Key information: Marwick Head
- Climb the high cliffs of Marwick Head in the north-west of the Orkney mainland, taking in the beautiful views down the coast to the looming silhouette of Hoy.
- At the top of the ridge you will find the Kitchener memorial. The cliffs are big and dramatically vertical here.
- Always unpredictable weather. Come prepared.
- Walkopedia rating84
- Natural interest16
- Human interest6
- Negative points1
- Total rating84
- Note: Neg: likely bad weather
- Length: 3 hrs
- Maximum Altitude: N/A
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Climb from the interesting cove of Mar Wick to the high cliffs of Marwick Head in the north-west of the Orkney mainland, taking in the beautiful views down the western coast of the mainland to the looming silhouette of Hoy, with the Old Man's head peeking over the lower horizon.
Enjoy the thinly layered sandstone and the variety of seabirds, including the ever-lovable puffin, kittiwake, guillemot and razorbill, as well as fulmer, cormorants and great skua, in huge numbers in the spring and early summer breeding seasons.
At the top of the ridge you will find the Kitchener memorial, to the WW1 Minister of War who was drowned when his ship hit a mine in 1916. The cliffs are big and dramatically vertical here.
At the far end of the high ridge, you look north over wide Birsay Bay to the islet the Bough of Birsay with its ruined Pictish and Norse settlements.
From here you can retrace your steps (1.5hr round trip), or continue ahead to Harpsquoy farm, where you turn right and right again to return on minor lanes through pretty farmland at the back of the Marwick Head hill in 3 hrs or so. See the Cicerone guide for details.
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For more information and photos, including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our Orkneys walk page.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
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