Eday Walk


Heritage Trail, Linkataing Park and Cusbay

submitted by Anne Bignall, Eday Ranger

A walk of 8km (5 mile) encompassing the historical and ecological character of the island. The complete walk is 5 hours long.

The route begins at Mill Loch.  This loch is a SSSI and home to one of the densest concentrations of breeding Red-throated Divers in the UK.

Head west along the road towards the Setter Stone.  At 4.5m tall, this impressive standing stone is the tallest single monolith in Orkney.  The path takes you through heathland, passing the circular Fold of Setter, Braeside chambered cairn and Huntersquoy chambered cairn before climbing to Vinquoy Hill.  The restored Vinquoy chambered cairn at the crest of the hill can be entered via a small gate.  This is a tomb of Maeshowe type with 4 side chambers.   The plantation to the right of the trail was started by Samuel Laing in 1833.  Initially only larch trees were grown but there are now other species including whitebeam and rowan.

Continuing north east you will pass a lighthouse, built by David Stevenson in 1880
and on the shores of the Calf Sound is Carrick House.  This is a fine example of a 17th century laird’s house.  It was built by John, Lord Kinclaven, Earl of Carrick and a keystone bears the date 1633.  

The route over the hill leads to the magnificent Red Head.  Fulmars can be seen here nesting on  cliffs.  The Grey Head of the Calf of Eday, on the opposite side of the Sound, supports one of Orkney’s finest seabird colonies.  Puffins, Kittwakes, Guillemots and Razorbills all breed here and can therefore be seen feeding in the waters around the Red Head.  Along the coast, thrift, spring squill, red and sea campion all manage to flourish on the exposed cliffs.

Following the coast round North West to Linkataing Park you will encounter stunning panoramic views and spectacular coastal geology.  The path ends at South Linkataing and joins the road heading through the township of Cusbay.  Here you will find the Red House Croft Restoration Project and Tea Room.  Continue along the road and take a left up the hill to find your way back to the bird hide.

And here is another part of Eday - perhaps for another day.

Warness walk – Another Walk in Eday, described by Anne Bignall

A circular walk of 2.8km (1.7miles) along the coast, returning through farmland.  A longer walk of 3.9km(2.4miles) is possible taking in the summit of Ward Hill providing spectacular views.

This walk includes many interesting features.  The path crosses a small burn which is the overflow from the Lady Well.  This is the strongest spring on Eday, producing 60 gallons (270l) of water per hour. When you reach the Point of Warness, Common Seals can be seen, hauled out on the rocks. Beyond the Point are the small islands of Muckle Green Holm and Little Green Holm.  Both SSSI’s (Site of Special Scientific Interest), these holms support nationally important breeding populations of Grey Seals.  During October and November around 650 white pups are born here.

The Stretch of water between the Holms and the Point is called the Fall of Warness  and is famous for the strength of its tidal race.  The site has been chosen for the European Marine Energy Centre’s tidal energy test facility; the first of its kind in the world.  The devices are not visible above the water surface but service vessels can occasionally be seen working in the area.

The route continues around the point passing the graves of seaman from a Swedish vessel, wrecked in 1860. 

The grassy sloping cliffs along this stretch are called the Greeny Faces.  Further along the path you can view the impressive cliff-bound bay of Dyke End.  A series of earth boundaries or dykes can be seen running down to the cliff edge.  Look out for Puffins, Shags and Fulmars nesting along this stretch of coast during the breeding season.  A spectacular floral display of Spring Squill, Thrift, Lady’s Bedstraw and Devil’s Bit Scabious grows in succession throughout the summer. 

Cross the stile to the adjacent farmland.  The longer walk leads you up the heather clad slopes of Ward Hill which, at 101m (334 ft), is the highest point on the island.  Ward means it was a look out point and the stunning panoramic views bear this out.

You pass an old sheep fold and shepherd’s hut before reaching Greentoft Farm.  Part of the old farm is in the tradition of a Norse longhouse it was built in the 16th century but is now used as a byre and for storage.  The new house was built in 1895.   Please exercise caution as this is a busy working farm.

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