Orkney Journey: Under your own steam

Our Journey to Orkney “Under your own steam” has three different options for reaching the main island and many different routes to take once you’re there. Pick and choose the various routes to make up your perfect tour around this beautiful series of islands.

Journey Options

Thurso - Stromness

Depart from Thurso (Scrabster) by Northlink Ferries and arrive in Stromness on Orkney Mainland.  Thurso can be reached by bus or train from Inverness which also connects to Edinburgh and Glasgow.In Stromness stay in Hamnavoe Hostel or Brown’s Hostel. Suggested routes for this jouney would be Hoy Route, Rousay & Evie Route and if you include Kirkwall you could take in trips to St Margarets Hope and the outer islands.

Aberdeen - Kirkwall

Depart from Aberdeen with Northlink Ferries. Arrive in Kirkwall on Orkney Mainland.  Stay at Kirkwall Peedie Hostel or Orcades Hostel.Suggested routes for this jouney would be the Rousay & Evie route in reverse and with Kirkwall as a base you could also do the Outer Islands route.

Gills Bay – St Margaret’s Hope

Depart from Gill’s Bay with Pentland Ferries which can be reached by bus from Inverness.  The nearest train stations are Wick (18 miles by cycle) or Thurso (16 miles by cycle) Arrive in St Margaret’s Hope on the Island of South Ronaldsay which is connected to Mainland Orkney.  Stay in St Margaret’s Hope Backpackers.From St Margaret’s Hope travel to by bus (15 miles by cycle) to Kirkwall which is the transport hub for the outer Orkney Isles. Stay at Kirkwall Peedie Hostel or Orcades Hostel. Suggested routes for this jouney would be the Rousay & Evie route in reverse and the Outer island route from Kirkwall. Return from Kirkwall to St Margarets Hope.

Hoy Route ------

From Stromness take a round trip to the Island of Hoy via the Hoy Passenger Ferry and stay in Hoy Centre Hostel or Rackwick Hostel.  On returning to Stromness take the bus to Kirkwall (15 miles by cycle) Stay at Kirkwall Peedie Hostel or Orcades Hostel

Rousay & Evie Route -----

From Stromness to Birsay (13 miles by cycle ) and stay in the Birsay Outdoor Centre.  Cycle from Birsay to Evie and stay in Howe Bothy (8 miles). Take a return ferry trip to Rousay and stay at Trumland Organic Farm Hostel. Cycle from Evie to Kirkwall (15 miles)

Rousay & Evie Route In Reverse -----

From Kirkwall, do the reverse trip via Evie, Rousay, Birsay and Stromness.  Taking in the Hoy round trip is a further option.

St Margarets Hope Route -----

From Kirkwall take a round trip to St Margaret’s Hope, and stay at St Margaret’s Hope Backpackers.

Outer Islands Route -----

From Kirkwall take a trip to the outer islands.Kirkwall - Sanday (Ayres Rock Hostel) and on to North Ronaldsay (Bird Observatory Hostel): take the ferry or fly Loganair.Kirkwall – Westray (The Barn Hostel) and on to Papa Westray (Papa Westray Hostel): take the ferry or fly Loganair.