Be a Viking for the day with Orkney Viking Hiking
Full day Viking Hiking: Stromness to Hoy
2018 dates: 4 July, 18 July, 3rd August, 15 August, 29 August
Starts: 9.30 am Stromness Pier for 10 am ferry
Lasts: 7 hours, you will be back in Stromness for 5 pm.
Walk length: c. 7 km / 4.5 miles (return by minibus)
The day starts by taking a small passenger ferry from Stromness across to the island of Hoy. From Moaness pier we walk though the roadless valley between the famous Hills of Hoy, said in local folklore to have been dropped there by a giant when the strap broke on his two straw baskets carrying soil for his garden. On the way, we have time to enjoy the fresh air and the stunning, unspoiled Orkney landscape until we reach the secluded valley of Rackwick.
Once inhabited by the Vikings, Rackwick now lies undisturbed, like a green bowl surrounded by imposing cliffs in old red sandstone. We stop on the beach, by the old stone bothy, built in a style reminiscent of a Viking longhouse.
Here, we set up camp. We are met by an outdoor cooking and wilderness survival expert, who lets us into the secrets of the Viking way of life. You will have a go at practical skills such as weaving and braiding techniques and nettle rope making.
We cook over open fire and share an authentic Viking meal by the campfire. We play games, hear Viking songs and try a Viking dance, and listen to ancient stories passed down from the Vikings in the sagas and through local tradition in Orkney.
Please wear good clothes suited to the weather. Warm and waterproof clothing may be necessary. Also please wear sturdy hiking boots. It may, at times, be wet underfoot. The hike goes through a valley where there is no road and no groomed trail. Viking food is included, but please bring a bottle of water and an extra snack should you get hungry on the way. Ferry ticket to Hoy and bus transport back to the pier is included in the price.
Half-day Viking Hiking: Kirkwall to Scapa
2018 dates: 28 June, 25 July, 9 August
Starts: 9.30 am & 2 pm from Kirkwall Travel Centre
Lasts: 3 hours
Walk length: c. 3.25 km / 2 miles (return by taxi)
The half day option starts from the centre of Orkney’s Viking capital Kirkwall. During the walk to Scapa beach, you will hear about why the Vikings chose to settle in Kirkwall and what they did there.
Our walk traces the route that the Vikings took when using the natural harbours at either side of a narrow isthmus: The great Scapa Flow to the south and the sheltered Peedie Sea to the north.
When arriving at Scapa we are met my our outdoor cook and ropemaker Mark, who joins Ragnhild in giving some insight into everyday life in Viking Orkney. Around the campfire we enjoy storytelling, play a Viking game, and learn Viking skills such as cooking and tablet weaving.
Please wear good clothes suitable for the weather and sturdy footwear for hiking. The hike goes along road, track and sandy beach.
What should I wear? Do I need a costume?
No, you do not need to wear a costume. The tour leaders will be in Viking costume, however.
Please wear warm and waterproof outdoor clothing suitable for the Scottish climate and sturdy footwear.
Can you cater for special diets?
Since the cooking is authentic Viking Age, we cannot unfortunately cater for all allergies and diets. If you have special requirements, please check with us what is on the menu, or bring your own packed lunch for the full day trip.
Are there any other dates available?
We can put on extra Viking Hiking days or half days for groups as a private tour, as long as we are not already booked for other jobs that day. Please contact us if you would like to make a private booking.
Is it suitable for children?
Yes, Viking Hiking is perfect for children as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult and are able to walk the necessary distance. Please be aware that there will be open fire.
I would like to come, but I can't walk that far - what do I do?
If you contact us in advance, we may be able to book a taxi for you out to Scapa beach (for the half day tour) or minibus transport to Rackwick (for the full day). The cost of extra transport is not included in the ticket price and must be paid by you on the day.
Guide profile: Mark
Guide profile: Mark
Mark Cook is a Green Badge qualified tourist guide. He is experienced in wilderness survival adventures and outdoor cooking.
Guide profile: Ragnhild
Guide profile: Ragnhild
Dr Ragnhild Ljosland’s main job is with the University of the Highlands and Islands, where she among other things teaches on a Master’s degree in Viking Studies and researches the runic inscriptions written by the Vikings in Orkney. She is also a qualified Green Badge guide.