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Ward Hill

Embark on a challenging trek to the summit of this hill, the highest point in all of Orkney.

Towering 1,571.5 feet (479 meters) above sea level on Hoy’s northeastern coastal fringe, Ward Hill is the tallest mountain in Orkney. Climb to the top of this hill for incredible views over the entire archipelago and stop to inspect the wildlife and historical sites found en route.

There are a number of ways to summit Ward Hill, but most visitors follow the circuit that begins at Moaness Pier. Allow about 4 to 5.5 hours to complete the trail, which stretches for 7.5 miles (12 kilometers). The path is not always well-marked, making it best suited for experienced hikers with some navigation skills.

Don’t miss the fascinating Dwarfie Stane, which is located near the beginning of the route. The only Neolithic rock-cut tomb in Britain, Dwarfie Stane dates back more than 5,000 years. Amazingly, this huge sandstone boulder was hollowed out using primitive tools, such as antlers and stones. Look for a stone slab on the tomb’s west side, which was once used to block its entrance.

The path up Ward Hill is covered in heather and is particularly lovely when it’s blooming in the autumn. Watch for guillemots, fulmars, kittiwakes and other seabirds as you make the steep climb. You might also spot mountain hares. These can be identified by their coats, which are gray-white in spring and brown in summer. Try to spot skuas, a seabird known to breed near the hill’s summit.

You’ll know you’ve reached the summit when you see a large cairn as well as a survey pillar housed inside a circular stone shelter. Pause here to rest and admire the wonderful views. You can see virtually every island in Orkney here, as well as Duncansby and Dunnet Heads on the Scottish mainland.

To get here, take the ferry to Moaness Pier from Stromness. Follow the road inland from the pier, and take the first left after the café. In the summer, it’s also possible to take a bus to Dwarfie Stane and begin your climb from there. Challenge yourself to conquer Orkney’s highest peak.


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Lodging Near Ward Hill

See all 35 Hotels near Ward Hill
Ferry Inn Stromness

Ferry Inn Stromness

10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness
0.0 out of 5.0
The Stromness Hotel

The Stromness Hotel

The Pierhead, Stromness
3.2
of 5, from 6 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Stromness, this hotel is 0.8 mi (1.3 km) from Piers Art Centre and within 6 mi (10 km) of Standing Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe. Skara Brae and Ward Hill are also within 9 mi (15 km).

Harbour Cottage

Harbour Cottage

Ferry Road, Stromness
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Stromness, this cottage is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Piers Art Centre and within 6 mi (10 km) of Standing Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe. Skara Brae and Ring of Brogdar are also within 9 mi (15 km).

Stromness

Stromness

VICTORIA STREET, STROMNESS,, ORKNEY
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Stromness, this hotel is 0 mi (0.1 km) from Piers Art Centre and within 6 mi (10 km) of Standing Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe. Skara Brae and Ring of Brogdar are also within 9 mi (15 km).

Stromness Apartments

Stromness Apartments

Milldam, Cauldhame Road, Orkney, Stromness
4.0
of 5, from 2 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Stromness, this apartment is 1.3 mi (2 km) from Piers Art Centre and within 6 mi (10 km) of Standing Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe. Skara Brae and Ring of Brogdar are also within 9 mi (15 km).

Orkneylodge

Orkneylodge

Houton Bay, Orphir
4.2
of 5, from 26 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated by the sea, this inn is within 9 mi (15 km) of Scapa Flow Visitor Centre, Standing Stones of Stenness, and Maes Howe. Piers Art Centre and Ring of Brogdar are also within 9 mi (15 km).

Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast

Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast

Lindisfarne, Stromness
4.4
of 5, from 9 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Stromness, this bed & breakfast is 1.4 mi (2.2 km) from Piers Art Centre and within 6 mi (10 km) of Standing Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe. Skara Brae and Ring of Brogdar are also within 9 mi (15 km).

$82
HammerSmith

HammerSmith

Hammersmith, Harray
5.0
of 5, from 20 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Situated in Harray, this hotel is within 6 mi (10 km) of Standing Stones of Stenness, Maes Howe, and Ring of Brogdar. Skara Brae and Piers Art Centre are also within 9 mi (15 km).