Walking Orkney: Marwick Bay to Marwick Head

A short walk with stunning views.

Marwick Bay with the sweep of the coastline and on the cliff top the Memorial to HMS Hampshire

Marwick Head is about 11 miles (17.6 km) north of Stromness, off the B9056 between Skaill and Birsay. Parking is available at Marwick Bay. HY 22939 24105

This walk is short and leads up to the cliffs of Marwick Head and to the Kitchener Memorial – to commemorate the loss of the Hampshire in World War 1.

You follow a pathway along the line of the Bay. If the tide is out there is the option of walking along the beach.

view over the sea at Marwick Bay

This is easy going. There is a low wall between you and the beach and underfoot middle to large shore stones.

two swans in the water at Marwick Bay

At the bend in the Bay there is a well positioned bench which gives great views over the Bay and of the swans. This is the place to stop for anyone with mobility issues as they would find the climb up to the Memorial very difficult.

The view from the bench is none too shabby.

the view from the bench where you can see the whole of Marwick Bay and out as far as the Old Man of Hoy

When I did this walk recently it had been dry for days and the pathway was good. It should be noted that this path can be very slippery if there has been a few days of rain.

The path winds round hugging the coast giving you short glimpses of the memorial tower on the skyline.

Take your time. This walk is one which is best done with lots of stopping to look around you at the magnificent coast and of the wild flowers.

The path becomes ever steeper before easing out a bit as you near the top.

The Memorial was erected through public subscription and is dedicated to the Men who were lost when HMS Hampshire struck a mine on 5th of June 1916 on its way to deliver a peace delegation headed by Lord Kitchener, to Russia. KITCHENER & HMS HAMPSHIRE MEMORIAL

The views are stunning – whatever the weather – and from April onwards throughout the summer, the birds are nesting.

To return – you can either go back the way you came or take the route slightly on from the Memorial. It leads down to a smaller parking area and from there you can make your way along the public road back to the Bay.

This is a RSPB site and you need to take care because these are cliffs – so dogs should be on leads, children and others should be aware of how to behave for their safety and that of others.

For people who wish to use public transport there is a limited bus service but you’ll still have a fair bit of walking to do from the road .

The Sandwick Stroller

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