Author Topic: TRs - Orkney  (Read 8497 times)

Dovegirl

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #30 on: 19:32:52, 17/01/19 »
Great photos Richard    :)   

The geology looks very striking on the one of Barth Head from the south

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #31 on: 23:32:09, 17/01/19 »

Thanks April, Dovegirl.

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #32 on: 08:11:52, 18/01/19 »
The geology is interesting in this area. The strata dip steeply down to the west on this section of the South Ronaldsay coast, yet just a few miles to the west on the island of Swona, and on parts of the east coast of South Ronaldsay, the strata dips down equally steeply to the EAST. And the rocks around Barth Head are strangely contorted - powerful forces of nature in action at some time in the distant past.

Ridge

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #33 on: 08:24:01, 18/01/19 »
More lovely photos Richard  O0
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

Innominate Man

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #34 on: 10:03:26, 18/01/19 »
Fabulous TRs & photos Richard.
The views, geology, wildlife, sea-scapes & sky-scapes ++++++  is just fabulous. Any single item alone would be worthy of merit, but all together ... what a place to live   O0
Only a hill but all of life to me, up there between the sunset and the sea. 
Geoffrey Winthrop Young

Jac

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #35 on: 10:27:48, 18/01/19 »
Gorgeous pics. Orkney has it all- geology, archaeology, birds, sea, music and space to breath.
So many paths, so little time

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #36 on: 12:53:47, 18/01/19 »
Thank you for your replies, Ridge, Innominate Man and Jac.

I had a magnificent walk yesterday in a different part of Orkney, so another TR incoming very soon - I've decided to make more of an effort with them. And I've just been out for a lovely 8 mile walk with the dog today, the long way around to the local shop to get some bread and milk. Glorious sunshine.


..but there is a downside - the weather here can be utterly unspeakable on dark winter evenings, and the dog needs walking. Recently had gales gusting to 90mph - quite exhilarating to be out in (away from the clifftops, of course), good to get out, whatever the weather.


Edit - and I do miss forests and big mountains. Still - can't have everything, and a great sense of community here.
« Last Edit: 11:53:55, 19/01/19 by richardh1905 »

Oldtramp

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #37 on: 17:54:42, 20/01/19 »
Thanks, Richard.  A trip to Orkney is on the (ever-expanding) Bucket List, mostly to see the archeology.  But this is giving lots of ideas as to how to fill a week of walking.

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #38 on: 17:58:27, 20/01/19 »
Thanks for the feedback Oldtramp - glad that you are finding my posts useful.  :)

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #39 on: 17:58:45, 20/01/19 »
Orphir Coast Walk and Ward Hill  - 17 January 2019

I’ve decided to up my game a bit in 2019 and take advantage of my early retirement by doing a lot more walking during a week - longer walks as opposed to the usual few miles with the dog. Being retired, and having all of Orkney Mainland within a short drive gives me lots of opportunities, and I’m planning to string together shorter walks into decent longer routes.



I had been on a few such longer walks so far this year, but the weather had made the results of my photography lacklustre, or I didn’t think that the route was good enough to write about. However, after a night of being kept awake by heavy wintry showers rattling the Velux window of our bedroom, the morning dawned bright and sunny, with scattered showers; an absolutely beautiful day for a walk. After dropping my son off at school, I drove across to Orphir Village, slowly as the road west was covered in hard packed snow.

I parked behind the Kirk in the village, and walked down the snow covered single track road towards the coast, away from my ultimate objective, Ward Hill.


Looking back towards Ward Hill

Tess, our spaniel, was pulling like a train as usual, threatening to drag me off my feet on the snow covered road at times - she’s normally like this at the start of a walk, but does calm down. Beautiful views across Scapa Flow, with the sun casting rays across the sky from behind a cloud, and of the snow covered hills to the west, including the higher hills on Hoy. The road passes through typical Orkney farming country, grassy fields with wire fences and dry stone dykes, but then passes some small patches of woodland - wind contorted sycamores being the dominant species. I took a small diversion through one of these woods, before popping out onto the road again.


Trees do grow in Orkney !

At the end of the road there is a small car park, and a path leads through crofts to the shore. The shore path westwards was delightful, the sun was sparkling off Scapa Flow, and the views towards the snow clad Hoy Hills were spectacular. All was good with the world. This path is part of the St Magnus Way long distance path, that runs for 55 miles in 5 stages from the Broch of Gurness near Tingwall, to Kirkwall, inspired by the route that the remains of St Magnus were taken on their way from the island of Egilsay to Kirkwall Cathedral. https://www.stmagnusway.com/. I like the idea that participants are ‘pilgrims’ rather than walkers, and I quite fancy doing the route over two days - a good challenge for me.


The hills of Hoy from the coast path.

This short section above low cliffs ends all too quickly, and I descended to a shingly bay before turning inland to the remains of the Orphir ‘Round Kirk’ http://orkneyjar.com/history/or-chrch.htm, built in the late 11th or early 12th century. So much history in Orkney.


The remains of the Round Kirk

I turned west along a snow covered minor road, long shadows cast across it by the low winter sun, before reaching the ‘A’ road running between Kirkwall and the small ferry terminal at Howton, the site of a flying boat base during the war. The subsequent mile of road walking to Scorradale (marked Crya on the map for some reason) was the only real flaw in my planned route, but there was hardly any traffic - I was still glad to turn off up the hill at Scorradale though. The walk up the minor road through Scorradale village and the moors beyond was very pleasant - stopped to say hello to a horse poking it’s head out of some stables, and to admire some gorse in bloom. Behind me, views of Scapa Flow unfolded.


Scapa Flow from the Scorradale Road

At the top of the pass, there were fine views across to the town of Stromness, of the small island of Graemsay with it's two lighthouses, and of the hills of North Hoy (Ward Hill and Cuilags). A heavy winter shower was sweeping across Hoy Sound towards Hoy, a very dramatic sight. I was glad that it wasn’t coming my way as it looked quite violent.


Hoy Hills with heavy shower approaching!

I took an old peat road to the north, and then followed a path marked by a cairn to the right - this led me eastwards through heather up to the top of the Hill of Dale, all of 150m high, but a fine viewpoint nonetheless.


Ward Hill from Hill of Dale, rickety stile in the foreground!

I had to cross a taut barbed wire fence by means of a rickety stile, difficult with a struggling spaniel under your arm! My route north west was over trackless heather moor, but I soon re-joined the peat road, which skirted NE along the slopes of Gruf Hill, petering out before I reached a track running below Ward Hill.


The path to Ward Hill.

Another peat road tackled the slopes of Ward Hill directly, and after a short steep haul I emerged at the summit, which is marked by a metal cone on a post, an old navigational marker for shipping. Ward Hill at 268m is not quite the highest point on Orkney Mainland, that honour belongs to Mid Hill (275m), a half mile plod over featureless moorland to the north. I couldn’t be bothered, as Ward Hill is a much finer viewpoint, so I sat down on a heathery bank beneath the cone in the sunshine to have a quick snack. The Loch of Stenness and the farmlands of West Mainland stretched away to my right, with the lower coastal hills beyond. In front of me, I could see over the lower hills that I had walked over, to the hills of Hoy, and to the left was Scapa Flow, an oil rig moored in the distance, with the low South Isles beyond.


The cone at the top of Ward Hill

I descended quickly down the track to the junction, before turning east and descending past a firing range to Orphir Village, emerging onto the main road less than half a mile from my car.

An excellent circular walk of 8.5 miles, which took me 3 hours 15 minutes to complete.
« Last Edit: 23:12:11, 20/01/19 by richardh1905 »

sunnydale

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #40 on: 19:59:15, 21/01/19 »
Another lovely set of photos Richard O0
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Ridge

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #41 on: 20:08:11, 21/01/19 »
Now with added pictures!
Looks an amazing place to live.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

vghikers

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #42 on: 20:55:32, 21/01/19 »
Great varied walks and clear pictures there, you seem to be getting some sunshine, more than here of late.

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #43 on: 08:05:46, 22/01/19 »
Thanks Sunnydale, Ridge, vghikers. :)

Great varied walks and clear pictures there, you seem to be getting some sunshine, more than here of late.


The weather has been variable, to be honest - this walk was on a particularly good day. I'm out every day - most days dull and cloudy, and my waterproofs have certainly been tested this winter!


And I expect that I'll get wet this morning as I head over the clifftops with the dog... ::) 
« Last Edit: 08:35:24, 22/01/19 by richardh1905 »

Innominate Man

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #44 on: 10:28:27, 22/01/19 »
Great photos and I especially like the view from the coastal path across Scapa Flow to the hills of Hoy  O0
Only a hill but all of life to me, up there between the sunset and the sea. 
Geoffrey Winthrop Young