Posted by: brendaintheboro | July 18, 2017

Cycling in the Orkney Isles – part 2

pSaturday started well with a sunnyish morning. To get to the campsite, we had followed the signage which took us around the back of the town, up a lot of hills. However, we found out that cycles can come straight along the lower road , but could not take campervans or caravans, so that is the way we left the town.  It is mostly flagged on each side with cobbles up the middle and locals with cars come along here, if they live in those older houses.

We climbed up from Stromness , on the A965 and then turned eastwards on  a quiet road past the Loch of Stenness and up the B9055  called at the standing stones of Stenness. These are a Neolithic henge and are older then the famous Stonehenge .

These are about 5 miles from Stromness. We then cycled back to the main road and carried on eastwards until we came to a sign posted for Hobbister where we turned south and climbed up through flower filled meadows being grazed by  dark cream coloured cows and calves.

The majority of these animals are farmed for beef and there is only one dairy farm left in the islands. We eventually  reached the summit and could see the sea on the other side.


Part way down the hill, we had a stop in a falling apart bus shelter  with brand new shiny bike racks. We ate 2nd breakfast here and then rode down through Kirkbister and turned east on the A964 along to Kirkwall. The road rolls up and down all the way but I was pleased to be riding well and didn’t have to dismount on any of the hills.

We were in Kirkwall by lunchtime and called to Tourist information for directions to the Pickaquoy centre where the site is. It wasn’t far and we were pitched up by 1.00pm Then the rain started.

It was just then that I realised I had left my tablet plugged in at the Stromness site. What to do? We decided that I would catch the bus, with my bike , so I could ride to the site. I wasn’t too sure it would be there, but phew it was.  So with a quick sprint ( well sprint for me haha) I was back at the bus station and got the bus back.  Cost for return journey was £6.40. I should have bought a return ticket and it would have been a 10% saving.

Near to the bus station, are 3 supermarkets in Kirkwall, so it is easy to pick up food for meals. The campsite also has a fridge and small freezer for use of campers. So we cooked and had our evening meal in the tent and then went to the lounge area and had a pleasant evening chatting with other campers and an archaeology student.

Sunday  9th July 2017

The day dawned rainy but by 8.00am the sun had come out  and we sat enjoying breakfast outside. This was the day we would attend church and on the previous Friday we had met two of the church missionaries  in a supermarket car park. They told us that the members were now meeting in the local Grammar school and not where they had met for many years. Good that we knew but it was up a steep hill from the bottom of St Magnus cathedral. There were lots of tourists.

After the meetings, we had lunch and then went for an exploring ride. We saw a huge cruise liner , so that explained the large number of tourists. Locals told us that these cruise ships, while bringing in tourists are becoming a problem. There are 20,000 residents and some weeks the cruise ships alone bring in 14,000 people which can overwhelm the favourite spots. Now, if you want to visit Maes Howe you have to book in advance and you are bussed up to the site. Having been there previously, our ideas were to visit the smaller islands.



  1. Good work in the tablet recovery department.

    • I was ever so relieved even though it was a son’s cast off. heehee

  2. I love every photo, enjoy every word! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures!

    • you are welcome Sue. I hope it gives you some inspiration for the future.

  3. Brenda, I’m glad you got your tablet back! It sounds like a good ride and I see by the photos how well equipped you are. I loved the Stenness standing stones – older than Stonehenge – who would have thought?

  4. the Neolithic history is fascinating Robyn. Then we have the Vikings and WW2 history as well.

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