A stunning coastline, upland moors and Hoy’s high hills make Orkney a fantastic place to explore by foot. You can walk the signposted west coast path of Orkney Mainland, circumnavigate a whole small isle or amble between world-renowned archaeological sites. There is time to soak up the sights and sounds and breathe the salty air, stop and watch wildlife or search for shells or wildflowers. Woodland ambles and town heritage trails make short walks a fascinating experience. There are circular walk leaflets available at tourist centres and from Orkney Islands Council and many isles tourism groups and development trusts have produced themed walk leaflets for self-guided walks. Tour operators offer guided walks to suit all interests and there are several books to buy in Orkney shops and tourist centres. Orkney Ramblers Club meets every second Sunday for walks for all ages and abilities ranging from five to ten miles. Anyone can join them. Walk start points are posted on its webpage through the Orkney Communities website. Development trusts and rangers also offer guided walks.
It is difficult to get lost on coastal routes but to explore the hinterland of moorland and heath a compass and maps are advised. There are five OS Explorer sheets covering Orkney. Access is accepted on most land as long as you are responsible and shut farm gates, keep dogs on a lead near livestock and leave nothing behind.
Many hotels, guest houses and self catering owners have the Welcome Award for walkers.