Orkney & Shetland
Guided Island Hopping
Code: XGLDWPrint page
Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Pristine natural landscapes, peace and tranquillity, wide open spaces and lung-fulls of fresh air. Orkney and Shetland will live up to all of this and more as you island hop from the quaint crofting communities of Orkney to the Scandanavian style fjords and voes of Shetland.
Stay at welcoming hotels on Orkney and Shetland. Accommodation at each includes comfortable en-suite rooms, and menus serving meals, based around locally sourced produce.
The Merkister Hotel, Orkney - 4nts
Situated on the shores of Harray Loch, The Merkister Hotel stands in its own grounds in the most wonderful location, commanding impressive views of this famous loch and its surroundings. All rooms have TV, direct-dial telephone, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities. A drying room and laundry facilities are available and there is WiFi.
Busta House, Shetland - 3nts
Nestled at the foot of rolling hills on the shore of Busta Voe, The Busta Hotel in a 16th-century homestead sits among expansive gardens. Traditional rooms have WiFi, flat-screen TVs and DVD players, tea and coffee making facilities and a hairdryer. Drying room facilities are also available.
On occasion we may need to change the accommodation listed above. If this happens, your replacement accommodation will be of the equivalent standard or higher. In the rare instance this is not possible, we will contact you in advance.
Day 1: Arrival Day
Arrive on Orkney and meet at the Merkister Hotel.
Day 2: Brough of Birsay and Ring of Brodgar
Your first walk on the island of Orkney begins by following a superb cliff-top path from the island of Birsay, to the RSPB reserve of Marwick Bay and The Loons. In the late afternoon we explore the Ring of Brodgar, the standing stones of Stenness and the Neolithic chambered cairn of Maes Howe (Entrance fee not included Scottish / Welsh / English National Heritage members free). 9 miles (14km) with 760 feet (230m) of ascent.
Day 3: Skara Brae and Stromness
We begin with a visit to the impressive, ancient settlement of Skara Brae, now a UNESCO site of special heritage. (Entrance fee not included Scottish / Welsh / English National Heritage members free). Leaving this site mid-morning we then walk the coast south above the spectacular sea cliffs of Yesnaby to meet our transport on the outskirts of Stromness. 9.5 miles (15.5km) with 1,280 feet (380m) of ascent.
Day 4: Isle of Hoy
Visiting the island of Hoy, we enjoy a magnificent walk which takes us out to the famous sea stack of the “Old Man of Hoy”, before returning via the mysterious “Dwarfie Stone”. Watch out for the “Bonxie” – the local name for the Great Skua. Spot them before they spot you, with one of their dives. 8.5 miles (13.5km) with 850 feet (260m) of ascent.
Day 5: Shetland – Sumburgh Head and Jarlshof
Today we leave Orkney and head north to Shetland. On arrival, we visit Sumburgh Head RSPB reserve, the most southerly point of mainland Shetland. This elevated viewpoint affords extensive views over Shetland and of Fair Isle to the south. Our May & July departures will also witness an amazing sea bird spectacle as thousands of birds come ashore to nest on the cliffs. From here we descend to the inspirational archaeological site of Jarlshof ((Entrance fee not included Scottish / Welsh / English National Heritage members free) which covers a period of continuous habitation from 2500BC through to the 1600s. 2 miles (3km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent. We then rejoin our transport for the scenic transfer to Busta House.
Day 6: The Eshaness Peninsula
This is our opportunity to learn a little about Shetland’s heritage at the Tangwick Haa museum, as we circumnavigate the beautiful Eshaness peninsula. Today grants us a plethora of wildlife watching opportunities, as we wander past colonies of seabirds numbering in their thousands during the breeding season. We may also be lucky enough to spot seals today, both Common and Grey seals are often seen bobbing up and down in the bay. 9 miles (14km) with 1,060 feet (320m) of ascent.
Day 7: Muckle Roe
A rugged and remote walk to discover the red granite coastline of the Muckle Roe. This walk is a fitting finale from where we can look back and appreciate the beauty of yesterday’s walk as well as today’s, and admire the windswept isolation and beauty of Shetland. 7.5 miles (12km) with 1,360 feet (420m) of ascent.
Day 8: Departure Day
Transfer to Sumburgh airport for your return flight to Aberdeen
Please allow approximately £25 for entrance fees to Maes Howe; Skara Brae and Jarlshof
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors
'With flight' holidays
For those who have booked our “with flight” option, you will take a mid afternoon flight from Aberdeen airport to Kirkwall airport (Orkney), from where you will usually meet your leader and will be transferred to the Merkister Hotel.
The flight between Orkney and Shetland on Day 5 is included in your holiday price and our Shetland coach company will pick you up at Sumburgh Airport.
Please be aware of the reduced cabin baggage dimensions, 40x35x18cm, maximum weight 6kg, on the flights to and from these islands. These flights are operated by the Flybe franchise partner Loganair.
All passengers aged 16 and over are required to provide photographic ID at the check-in desk and at the departure gate
The nearest rail station to the airport is Dyce, which is about two miles from the terminal and easily reached by bus or taxi. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
Aberdeen Airport is 7 miles north of the city. Parking is available here - see www.aberdeenairport.com
If you're travelling by air, you should book an outward flight to Kirkwall (Orkney), and a return flight from Sumbergh (Shetland). There are flights available from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen. See www.flybe.com
The flight between Orkney and Shetland on Day 5 is included in your holiday price.
Ferry travel is available from Scrabster to Stromness or from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, and back from Shetland to Aberdeen. Ferries are operated by North Link Ferries; www.northlinkferries.co.uk.The ferry terminal at Aberdeen is a 5 to 10 minute walk from Aberdeen railway station.
There are bus and train routes available to Scrabster from Inverness with City Link www.citylink.co.uk. There are also train services from Inverness to Scrabster with connections from Thurso, ran by Citylink & Rapson’s Coaches.
Read more reviews from feefo
Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
- 7 nights’ Full Board en-suite accommodation
- The services of an experienced leader, offering one guided walk per day
- All transport and luggage transfers on walking days
- Flight between the islands on Day 5
- Group transfers to and from the first and last hotels. These connect with the group flight
- “With flight” holidays include flight from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, and from Sumburgh to Aberdeen
Prices are per person
- Single room: £266 (complete holiday)
If at eight weeks prior to the start of the holiday a sharing partner is unavailable, a single room or room for single occupancy with associated supplement will be allocated to you instead.
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person