4.5 of 5 (7 votes)

Northern Hoy

A moderate walk (countryside) in Orkney, Scotland, about 14.67km (9.12 mi) long with an estimated walking time of about 4:00. It is unsuitable for families with children, prams & pushchairs, wheelchairs.
Elevation Profile
Gain 137m (449ft)
Loss 138m (452ft)
Max. Elevation 190m (623ft)
Elevation (total) 275m (901ft)
Start & End
Moaness Pier
Distance 14.67km
(9.12mi)
Duration ~4:00
Difficulty  
Moderate
Created by Anonymous Walker on 13 Jul 2011
It's a different kind of car-free walking in the Orkneys; you will be addicted to ferry timetables, rather than bus or trains (although there are good bus services around the islands too). And these ferries are a treat in themselves - wildlife is plentiful in the waters around the Orkneys, so keep a keen eye on the water. The walk itself takes you around the hilly northern end of Hoy, from the pier. The Orkneys are famous for their seabirds and keen birders will love the walk. It's a simple walk in terms of navigation, but as ever, worth coming prepared for all weathers. And keep an eye on the time too; the ferries don't wait!

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Walk Map

Waypoints

OS Grid HY244039
Take the passenger ferry from Stromness to Moaness Pier on Hoy. Keep an eye out for basking sharks and dolphins as you cross. To check times visit: www.orkneyferries.co.uk
Towards Cuilags About 1.36 km (~0.85 miles) from
OS Grid HY231037
The northern end of Hoy is very hilly - the name Hoy means 'high' - and you follow the road from the pier down towards the Cuilag. You will also pass Hoy parish church.
Sandy Loch About 1.24 km (~0.77 miles) from
OS Grid HY219032
Continue to Sandy Loch. The Orkneys are rich with wild flowers, and you will see plenty on your way to the loch. Continue through the Rackwick Valley.
Berriedale Wood About 2.71 km (~1.68 miles) from
OS Grid HY206009
The path follows the glen between Cuilags and Ward Hill, through Hoy Nature Reserve. It goes without saying that you will see plenty of birdlife. After about 2.5km you will reach Berriedale Wood - the most northerly patch of woodland in Britain.
Rackwick About 1.75 km (~1.09 miles) from
OS Grid ND201992
Continue to Rackwick for lunch on the beach at Too of the Head, with views to the mainland on a clear day.
South of Ward Hill About 1.64 km (~1.02 miles) from
OS Grid HY214001
The route back follows the road south of Ward Hill - don't worry, it's not busy - so follow it out from Rackwick.
Dwarfie Stane About 2.84 km (~1.76 miles) from
OS Grid HY242008
After 2.5km, you will see a short side path to the Dwarfie Stane. This is a rock-cut tomb dating back to 3000BC, showing how long these islands have been inhabited.
Bay of Quoys About 2.07 km (~1.29 miles) from
OS Grid HY242029
Pause at the Bay of Quoys for a spot of wildlife watching in Burra Sound, with Graemsay the island across the water.
Hoy again About 1.06 km (~0.66 miles) from
OS Grid HY241039
Back to the pier for the ferry to Stromness.

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