Author Topic: TRs - Orkney  (Read 6837 times)

richardh1905

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TRs - Orkney
« on: 10:29:25, 03/07/18 »


Orkney may not an obvious destination for wild walking, but there are many excellent shorter walks along cliff tops and across moorland that can be strung together to make a good day out. Iíve decided to share some of them with you on this thread. Hereís the first trip report:

 
Mull Head - so good that I did it twice! (28 & 30/06/18 )
 
Mull Head nature reserve is on the far eastern side of Orkney Mainland, on a peninsular called Deerness. Many tourists flock to see the Gloup, a yawning pit in the ground connected to the sea through a cave, but not many make it far into the reserve itself. Also incorporated into this walk is the Covenanterís Memorial, located on a wild stretch of shore.



 
I walked to Mull Head on Thursday with my wife, and enjoyed it so much that I went back and did a longer version of the walk on Saturday, incorporating the Covenanters Memorial; just me and the dog. Iíll describe my second walk; going clockwise (although the photos are from both).
 
After parking in the Gloup car park, I left the tourists behind and headed N up a farm track, past the visitor centre (toilets) and then left past some willow woodland, and on through arable farmland over the top of a slight rise (farm track not marked on the OS map, but there is a waymarked path starting at the car park). On Thursday afternoon we rescued this little fella by the woods; caught up on a barbed wire fence in the hot sun - recovered fine, Iím happy to report.


   
 
I continued on over the rise, following farm tracks and flower strewn paths, through typical Orkney farmland; buttercups, cows - and wind turbines.

   
 
Turning right at the Covenanters Memorial car park, I followed a path down to the remote north shore. Whilst walking down the path, I was struck by the delightful realization that Ďthis is what I do nowí (after taking voluntary redundancy and early retirement a few months ago).




   
Covenanters Memorial                                              Looking west along the north shore of Deerness

The northern coast of Deerness has a remote feel to it, despite the first section being adjoined by farmland. The path heads ENE along the cliff tops towards the heather moors of the nature reserve. Once on the heather, the walk starts to feel really wild. Several delightful but inaccessible coves below.


 
The highest point of Mull Head is marked by a trig point; a fine viewpoint, but I prefer the stone cairn right on the end of the headland (Chip of the Mull). The islands of Auskerry and Copinsay with their lighthouses can be seen from here (Copinsay below in the distance).



 
Southwards now, and the coastal scenery becomes more spectacular; the path passes a horrible cleft in the ground, Riven Trangie, from which prehistoric bird cries echo and the stench of guano emanates. A forbidding but strangely fascinating spot.






Cottongrass
 
The path continues southwards along clifftops and across moorland to the Brough of Deerness, a rocky headland upon which there are the remains of a Viking settlement and chapel. The path up is a bit rocky and exposed, and I didnít take the dog up, but I do recommend it.





North from below the Brough of Deerness

From here it is only about half a mile over grassy heath to the Gloup, which you are unlikely to have to yourself unless you are early or late in the day. The Gloup is only a few hundred yards from the car park.


 
The Gloup                                                             Is it cheating to use dog power?
 
Distance - about 5.5 miles or so; allow 2.5 hours or more for photography, detours to the shore etc.


More to come soon :)
« Last Edit: 19:52:13, 03/07/18 by richardh1905 »

Jac

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Re: TRs - Orkney short walks
« Reply #1 on: 11:14:01, 03/07/18 »
I really must make the effort to visit again. Lovely pics and yes, dog power a is perfectly legitimate way of ascending. Maybe not so useful when descending.
So many paths, so little time

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #2 on: 11:22:01, 03/07/18 »

I really must make the effort to visit again. Lovely pics and yes, dog power a is perfectly legitimate way of ascending. Maybe not so useful when descending.


Thanks Jac.


Dog power can be downright dangerous when descending a steep slope!
« Last Edit: 19:45:24, 03/07/18 by richardh1905 »

Mel

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #3 on: 21:54:13, 03/07/18 »
Lovely pictures and descriptions richardh1905.  I loved the cottongrass pic and the inaccessible secret cove  O0
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)
https://snailspacewalks.blogspot.co.uk/

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #4 on: 22:23:23, 03/07/18 »

Thanks for the feedback, Mel. I took a close up of the cottongrass.

Trufula Trees


Orkney can be stunning - just took this shot a few minutes ago:
« Last Edit: 08:20:42, 04/07/18 by richardh1905 »

April

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #5 on: 23:18:25, 03/07/18 »
Nice pics Richard  O0 Looks like a great area, I know nowt about Orkney I have to admit  :)
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

sunnydale

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #6 on: 07:51:11, 04/07/18 »
That looks fab!  Just love the coast and always looking for new areas to explore O0
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beefy

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #7 on: 08:22:50, 04/07/18 »
Lovely pics,
Looks like a great place to fly a drone  ;D
DRIP COFFINS  :D

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #8 on: 08:28:00, 04/07/18 »

Lovely pics,
Looks like a great place to fly a drone  ;D


Thanks for the feedback, beefy


People do fly drones in Orkney, and take some great shots, but you have to pick your day - it can be VERY windy! I was at an open day on an old WW2 airfield a couple of years back - drone display cancelled due to wind; not a particularly windy day by Orkney standards either. Most of the last couple of weeks have been perfect though. :)

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #9 on: 08:38:08, 04/07/18 »

Thanks for the feedback, April, sunnydale.


Orkney is not an obvious destination for keen walkers, especially when you consider the effort needed to get here, but it can be very rewarding. Most of the walks are short, and not far from arable land, but there are exceptions:

- The island of Hoy is very wild; a day out as a foot passenger on the ferry over steep Cuilags, past the massive St Johns Head cliffs and along the cliff edge to the Old Man of Hoy, down to beautiful Rackwick Bay, and back to the ferry by the glen is one to remember, and no easy option (I must post a belated TR). Hoy great for wild camping - I fancy an 'end to end' trip with a wild camp at Rackwick Bay.

- Coastal path down the west coast of Orkney Mainland, from Brough of Birsay (tidal island) to Stromness. A long day, or a wild camping opportunity. This could be extended by starting at Costa Head.

- St Magnus Way - 51 miles through a variety of Orkney countryside. Participants are pilgrims, not walkers! (I intend doing this)

- South Ronaldsay is almost encircled by a coastal path; again I must try and do this; perhaps with a wild camp.
« Last Edit: 08:41:24, 04/07/18 by richardh1905 »

beefy

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #10 on: 08:56:12, 04/07/18 »

- The island of Hoy is very wild; a day out as a foot passenger on the ferry over steep Cuilags, past the massive St Johns Head cliffs and along the cliff edge to the Old Man of Hoy, down to beautiful Rackwick Bay, and back to the ferry by the glen is one to remember, and no easy option (I must post a belated TR). Hoy great for wild camping - I fancy an 'end to end' trip with a wild camp at Rackwick Bay.
I'll look forward to this one  O0
DRIP COFFINS  :D

fit old bird

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #11 on: 09:07:35, 04/07/18 »
Thanks for this, now I'm getting excited. I will be staying at my friends house at Birsay in September. Looking forward to it.  :)


ilona

adalard

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #12 on: 09:39:08, 04/07/18 »
Very enjoyable trip report and cracking photos, Richard.  O0


The coastline looks breathtaking and I loved the photo of the cotton grass - it's one of my favourite sights up on the moors around here.  :)

pdstsp

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #13 on: 18:47:00, 04/07/18 »
Great pics Richard - brings back many happy memories of a four day trip to these wonderful islands a couple of years ago.  We chose the easy option on Hoy of driving to the car park at Rackwick and walking up the Old Man from there - just wonderful scenery.  Mrs pdstsp wasn't keen on the idea of walking over from the ferry!

Dovegirl

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #14 on: 22:04:51, 04/07/18 »
Great photos    :)    The coastal scenery looks wonderful