes teeming with myth and mystery
Marvel at some of the largest sea stacks in the UK
Visit numerous historic sites, including Viking monoliths and a 5,000-year-old settlement
Meet your guide and group in the late afternoon at the Ferry Inn which is just across from the Stormness ferry terminal. After a welcome meeting, enjoy an evening stroll and dinner together at the Inn.
On day 2, you get to visit the highlights of Orkney’s mainland and the Southern Isles by minibus. Along the way, stop and admire the Standing Stones of Stenness, Ring of Brodgar, Brough of Birsay and Earl’s Palace, South Ronaldsay & Churchill Barriers, St Margarets Hope, and Ophir.
You’ll end the ride knowing much more about the island’s 5,000-year-old history and heritage.
Start day 3 with a bus ride to Skara Brae. Dating back to around 3,000 BC, this stone-built neolithic settlement on a sandy beach is one of the most fascinating historic sites in all of Scotland, and you’ll feel like a time traveler visiting it. After exploring this incredible landmark, follow along the West Coast of the Mainland. Keeping the sea to our right, you get to marvel at the sandstone sea stacks, watch the sea birds, and enjoy views all the way across to the island of Hoy.
After viewing Hoy from a distance yesterday, board a small passenger ferry and set foot on it! Rackwick Glen is a scenic reminder of the empty glens of Scotland’s northwest, but it’s the Old Man that’s the star here. The Old Man of Hoy is one of the tallest sea stacks in the UK, and the highlight of the day’s walk. You might even spot a pair of climbers tackling this soaring cliff.
Rest up your legs as you explore Orkney’s largest town, Kirkwall (population: 8,500), and learn about the history of its cathedral, St Magnus. Built almost 900 years ago, this spectacular church was dedicated to one of the earliest Earls of Orkney, who was immortalized in the Icelandic Orkneyinga Sagas. If you still have the will and strength, you can also climb Kirkwall’s highest point, Wideford Hill, on your day out today.
Say goodbye to your new friends and leave Orkney after a final breakfast together.
What you get on this adventure:
What’s not included:
This tour can be done by beginner hikers, but you need to be decently fit. You will be hiking for 4-6 hours daily, covering around 6.5 miles (10 km) a day with regular refreshment stops. Day 3, the toughest day of the tour, will have you hiking for 6 hours, covering 12 miles (19 km) with 1,050 (ft) of elevation gain. You also need to be able to handle some steep ascents and descents, all the while carrying a pack filled with the things you’ll need throughout the day. However, with light preparation and enough willpower, you should be able to handle this tour no matter your age or skill level.
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
Group sizes and prices:
Hiking in the Orkney Islands can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
A £200 GBP ($250 USD) deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 3 months (90 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.
To get to Stromness in the Orkney Islands, the starting point of the tour, most people fly into Aberdeen International Airport 6 hours away. From there, you can take a local flight or a six-hour ferry ride to Kirkwall and a taxi to Stromness. Alternatively, you can take a train to Inverness, a bus to Scrabster, and a direct ferry to Stromness from Scrabster Harbour.
You will meet your guides at the Ferry Inn in Stromness in the late afternoon, just across from the ferry terminal. Keep in mind that getting to Stromness can be complicated, so try to plan out your trip and purchase any tickets well in advance.
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, please refer to the official COVID-19 guidelines for travel into the United Kingdom.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!