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Walks & Wildlife Watching

Flowers and Folklore

Where: Ring of Brodgar car park

When: Monday 13 May, 6pm

           Thursday 16 May, 6pm

With: Historic Environment Scotland

Cost: Free

Booking required: No

Contact: orkneyrangers@hes.scot

Join the Historic Environment Scotland rangers for a gentle stroll around the wildflower meadows at Brodgar. Enjoy hearing the stories behind some of Orkney's iconic flora, deep in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Suitable for all ages and levels of interest. Warm and waterproof clothing and footwear recommended. Meet at the Brodgar car park at 6pm.

 


Viking Hiking to Rackwick

Where: John Rae Statue, Stromness

When: Tuesday 14 May, 9:30am

With: Viking Hiking

Cost: £45; £30 for concessions

Booking required: Yes

Contact: Viking Hiking website

 

A full day Viking adventure in Hoy.

After meeting in Stromness by the John Rae statue at 9.30am for a 
safety briefing, we lay the modern world behind us and become Vikings 
for the day. We take the small passenger ferry from Stromness across to 
the island of Hoy. From Moaness pier we walk with an expert guide 
(Ragnhild Ljosland) though the roadless valley between the famous Hills 
of Hoy, said in local folklore to have been dropped there by a giant 
when the strap broke on his two straw baskets carrying soil for his 
garden. On the way, you will learn the Viking names for local birds and 
plants, and we have time to enjoy the fresh air and the stunning, 
unspoiled Orkney landscape until we reach the secluded valley of 
Rackwick.

Once inhabited by the Vikings, Rackwick now lies undisturbed, like a 
green bowl surrounded by imposing cliffs in old red sandstone. We stop 
on the beach, by the old stone bothy, built in a style reminiscent of a 
Viking longhouse. We are met by Lifolf (Mark Cook), our outdoor Viking 
cook, who lets us into the secrets of the Viking way of life. You will 
have a go at practical skills such as weaving and braiding techniques.

We cook over open fire and share an authentic Viking meal by the 
campfire. We play games, hear Viking songs and try a Viking dance, and 
listen to ancient stories passed down from the Vikings in the sagas and 
through local tradition in Orkney.

Please wear good clothes suited to the weather. Warm and waterproof 
clothing may be necessary. Also please wear sturdy hiking boots. It may, 
at times, be wet underfoot. The hike goes through a valley where there 
is no road and no groomed trail. Viking food is included, but please 
bring a bottle of water and an extra snack should you get hungry on the 
way. Ferry return ticket to Hoy and bus transport back to Moaness pier 
is included in the price.

 


Birdwatching at the Loons

Where: RSPB Scotland Loons and Loch of Banks Reserve

When: Tuesday 14 May, 10am - 12pm

With: RSPB Scotland

Cost: Free

Booking required: No

Contact: ian.mcnab@rspb.org.uk

With hen harriers patrolling the skies above and a host of wildfowl in the water below, The Loons is one of the best sites in Orkney to see a whole range of wildlife.


Join us in the hide for a morning of bird-watching. We'll be bringing scopes and binoculars, as well as tea and coffee. Now that the breeding season is well under way, we can expect to see lapwing, redshank and much more besides. Plus, if the weather is good, we may also take a trip across to the Loons listening wall, the perfect place to hear a chorus of birdsong.

This is a free drop-in event, but email ian.mcnab@rspb.org.uk for more information.

 


A Celebration of Primula Scotica

Where: Yesnaby (HY221161)

When: Wednesday 15 May, 10:00am & 2:00pm

With: Orkney Field Club

Cost: Free

Booking required: Morning - Yes; Afternoon - No

Contact: jenny@jtlarch.co.uk

Morning

Meet at 10:00am for a 5+ mile walk along the dramatic coastal path to seek smaller colonies of Scottish primrose (Primula scotica). Bring binoculars for bird and cetacean-watching along the way. We aim to be back to Yesnaby in time for a picnic lunch (and a rest!) for those who wish to join the afternoon activity

Warm, waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear essential. 

Please book for this walk, limited to 12 participants for group safety.

 

Afternoon

At 2:00pm there will chance to look at the Scottish primrose and its habitat in detail with County botanist John Crossley. We also hope to find another Yesnaby speciality: Chrysolina latecincta, a distinctive small beetle which is extremely rare in the rest of the UK.

This will only involve a short walk, but over uneven terrain. Please dress warmly as there will be some standing/sitting around. 

No need to book, all welcome to come along to this afternoon session.

 


Eaglewatch Open Day

Where: Dwarfie Stone car park, Hoy

When: Thursday 16 May, 11:00am - 4:00pm (drop-in)

With: RSPB Scotland and North Walls Community School

Cost: Free

Booking required: No

Contact: lee.shields@rspb.org.uk; 07818803105

Join us at Eaglewatch for a special day of wildlife spotting with local experts ‘big and small’. RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand with activities and information to help you make the most of a day in Hoy, and helping you spot our white-tailed eagles. Between 1:00pm - 3:15pm, pupils from North Walls Community School will be leading guided walks up to the Dwarfie Stone and sharing their knowledge of their incredible local wildlife with visitors.

 


Birdsong of Onziebust - FULLY BOOKED

Where: RSPB Onziebust

When: Monday 20 May, 9:30am - 12:00pm

With: RSPB Scotland

Cost: Free

Booking required: Yes

Contact: 07554331138; ian.mcnab@rspb.org.uk

From drumming snipe to bubbling curlew and singing skylarks to piping oystercatchers; Onziebust is alive with a symphony of birdsong. Join our RSPB wardens and take in the sights and sounds of this magical nature reserve on the island of Egilsay.

If you want the quintessential Orkney spring-time experience, this is the event for you.

To reach Egilsay from Orkney Mainland, you can catch the 8:20am ferry from Tingwall. The walk will finish at approximately 12:00pm, and then there are return ferries at 1:35pm and 4:55pm if you'd like to do some exploring afterwards. Visit www.orkneyferries.co.uk for ferry information.

Places are limited and advance booking is essential. Call 07554331138 or email ian.mcnab@rspb.org.uk.

 


Orca Watch at Marwick Head

Where: RSPB Marwick Head, Kitchener Memorial car park

When: Friday 17 May, 6-8pm

With: RSPB Scotland and Sea Watch Foundation

Cost: Free

Booking required: No

Contact: 07554331138; ian.mcnab@rpb.org.uk

Sea Watch Foundation have been running annual orca watches around the north of Scotland since 2011. This year, they are partnering up with RSPB Scotland to look for these magnificent mammals off the coast of Marwick Head on Orkney Mainland.

Come along and lend your eyes to the evening. As well as raising awareness of the plight of the orca, these surveys provide essential data for future conservation projects.

Meet at the Kitchener Memorial car park at 6pm, or join us at the site afterwards. The walk to the watch point is approximately 1km along the coast, so make sure to bring warm clothes and sturdy footwear.

This is a free event and no booking is required. However, you can call 07554331138 or email ian.mcnab@rspb.org.uk for more information.

 


Stroll about Stronsay

Where: Vat of Kirbister, Stronsay

When: Saturday 18 May, 9:30am

With: Stronsay Ranger and RSPB Scotland

Cost: Free

Booking required: No

Contact: ian.mcnab@rspb.org.uk; 07554331138

Stronsay is known as Orkney's island of bays, due to its unique shape which lends itself to some spectacular coastal scenery. Perhaps the best example is the Vat of Kirbister, a magnificent stone arch towards the south end of the island.

The Stronsay Ranger and RSPB Scotland will be delivering a guided walk, starting in the Vat of Kirbister car park and taking in this beautiful stretch of coastline. As well as the geology, we'll also be keeping our eyes out for wildflowers such as primrose, and seabirds such as fulmars and puffins.

The walk is free of charge and no booking is necessary, however do get in touch if you would like any more information. Please wear sturdy footwear and suitable outdoor clothing. Ferry information between Orkney Mainland and Stronsay can be found by visiting Orkney Ferries.

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