Author Topic: TRs - Orkney  (Read 8073 times)

April

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #45 on: 13:21:58, 22/01/19 »
More fab photos Richard  O0

You have to be a bit more on the ball with this thread, more pics are added when you aren't looking  ;)
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #46 on: 15:27:03, 22/01/19 »
Great photos and I especially like the view from the coastal path across Scapa Flow to the hills of Hoy  O0


Thanks Innominate - that's my favourite. It was a magical half mile or so.


More fab photos Richard  O0
You have to be a bit more on the ball with this thread, more pics are added when you aren't looking  ;)



Thanks April - I want to keep all my Orkney walks on one thread to make it easier for anyone planning on coming up this way to find them.

pdstsp

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #47 on: 23:04:57, 22/01/19 »
Lovely stuff again Richard. I really do want to go back to Orkney , we only spent a few days on the islands but loved them, and you're reports are fuelling the plans.

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #48 on: 21:28:53, 23/01/19 »

Thanks pdstsp.


May and June are the best months - wild flowers at their best, very long days, birds nesting - and there's a folk festival on in late May, if you are into that kind of thing.

Jac

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #49 on: 09:46:15, 24/01/19 »



Thanks pdstsp.
May and June are the best months - wild flowers at their best, very long days, birds nesting - and there's a folk festival on in late May, if you are into that kind of thing.



If you camp, be warned - in the long daylight of midsummer the birds take a short nap around 2330 hrs then the dawn chorus starts by 0100 and those oystercatchers are very noisy, luv em O0
So many paths, so little time

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #50 on: 22:03:08, 26/01/19 »
If you camp, be warned - in the long daylight of midsummer the birds take a short nap around 2330 hrs then the dawn chorus starts by 0100 and those oystercatchers are very noisy, luv em O0



I love lying in my tent listening to the birds in the night - curlews, lapwings - even the ****** oystercatchers  :)
« Last Edit: 07:53:33, 27/01/19 by richardh1905 »

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #51 on: 15:47:20, 27/01/19 »
Kirkwall, Wideford Hill, Scapa Bay, Crantit Trail - 23rd January 2019

Despite snow showers being forecast I decided to go for a decent walk starting from Kirkwall. The weather was not ideal for photography, but I have decided to do a trip report as this route may be of interest to anyone visiting Orkney.



See the route on Viewranger HERE

I parked outside the Pickaquoy Sports Centre, and headed off up a minor road to the west. This led to Muddisdale, where thousands of trees were planted about 20 years ago; nice to see them growing so well. The decent path then skirts a golf course and passes between fields before joining the Sunnybank Road. A short section of road walking led to a track that took me up to a reservoir, where some major works have being going on. A route to the right took me onto the open hillside, past a small radar installation - a reminder that Kirkwall is a working port. It was starting to snow now, and I could hardly make out the radio masts at the top of Wideford Hill.


The heathery slopes of Wideford Hill

The path was boggy lower down, but soon led pleasantly through heather towards the summit. The snow eased, and I had fine views to the south and west.


The view NW; Holm of Grimbister and Damsay (the islands) with the snow clad Firth Hills beyond


Keelyang Hill (with masts), Ward Hill and Mid Hill beyond


A lone oil rig in Scapa Flow

A faint path descends south from the trig point through more heather, but I soon had to join the minor road that leads down the hill - had to watch my step because of the snow! Past a messy farm then took a minor single track road that headed south towards Scapa Flow for a mile or so - was passed by only one car. I had to walk a short section of a main road but was soon able to turn off past the Foveran Restaurant (good but pricey), from where a track led down to the shore. This path is part of the St Magnus Way.


Scapa Flow shore; a rusting winch

After a snack on the shore, I turned NE and followed the path along the low clifftops. I was delighted to see some primroses in flower, and also my first lesser celandine of the year.

Lesser Celandine

The path passes the Scapa Distillery before descending to the beach at Scapa. This is composed of beautiful fine honey coloured sand - a good opportunity for the dog to have a run and a dig.


Scapa Bay


Scapa Beach, Wideford Hill in the distance

My route turned inland here, past coastguard buildings then along the Crantit Trail though meadows. A mile skirting through the western edge of Kirkwall led me back to the car.

10.5 miles in 4 hours 15 minutes, a good way to spend half a day.
« Last Edit: 22:39:18, 27/01/19 by richardh1905 »

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #52 on: 22:43:38, 29/01/19 »
Binscarth Woods, Hills of Firth   28/01/19

Snow showers forecast but I couldn’t resist going out with the dog over a low range of hills to the north of Finstown - new territory for me.



After parking in Finstown, next to the best burger van in Orkney, I walked up through the village and then took a snow covered track across a field to Binscarth Woods. This is the best patch of woodland on Mainland Orkney, planted in the mid 19th century (More details HERE). The woods are a haven for birds and are delightful in spring time with masses of flowers, which appear in succession. The snowdrops were just coming out, but were rather lost in the snow!


Binscarth Woods

A path branches off the main stony track to the left - this follows a burn up through the woods, and is recommended in the summer, but it was a quagmire so I avoided it on this occasion. No matter - the main track up through the woods is very pleasant, but all too soon it joins the gravel road flanked by wind twisted trees leading to Binscarth House. After a few hundred yards, where the road takes a sharp turn to the right. a path continues straight ahead: this leads below a gorse covered hillside to the Loch of Wasdale. Instead of taking the path, I followed the road around the bend, and then went through a gate to the left just before the road enters the grounds of Binscarth House. This track climbed pleasantly up through rough grassland, zigzagging up the hillside, fine views unfolding as I climbed. There are a number of small quarries marked on the 1:25000 OS map - once I reached the start of the ridge I traversed off to the left to investigate a line of these small scale excavations. The only thing of interest was a carefully built conical cairn perched on top of one of the spoil tips.



Leaving the cairn, I struck out directly uphill and soon regained the crest of the ridge, which was easy going over short grass at this stage. The Hoy Hills looked very dramatic.


Hoy from Cuffie Hill

I passed a trig point just below the summit of Cuffie Hill, and soon afterwards entered the heather - this was short at first but soon the going became tough, a mixture of heather, moss and wiry moorland grass that ‘gave’ every time I stepped on it. No choice but to plod on, but the ground got even worse, and it started to snow, which gave the moors a very remote feel. No sign of any path whatsoever, and I enjoyed the feeling of being well off the beaten track, despite the hard going.


Tess enjoying the snow

Eventually I reached the top of Burrien Hill, disturbing a couple of grouse on the way, and then followed a line of fence posts to Rowamo, the snow easing. More rough ground led me to an ice fringed pool named Verigens on the OS map; a delightful spot in the middle of nowhere.


Verigens

It was downhill from here on, and I was looking forward to an easy descent to the minor road crossing the Lyde, but as I descended the enigmatically named Braes of Aglath, the heather got deeper and deeper, at times up to my knees. Again, no option but to keep plodding on. The vegetation changed, with first sedge and then dwarf willows appearing, quite a lush feel to it. After having to climb in and out of an old peat bank, I struggled across a bog and finally gained the road - what a relief!


Descending the Braes of Aglath to the Lyde road. Very rough going lower down!

I turned eastwards and the road soon began to drop down to Rendall. My route back to Finstown was along the quiet Redland Road, an easy and pleasant few miles running beneath the Firth Hills that was not without interest - quite a lot of tree planting has gone on here over the years, and there were good views across the Bay of Firth towards Wideford Hill.

 
A fine tree                                                                              A fine beast


The Bay of Firth with Wideford Hill beyond

I was on a bit of a mission now as I wanted a lunch time burger; sadly I was to be disappointed, as the burger van was shut!

9 miles, tough going in places.
Note that the heather moors will be vigorously defended by Bonxies during the nesting season.
« Last Edit: 16:26:55, 30/01/19 by richardh1905 »