Walking Orkney: Brodgar

A walk for all Seasons.

the standing stones at the Ring of Brodgar at the summer solstice

This pleasant walk will take you past the Ring of Brodgar and down round the lochside. It can be done all year round. In the busy visitor season, April to September, it is wonderful to take this walk either in the early morning or evening – then you can hear the bird song.

There is a car park opposite the World Heritage Ring of Brodgar Neolithic site. During the day at the height of the tourist season this can be extremely busy. Some people also resort to parking in the passing places, which is not a good idea, as this can cause traffic flow problems. For those with mobility issues there are two parking bays at the entrance to the site.

There are also bike stands at the car park if you have cycled there. Excellent information boards tell you more about what you might see. Waste bins are also located at this point but note – there are no toilets here.

The semicircle of display boards at the car park the hills of Hoy in the distance

This walk took place at 8.30pm on June 7th so there were very few people there.

A mesh covered walkway takes you over boggy ground from the car park to the crossing point. This road may seem quiet but it can be busy so take care when crossing. The Historic Environment Ranger Service have a visitor information point here in the summer months. They also hold free guided walks and are an excellent source of information if you have any questions for them.

HES Ranger's hut where information can be had

At this point and until you get past the Ring of Brodgar, you are mostly walking on plastic matting. I do not find this at all pleasant to walk on but it has had to be put down because of the massive wearing away of the pathways because of visitor numbers. In the winter this area can also be very waterlogged if there has been much rain.

Passing by the Stones themselves, you take a grassy path towards the Stenness Loch. The bird song at this time of year is tremendous as this is also a site cared for by the RSPB. Wildflowers are encouraged.

The pathway leads you between the fields and there is a bench where it is also pleasant to stop and take in the view of Hoy across the loch. The grassy path is kept mown short in summer but in very wet weather this can get very muddy. All around you are the birds, wildflowers and if you’ve timed it right – only the sounds of nature.

The hills of Hoy can be seen over the loch in the distance through the wildflowers on the banks

The path skirts the loch and there is one more bench placed at the loch edge. This is a circular walk and so eventually you come back up onto the roadside again. But before you do, don’t forget to look back along the way you have come.

The sun setting over Brodgar in the distance

The road is beside you but the grassy path is excellent to walk on. On one side now is the Harray Loch.

It is always a joy to visit the standing stones when you are the only one there.

This walk is excellent all year round but some areas of the path may be difficult for those with mobility issues in extreme wet weather.

The Sandwick Stroller

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