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Imaginative Small Group Walking Holidays in Scotland and the Faroe Islands

  • North-West Frontiers Feeding time

    Feeding time

  • North-West Frontiers The Ring of Brodgar

    The Ring of Brodgar

  • North-West Frontiers Skara Brae

    Skara Brae

  • North-West Frontiers Shetland coastline

    Shetland coastline

View Orkney & Shetland Explorer in a larger map

The Route

Orkney & Shetland Explorer

Grade All Ages
  • Two-centre holiday exploring Shetland & Orkney
  • Visit to Skara Brae and the Old Man of Hoy
  • Hike to Sumburgh Head and the Stevenson lighthouse
  • Fabulous flora and fauna


Magical walking, historical and cultural journey through the Northern Isles

With over a 150 islands between them, of which over 30 are inhabited the scope to explore and experience these unique and contrasting groups of islands is incredible. In mid-summer the day-light hours extend long beyond midnight adding to the allure of Orkney and Shetland.

Both islands were once part of the Viking kingdom and offer a fascinating weave of dramatic seascapes, unique geology dating back to when they were a mountainous region of the Scottish and Scandinavian pre-Ice Age continent.

On Orkney we take a cliff-top walk on Hoy, the wildest and highest of the islands, overlooking the famous sea-stack of the Old Man of Hoy. No holiday is complete without visiting the Neolithic village of Skara Brae and the Ring of Brodgar which forms part of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site.

On Shetland Mainland we climb Ronas Hill, at 450m the highest point on the Shetland Isles. This walk incorporates unique geology and rare alpine plants with stunning views over the western seaboard. We will visit Sumbourgh Head and the Stevenson Lighthouse which is one of the finest examples of 19th century architecture.

Both islands host an incredible array of birdlife, which includes puffins, short-eared owls and hen harriers. The abundance of seascapes affords us the chance to see seals, porpoises, dolphins and even whales.

Most of the walking is along grassy swards high above the sea with occasional descents to wide, sweeping beaches.


Day 1 - Arrive & meet at Orkney Hotel, Kirkwall

Day 2 - West Mainland & Skara Brae

Day 3 - The Old Man of Hoy

Day 4 - Deerness & Scapa Flow

Day 5 - Rousay & transfer to Shetland

Day 6 - Lunna

Day 7 - St Ronas

Day 8 - Sumborough Head

Day 9 - Fethaland

Day 10 - Whalsay & depart Lerwick


During the first 4 nights we stay at the comfortable Orkney Hotel. You can be sure of traditional Orcadian hospitality in the heart of the ancient royal burgh of Kirkwall. Dating back to 1670, the hotel has been sympathetically renovated, retaining many of its original features and its charm.

On Shetland we stay 4 nights in a quality, hand-picked guesthouse in Lerwick on Shetland Mainland.

During the holiday there are two overnight ferry journeys (between Orkney & Shetland and between Shetland back to the mainland). We will book standard cabin accommodation.

Single Supplement

A limited number of single rooms are available from £200 for 8 nights. Please contact us for the price of a single cabin on the overnight ferries (2 nights).

Pickup / Dropoff

Meet at Inverness Railway Station 14:30
Finish in Inverness 12.00

Included / Excluded


  • 8 nights bed and breakfast in comfortable hotel and guesthouse
  • 2 x night cabin accommodation on overnight ferry
  • 8 x dinner (not first night)
  • 9 days walking with a qualified and experienced NWF leader
  • All road transport during the trip
  • All boat/ferry costs during the trip ( and from Inverness)
  • Entree to Skara Brae


  • Travel to and from Inverness
  • 2 evening meals (travel days 1 & 10)
  • (Packed) lunches
  • Travel insurance
  • Miscellaneous expenses like drinks, entrance fees etc

If you prefer to fly to Kirkwall, you will meet your guide and fellow group members in the hotel lounge at around 21:30. In case you fly you will have to make your own way from the airport to your hotel (a taxi costs around £10).

Instead of taking the overnight ferry it is possible to fly back from Lerwick. In that case you will have to make your own way to the airport in Sumburgh. There is a good bus service between Lerwick and the airport.

Please contact us if you prefer to fly, so we can deduct the ferry cost from your holiday price.

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Find a holiday


"Very interesting itinerary. Standard of walks very high and appropriate for the group. Our guide Angela was informative and very interested in the clients. Sites well chosen"

Ms J Newby

"We are very happy to have taken this trip. Angela was a great guide. We had great weather and the other groupmembers were congenial"

Mr & Mrs Boger

Key to Grades

Read detailed information about the grades for our various holidays - learn more

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