Wideford Hill Walk
From Pickaquoy to Wideford Hill - Fantastic Orkney views!
This walk starts from the outskirts of Kirkwall, by the Picky Leisure Centre. It is a great walk for a sunny afternoon with plenty of potential picnic stops. It is uphill all the way, but you are rewarded with fantastic views across the islands and remember that it is downhill all the way home and if you time it right you can get a nice coffee at the leisure centre café! The walk is about 5km, there and back, all on a good footpath. The first section is suitable for those with mobility needs or pushchairs.
Start by walking down Muddisdale road past the Guest Houses, there is plenty of car parking by the leisure centre. The road skirts between a row of houses and the playing fields before you see the start of the Muddisdale Walk off to your left. The path here follows through grassland which has been planted with many species of tree. It is a lovely walk with developing views of Kirkwall as you head uphill. Don’t worry about which branch to take when the path forks – both end up at the same place.
After a while you reach the golf course. Continue straight uphill until you get to the road where you need to turn left for a short way before turning off to the right to follow the signed footpath up to Wideford Hill. Care is needed while walking along the road. The Wideford Hill track runs uphill through farmland for most of its length before you reach the road that leads to the top of the hill. After a short stretch on the road you have a choice – whether to follow one of the heather paths straight up (the short but steep option), or whether to continue along the road to the summit (longer and marginally less steep, with added traffic).
Once at the top the views are stupendous. Look out for the Rotary Club marker by the Trig point because that gives you directions and distances to a number of prominent destinations around the islands and further afield. There is a selection of masts up here, together with traces of earlier war time installations. A display board provides information about the role of locations like this for Orkney’s Viking heritage. There is plenty of space to sit, contemplate, and admire the islands from above.
The children from Glaitness School researched this walk for a John Muir Award and they have produced a leaflet with information about the walk and the wildlife and plants to be seen along it. To find out more about this go to www.glaitness.orkney.sch.uk and follow the links to Class Projects Class 7 - John Muir Webpage - A Guide to Wideford Hill Walk.
Walk submitted by Caroline Wickham-Jones and Guille Lopez