A DAY OUT IN EDAY
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.