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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.

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  • 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

Itinerary

Uncover some of the remotest and most mysterious landscapes in the United Kingdom — embark on a six-day women’s hiking tour of the Orkney Islands! Roam picturesque beaches, view some of the UK’s tallest sea stacks, and see endless historic highlights, including the 900-year-old St. Magnus Cathedral and the 5,000-year-old Skara Brae, the best-preserved neolithic settlement in Western Europe.

  • 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.

    *Alternatively, it’s also possible to reach Inverness a day prior to the start of the tour. In that case, your guides can pick you up and help you book your accommodation for the night.

    A grassy landscape and a historical site in the Orkneys, United Kingdom.
  • 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.

    A historic site on Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
  • 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.

    Hikers strolling along a beach in the Orkney Islands.
  • 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.

    A rocky beach with some sea stacks in the Orkney Islands.
  • 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.

    Wildflowers in front of a seaside vista in the Orkney Islands.
  • Say goodbye to your new friends and leave Orkney after a final breakfast together.

    A bench by a scenic beach in the Orkney Islands, Scotland.
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Meet your guides

Stef Lauer
5.00
Stef Lauer
Born and raised in Germany, Stef Lauer has called Scotland home since 2005, and she delights in sharing the country she loves with visitors. Apart from being a walking tour guide, she is an outdoor ethics trainer highly interested in cultural heritage and natural interpretation. Stef is also fascinated by the travels of Anne Lister and running walking tours in Edinburgh, weaving her diary entries into the fabric of the city. She spends her time off the trails with her wife and Vizsla dog Mara, on a farm near Grantown in the Cairngorms.
Walking Women
5.00
Walking Women
Sisters Sara and Ginny, the owners of Walking Women, are passionate about sharing their love for walking and having fantastic experiences with friends and family. Walking Women’s mission is to provide a safe space for women to explore and venture together. Their focus is always on supporting local communities and prioritizing women-led businesses as their partners and suppliers.

Things to know

  • What you get on this adventure:

      • An experienced hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • Six days of guided walks and day hikes
      • Ensuite solo occupancy accommodations for the duration of the tour
      • Highland breakfasts, packed lunches, and three-course dinners for the duration of the tour
      • Transfers for hikes where required

    What’s not included:

      • Transportation to Stromness
      • Drinks from the Inn bar
      • Guide gratuities — optional
  • 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:

      • Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
      • Hiking poles — optional
      • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
      • Lightweight hiking boots or shoes
      • Spare clothes for layering and 5 days of hiking
      • Waterproof rain jacket
      • Sunhat
      • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
      • Headlamp or flashlight
      • Sunglasses
      • Camera — optional (but recommended)

    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:

      • For this group adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 10:1. 
      • The cost does not decrease as the group grows. 
      • The minimum number needed for this tour to run is usually 4 women. However, it’s also possible to run the tour with smaller groups if participants cover the extra cost required for it to operate. This will usually be discussed between you and your guide 6 weeks prior to the tour start date.

    Hiking in the Orkney Islands can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the hike on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

    If your group has hikers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

  • There are too many livestock on Orkney so dogs or any other animals are not allowed.

  • 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, where your guides can come pick you up.

    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.

    It’s also possible for your guides to pick you up a day prior to the start of the tour in Inverness. If you need any help booking accommodation for the night in Inverness, your guides can help you out.

  • 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!

  • 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. 

      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to ninety (90) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a refund or moving the credit to another holiday, minus the deposit. It is not possible to refund the deposit as it covers costs that have already been incurred.
      • After that deadline, the Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by the Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide. However, the Guide will discuss options with the Client regarding the possibility of reselling the Client’s place.
      • If the Client has to cancel the trip due to COVID-19 infection, the Guide will refund the Client’s money or transfer it to another trip.

    Secure your spot for the following season with a 10% deposit! This tour gets sold out very quickly, but with early-bird booking, you’ll be the first one to know. Pick the month that suits you best and we’ll let you know once the dates are live—don’t risk missing out on your bucket list adventure!

      • Only 10% of the total amount should be paid as a deposit upon booking. This deposit is non-refundable, but can be transferred to another 57hours adventure anytime in case the dates don’t suit you.
      • Once the set dates for the following season are live, you can confirm your booking by the end of this year by paying another 20% of the total amount.
      • The final balance is due 3 months (90 days) prior to departure.
      • Once the trip has been confirmed, the regular cancellation policy applies.
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