A fascinating mix of stunning coastal scenery and some of Orkney's best-preserved wartime buildings, Hoxa Head is a special place to visit.

The headland here marks the main entrance to Scapa Flow. During two World Wars the view from Hoxa would have been very different, with ships of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet heading in and out of Orkney's great natural harbour. These days, thankfully, you'll only see oil tankers, ferries and fishing boats, but do keep a keen eye on the sea as you could spot some of our other regular marine visitors. Hoxa Head is an ideal place to catch a glimpse of orca, with pods regularly cruising the coast here on the hunt for prey. Dolphins and whales are often seen too.

With beautiful views across Scapa Flow and towards the Scottish mainland, you could spend all of your time at Hoxa just sitting on the coast soaking it all up. But venture further on the well-trodden trail and you'll find plenty of natural attractions, including geos and geology, not to mention plenty of seabirds, including fulmars, guillemots, Arctic terns, great skuas and more.

There are old wartime lookouts and searchlight stations perched on the cliffs, and buildings and gun batteries dating back to the First World War. The most imposing is the Balfour Battery, with its observation posts and stores. Look directly across Scapa Flow to see its sister battery in Flotta. These old buildings are extremely unstable and fragile so don't be tempted to explore inside.

Our Hoxa Head walking route is one of the best ways to see this stretch of coastline at its best.