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.
Meet at Inverness Railway Station 14:30
Finish in Inverness 12.00
A self-guided trek of the Great Glen Trail crossing from west to east along the natural vault line that divides the Highlands, visiting castles, old forts and searching for the Loch Ness Monster
This three-centre holiday is designed around fabulous walks amid varied and stunning land and seascapes. We spend two nights on the Isle of Skye, three on Harris and two in Ullapool on the mainland's west coast
"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
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