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Orkney walking is a major disappointment for any serious walker who relishes tracks or paths ...
on 9 October 2014
This book details walks on Orkney and Shetland as described and there are about twice as many walks on Shetland as for Orkney. Orkney walking is a major disappointment for any serious walker who relishes tracks or paths of 8 miles or more. Most of Orkney is farmed and it does not have a network of public footpaths like most areas of England - the land is chunked up into fields mostly surrounded by barbed wire fences, and the farm 'lanes' often don't go very far or join up with paths that exist. As a result the walking itself is highly disappointing and in 6 days we managed to cover all the decent walks on the Orkney mainland and the main one on Stronsay. Some of the walks described in the book do not actually exist as a path on the ground - for example the Covenanters Memorial walk cannot easily be done because there is no path along the cliff edge where the walk goes along it, and you are wading through long grass and crossing barbed wire fences. On the coastal walk to Stromness, the path effectively disappears after Black Craig and is completely constrained by a fence line which comes right onto the coast edge and you cannot follow the coastline easily, having to drop down onto the rocks towards Warebeth Bay, which would be impassable at high tide. Therefore I'd suggest having a re-look at all the walks listed to make it clear where they are following paths and where they are a route which the author has effectively included but is not on a path. Most of the walks were well described in the book with good maps and written descriptions, but the author is severely limited by the lack of any decent circular walks, most being short walks of under 5 miles and not very inspiring.