4 days / 3 nights
4 Day Trip and Trek
COST: £685pp for 4 days - includes travel by road from Edinburgh to Orkney (& return), ferries, B&B accommodation, with guided hikes and admission to all the major places of interest. The cost per person is based on two sharing a room. With single supplement, the total cost is £730. Prices exclude food & drinks other than breakfast.
The journey itself kicks off our adventure, travelling up into the Highlands via Dunkeld, former ecclesiastical capital of Scotland, then over the wild Drumochter Pass, along the fringe of the Cairngorms Mountains before reaching Inverness. Due to the distance travelled, we will be leaving Edinburgh at 8am. A visit to the Pictish stones en route on the Fearn Peninsula will provide an appreciation of the art of this mystical culture. Before boarding the Orkney ferry, an easy hike to view the Duncansby sea stacks will help to refresh us after a long journey, (although breaks will be made along the way).
Accommodation is on the main island of Orkney, providing easy access to a whole range of outings over the next two days that include visiting the following major Neolithic sites:
Skara Brae’s 5000 year old village (incorporating a 4km breathtaking hike along the cliff tops)
The impressive Ring of Brodgar in its inspirational setting on a narrow land isthmus with lochs on either side under a big sky.
The gigantic Stones of Stenness
Maeshowe burial chamber with monumental interior formed of colossal stone slabs, inscribed with the grafitti of Vikings runes.
a short hike over to the Brough of Birsay, a tidal island rich in Pictish and early Christian history and archaeological remains
the Pictish village of Gurness with its broch (a high status prehistoric tower residence) is in a coastal location by the straits over to the Isle of Rousay.
St Magnus Cathedral (named after a local saint martyred by a rival Viking lord).
Bishop & Earl’s Palaces in the heart of medieval Kirkwall
Whilst on the main island we will explore its two main towns of Kirkwall and Stromness, both are sea ports with a distinctive and individualistic style, shaped by the Vikings. Further outing options to choose from (admissions not included in the price can be:
Tomb of the Eagles, accessed by foot along the cliff tops and then by lying down flat on a trolley to enter under the very low threshold into an impressive interior!
Orkney museum providing a great graphic overview of the history of these islands
St Margaret’s Hope - attractive, historic port.
the Italian Chapel, showcasing how elaborate a group of prisoners of war could decorate a military nissan hut.
If you feel there’s too much to see in the two days on Orkney, we can extend to a third day, making a total of 5 days in all, amounting to £825 when sharing a room; £885 for single room supplements.
Each evening you will be taken to a local inn or restaurant to sample the local food and possible music evenings.
On our return road trip back to Edinburgh, we’ll stop at the baronial style castle of Dunrobin with a museum of Pictish stones. Later in the day, an hour’s hike to a low level hill will help to break up a long journey. The summit offers a wonderful panorama of the Cairngorms Mountains with its ancient Caledonian forest - a dramatic contrast to the virtually treeless and largely low-lying Orkney countryside. Arrival mid evening in Edinburgh at the end of day 4.