Walking Orkney: Birsay

A walk of coves and coastline.

The Birsay coastline. The clear sea and the curve of the coast taking in lots of bays and rock formations

If driving there is a car park opposite the Brough of Birsay which during the summer can be extremely busy. There is also a limited bus service which will drop you off at the edge of Birsay village.

We parked in the car park opposite the Brough of Birsay. Although it was summer daytime we had timed it just right as there were only two or three cars and no buses.

This short walk takes you from the car park and along the coastline, literally, with fantastic views of the many bays which fringe this area of outstanding beauty.

The grass path skirting the coastline

The path is grass but is kept mown short so is easy to walk on. There is only one area where there is a dip and rise but it should be manageable for most people.

We have walked this route all year round and it is spectacular whatever the weather, however, if there has been a lot of rain the path can be very muddy in places.

the sign post for the St Magnus Way with the cross and wavy line under it
St Magnus Way Birsay

This path is also one of the routes of The St Magnus Way and you will see the occasional sign for walkers on the pilgrimage.

The historic boat nousts are of particular note but sadly there has not been permitted access to the fisherman’s hut for many years now. It was once a handy place to pop into if the rain came on suddenly.

At this point there is a very small parking area for anyone with less mobility who would like to enjoy the views at this part of the walk with a gentle stroll to where the whale bone used to stand.

looking across to the path and the bays including some small caves can been revealed with the Brough of Birsay in the distance

The whale bone blew over in the winter storms and was a favoured spot for selfies.

This part of the walk gives you fabulous views of the bays and small caves you have been walking above. There are also benches strategically placed for sitting down and taking it all in. Or for watching the nesting sea birds.

If you are able and have the time you can continue walking the coastal path but she of four legs can’t manage that anymore and so we had to turn back.

In the spring and summer there is also the added bonus of flowering plants along the way.

Before leaving – if the tide is out you can cross over to the Brough of Birsay. This site was once a settlement for The Picts and then the Vikings. But remember, this is a tidal island – do not get caught out.

a small group of people standing on the causeway waiting on the tide to recede to cross over to the Brough
Waiting for the tide to go out

And before leaving we popped into the marvellous Palace Stores local shop in Birsay village for one of their magnificent meat pies, something fancy from their selection of home bakes, and a well deserved ice cream.

the small local shop The Palaces Stores in Birsay village

The Sandwick Stroller

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