Author Topic: TRs - Orkney  (Read 7369 times)

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #15 on: 06:59:52, 05/07/18 »

Thanks for the feedback, Ilona, adalard, pdstsp, dovegirl.


Some particularly good walking opportunities from Birsay, Ilona; the coast is spectacular around there, particularly Marwick Head and the walk to Costa Head. Don't miss the Brough of Birsay either, but check your tide times - people do get stranded.
« Last Edit: 08:12:28, 05/07/18 by richardh1905 »

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #16 on: 07:24:13, 05/07/18 »


DINGIES HOWE TO ROSE NESS 04/07/18
 
The haar was swirling in on the easterly breeze, but I felt the need to get out as I had had a lazy day yesterday, so off I went with my dog, Tess; my destination for the day the clifftops to the south of Dingies Howe, and the Rose Ness headland further south still.
 

 
Dingies Howe is one of the best beaches on Orkney Mainland, and I am lucky enough to live nearby, so no need for the car. Not at itís best in the mist, though. From the beach I headed SW beneath some crumbling cliffs along a stumbly rocky shore; impassable at high tide; visibility poor with the cliffs looming out of the mist. Spotted some very long lichen growing on the rocks, a sign of good air quality.


   
An inauspicious start                                                                     Lichen
 
Also spotted a lot of plastic pollution, and, feeling zealous, I started picking up drinks bottles, only stopping when I could squeeze no more into my rucksack - 17 in all! I could easily have picked up twice as many from this short section alone. Although light; they did not make good walking companions - they creaked and scrawked as they rubbed against one another with every step that I took!
 
After passing below Stembister Farm, I climbed up a grassy bank and followed the coast southwards; the cliffs gradually increasing in height. I soon left the arable land behind and entered the land of cottongrass and heather; the haar may have hampered my attempts at photography, but it certainly added an extra feeling of remoteness to the clifftops.
 
   
Mist shrouded cliffs
 
The cliffs are home to breeding birds, fulmars and guillemots, and higher up I heard the call of geese, and was delighted to see goslings in the grass by the cliff edge - an example of why it is so important that people keep their dogs on a lead. These were Graylag Geese, which visit Orkney in huge numbers in winter before most of them head north in spring - but a few remain to breed.
 

 
The cliffs were at their highest here, some 45m, and I descended southwards, following a flock of sheep (and their accompanying flies) that I drove before me along the clifftop path. Eventually some farm buildings appeared out of the mist, and, shortly afterwards, a path heading inland through the fields to my right; my return route.
 
I continued southwards along the shore, the haar thinning somewhat. I was now on the Rose Ness headland, which juts out into the North Sea at the southern extremity of Orkney Mainland. I passed the old stone navigational beacon, a strikingly geometric shape looming out of the mist, and then the current lighthouse; solar powered with an LED lantern, as are most lighthouses nowadays.
 
 
The old and the new
 
And then, as if by magic, I was out of the mist! I continued round the headland, the cliffs being replaced by a cobbly shore, and then the beautiful Sands of Cornquoy; not a soul in sight.
 

 
A farm track headed inland, and became a road. It was starting to get hot now, so I gave Tess (and myself) some water at a minor crossroads - she can drink a lot! I took the minor road to the north, before picking up the path that I mentioned earlier and returning to the coast.


Looking back to Rose Ness, the beacon on the skyline, South Ronaldsay beyond

Although I was retracing my steps, the walk back was an absolute delight, as the haar had lifted from even the highest cliffs, and I was able to indulge myself with the phone camera; the cliffs and sea stacks, of which there are several, are spectacular.




The cliffs at their highest


Castle of Claisdie

The cottongrass looked even more lovely in the sun, quite the densest that I can ever remember seeing. Passed several sea stacks, and spotted a black backed gull squabbling with a bonxie (great skua) - the black back won, but we were buzzed by the bonxie!
 

 
Just after Stembister, I headed inland past a duck pond (Tess drank her fill, but the duck made a sharp exit). This route is useful if the tide is up and it is not possible to pass beneath the cliffs back to Dingies Howe. The minor roads took me through arable farmland; waving fields of barley; cattle and buttercups, with fine views to the north.
 

 
A couple of hundred yards of walking along the main road took me back to Dingies Howe beach; just a few tourists about (normally I have the place to myself). There is a public toilet here, and it is a good place to (semi) wild camp.
 

 
The route described from Dingies Howe to Rose Ness and back again is about 9 miles long; I walked somewhat further as I walked directly from my house - how lucky I am to have this on my doorstep!
 

Tess on home turf
« Last Edit: 15:36:02, 05/07/18 by richardh1905 »

Jac

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #17 on: 07:39:12, 05/07/18 »
Another lovely walk - I enjoyed every mile and it looks like Tess did too!
So many paths, so little time

fit old bird

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #18 on: 12:54:54, 05/07/18 »
All that open space, with hardly anyone about. That's my kind of walking. Thanks for posting, sending a link to this thread to my friend in Birsay.  Love your dog.


ilona

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #19 on: 13:25:12, 06/07/18 »
Enjoying your photos of Orkney    :)    The coast looks delightfully remote and peaceful

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #20 on: 18:16:58, 06/07/18 »



Thanks again for your comments, Jac, ilona, dovegirl.


This wonderful section of coastline appears to be one of Orkney's best kept secrets; I have never met anyone on it, and there is hardly any sign of a path along the top of the cliffs to the south of Stembister farm. Nobody goes there - which suits me just fine  :)


« Last Edit: 18:30:42, 06/07/18 by richardh1905 »

Thedogsmother

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #21 on: 22:34:47, 13/09/18 »
I really enjoyed reading this post and looking at the pictures. What wonderful walks youíve had.
When I visited I fell in love with Orkney and some day Iím going to return. I just loved the sheer open space and beautiful coast and the birdlife (I experienced the wrath of the Bonxies first hand!)
A walk is only a step away from a story, and every path tells

Ridge

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #22 on: 09:26:30, 14/09/18 »
Great pictures and reports Richard, I don't know how I missed them in July.
Over hill, over dale. Thorough brush, thorough brier....
I do wander every where

gary m

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #23 on: 22:17:19, 14/09/18 »
Lovely set of photos
you have 1 life live it

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #24 on: 08:49:28, 16/09/18 »
I really enjoyed reading this post and looking at the pictures. What wonderful walks youíve had.
When I visited I fell in love with Orkney and some day Iím going to return. I just loved the sheer open space and beautiful coast and the birdlife (I experienced the wrath of the Bonxies first hand!)



Thanks Thedogsmother, Ridge, gary m.


Terns are worse than Bonxies - they will make contact!


I'll have to post some more walks and photos on this thread.

vizzavona

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #25 on: 13:07:54, 16/09/18 »

I too missed this first time around.
I very fine island to visit although my own visit was very brief....a kind of whistles-stop tour that  included a visit to the Old Man with his creaking limbs an over night in the camping in Stromness followed by a day down on the sea cliffs of South Ronaldsay before getting the ferry back to John o'Groats.  I wonder where the ship carrying the captured Protestants was heading for...North America?  Brave souls who were trying to shake off the Papacy from their lives....fairly soon after following the rebellion a few decades later did this come about.
   I seem to recall when walking down to the cliffs that there was something to visit regarding an eagles tomb? I didn't have time to look at this. 

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #26 on: 11:48:46, 17/09/18 »
Yes, there is a Tomb of the Eagles burial chamber in South Ronaldsay, also another one found nearby fairly recently, the Tomb of the Otters (they found otter bones in it).

fit old bird

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #27 on: 16:29:09, 18/09/18 »
Thanks for the feedback, Ilona, adalard, pdstsp, dovegirl.

Some particularly good walking opportunities from Birsay, Ilona; the coast is spectacular around there, particularly Marwick Head and the walk to Costa Head. Don't miss the Brough of Birsay either, but check your tide times - people do get stranded.


I'm back now. Marwick Head was great, I walked to the lighthouse, over the causeway, didn't get stranded, and my friends showed me a lot of places, we had some short walks. It was very windy. I wrote blog posts while I was away, now I am drip feeding them to my blog.
ilona

richardh1905

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #28 on: 17:01:31, 17/01/19 »
A walk with the seals - Barth Head, South Ronaldsay

A belated trip report of a short walk on South Ronaldsay one fine sunny day in November last year.



We parked near the end of the road at Sandside, and walked down the track to the shore, along a boulder fringed beach to the start of the cliffs beyond. These gradually increased in height as we walked south, and we started to see grey seals with their pups in the rocky coves below. Some real 'David Attenborough' moments as we cautiously approached the cliff edge to spy on them below, dog under strict control. We could hear their cries echoing off the cliffs, and spotted some interesting activity such as fin slapping and a pup suckling. Magical. We even saw one pup swimming in the sea with it's mother - unfortunately my phone camera not really up to capturing the moment.


Seals on the beach, the Hoy hills in the distance.


Mother and pup having a swim!

The views improved as we headed south, and I could make out distant mountains on the Scottish mainland - Ben Loyal, Ben Hope and beyond. I always experience a quickening of the pulse when I see these magnificent hills across the water from Orkney. Again, difficult to capture with a phone camera, but here goes:


Dunnet Head, Ben Loyal, Ben Hope and the hills of the Far North West.

My wife and son turned back shortly after, but I carried on southwards with the dog, with the promise of a pick up at Burwick. A pity that they turned back as the coastline was getting more and more dramatic.


Barth Head into the sun.


Park Head and Stackabank - and more seals on the beach.

The path headed inland a short distance after this, to cross a burn, and it would have been possible to gain the shore here but I was mindful that the dog would panic the seals. The path then climbed up to Barth Head, which is a great tooth of contorted rock sticking out into the southern approaches of Scapa Flow. I put a spurt on as I did not want to keep my wife waiting at Burwick, so galloped over the remaining clifftops, which gradually diminished in height after Barth Head.


Barth Head from the south.


The view south towards Burwick, Pentland Skerries lighthouse just visible.

Arrived at Burwick ferry terminal just a few minutes before my pickup - almost perfect timing. A delightful 5 miles.

South Ronaldsay has paths around a lot of it's coast, and I plan to link all the paths together in springtime - a good 20 miles or so.
« Last Edit: 08:03:55, 18/01/19 by richardh1905 »

April

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Re: TRs - Orkney
« Reply #29 on: 18:51:09, 17/01/19 »
Lovely shots Richard - especially the Park Head and Stackabank photo  O0
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong