Sunday morning and it’s quite windy, but dry and not cold. We have had visitors staying with us for the last 10 days, it’s been fantastic, but like all good things it had to come to an end. 

I decided to blow the cobwebs away with an early morning walk up the Stenness hill.

The Route up the hill

I have been so far up before but I have had it on the plans to continue to the top at some point. As with most of these places the hill extended on and on 🤣

View down over Stenness, across the Stenness loch, The Stones of Stenness, The Ness of Brodgar and The Ring of Brodgar, then Harray Loch.
The path climbing up the hill.
Panoramic from the top of the hill

The hill path takes you right along the ridge above the Happy Valley road. (see blog – Places to walk) It then dips down slightly and continues on to another peak, too far for me today. Hundreds of people must have cut their winter fuel supply up here at one time. When I first moved to Orkney just over 30 years ago I had a go at peat cutting on a hill in Eday that came with the property. Most properties had peat rights somewhere. I came across a bank that was still being used and had to have a look. There was great peats, dark and rich looking, and to my joy an old Tusker, the tool used to cut them. It has the right angled blade and the foot bar for you to stand on to cut through the bank. The slices of peat are then laid out on the heather to dry. You need to turn them and then stack them once firmer to dry them completely. They will then be carted home to be put in a shed or stacked outside ready for the winter. It was a great blast from the past. 

The peat bank
A Tusker – traditional peat cutting tool.

I also came across a Cairn ( a man-made pile or stack of stones ) often found on hills. It was beautifully made, I added a stone, the done thing, honest. I decided then to followed the track around rather than return the way I had come. It followed the other side of the ridge above the Orphir road giving me spectacular views over Hoy and Stromness. I had to wait a little while for these views as the cloud came in and blocked it all and even decided to dump a good amount of water on me 🤣

View over to Graemsay and the Hoy hills in the distance.
Hoy in the distance on the left and Stromness on the right.

It was an easy track to walk on and took me down to Islands View Road which runs down the hill to the school and therefore the car. The whole walk was just under 8km (according to my phone) and took me about 2hrs. It was a lovely round walk with lots more to explore on another day. 

The route back down.

I hope you enjoy the photos.