Be a Viking for the day with Orkney Viking Hiking – Viking Feast on the Beach – Viking Voyage to Hoy
As seen on Secret Scotland with Susan Calman Channel 5
Viking Voyage to Hoy (full day trip)
2019 dates: 14 May (Orkney Nature Festival special), 19 June, 10 July, 31 July, 21 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)
Cost: £60 (adults), £40 (age 18 and under, 60 and over, students). Includes ferry transport Stromness – Hoy return and minibus back to ferry terminal in Hoy.
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.
How to get there
Take bus service X1 to Stromness. It runs from St Margaret’s Hope via Kirkwall Travel Centre to Stromness. Get off at the Northlink ferry terminal and walk a short distance to the harbour, where we will meet by the statue of arctic explorer John Rae. We will board the small Graemsay/North Hoy ferry together. The day also ends at Stromness Harbour.
Booking is essential
Please book the day before at the very latest, as we need to confirm with the ferry and bus and buy the food. The earlier you book, the easier you make it for us. Thank you!
Viking Feast on the Beach (2 hours)
Every second Friday evening 6-8 pm at Scapa Beach, Kirkwall
2019 dates: 31 May, 14 June, 28 June, 12 July, 26 July, 9 August, 23 August
Lasts: 2 hours.
Cost: £20 (adults), £10 (age 13-18 and 60+, students, disabled), £5 (age 12 and under). Includes food.
Come for a Viking Feast on the Beach at the fabulous sandy beach of Scapa just outside of Kirkwall. Fun for all the family. No walking required. We meet at the car park by the beach toilets at Scapa at 6 pm.
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.
There will be food. We cook over open fire: Mark prepares chicken stew and vegetable soup, which we eat the Viking way. And drink from a drinking horn, naturally. You will also get the opportunity to bake your own Viking bread and make your own butter to go with it. A taste of Orkney beer will be offered to adults over 18 only.
Please note that all children must be accompanied by an adult, who is responsible for them at all times.
No dogs please.
There will be open fire and water nearby.
How to get there
- You can walk from Kirkwall. It will take you around 40 minutes to one hour.
- Cycle along the beautiful Crantit Trail cycle path
- Take bus service 9, which leaves Kirkwall Travel Centre at 17:30
- Drive and park in the car park by the Royal Oak Memorial and toilets.
- Take a taxi. Garry’s Taxi Service: 07379 048432. Craigie’s Taxis: 07379 048432. Our very own Mark Cook and his wife also have a taxi, and will be able to take people back to Kirkwall after the feast on request – 07849 756891
Booking is essential
Please book the day before at the very latest, as we need to buy the right amount of food. The earlier you book, the easier you make it for us. Thank you!
Guide profile: Mark Cook
Guide profile: Mark
Mark Cook is a Green Badge qualified tourist guide. He is experienced in bushcraft, wilderness survival adventures and outdoor cooking. When he’s not a Viking, he runs his own businesses: Love Orkney Tours and Afrayedknot ropemaker.
Guide profile: Ragnhild Ljosland
Guide profile: Ragnhild
Dr Ragnhild Ljosland is an academic and Green Badge tourist guide. In her academic role, she teaches and researches many aspects of Orkney and Scandinavian culture and history. Her specialism is in Scandinavian language and literature, including runic inscriptions. She is a keen storyteller and amateur actor.
Guide profile: Mark Woodsford-Dean
Guide profile: Mark Woodsford-Dean
Mark is an historian and archaeologist and Orkney Green Badge Guide. Mark’s main areas of study and interest are British pre-history, the early medieval period and the Viking age. Mark is excited to be a part of the team and for the opportunity in helping guests explore Orkney’s fascinating Norse past.
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.
Are there any other dates available?
We can put on extra Viking Feasts on the Beach or Viking Voyages for groups as a private tour, as long as we are not already booked for other jobs on that day. Please contact us if you would like to make a private booking.
I would like to come, but I can't walk that far - what do I do?
Come to Viking Feast on the Beach rather than Viking Voyage to Hoy. There is no walking at the Viking Feast on the Beach. Take a taxi or your own car to and from Scapa Beach.
If you would like to come on the Viking Voyage to Hoy, but avoid the walking, you can contact us in advance and we will do our best to arrange transport for you on the island of Hoy to Rackwick Bay where you will meet the others after the walk for campfire cooking and Viking activities.
Is it suitable for children?
Yes, Viking Voyage to Hoy is perfect for children as long as they are accompanied by a responsible adult and are able to walk the necessary distance (2-3 hours). Please be aware that there will be open fire and open water nearby.
Viking Feast on the Beach is also great for children. There is no walking involved at those events. Again, please make sure the child is accompanied by a responsible adult.
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.