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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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See all 76 properties near Ward Hill
The Ferry Inn and Royal Hotel Stromness £95
The Ferry Inn and Royal Hotel Stromness

The Ferry Inn and Royal Hotel Stromness

10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the heart of Stromness, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Piers Art Centre and Stromness Museum. Standing Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe are also within 6 mi (10 km).

    The Stromness Hotel
    The Stromness Hotel

    The Stromness Hotel

    The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
       
      3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in Stromness, this hotel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Mainland, Piers Art Centre and Stromness Ferry Terminal. Stromness Museum is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) away.

      Stromness
      Stromness

      Stromness

      VICTORIA STREET, STROMNESS,, Stromness, Scotland
         
        3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Mainland, Piers Art Centre and Stromness Ferry Terminal. Stromness Museum is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) away.

        Harbour Cottage £160
        Harbour Cottage

        Harbour Cottage

        Ferry Road, Stromness, Scotland
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in the heart of Stromness, this cottage is steps away from Mainland and Stromness Ferry Terminal. Piers Art Centre and Stromness Museum are also within 15 minutes.

          Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast £89
          Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast

          Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast

          Lindisfarne, Stromness, Scotland
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in a rural location, this bed & breakfast is within 2 miles (3 km) of Mainland, Stromness Ferry Terminal and Piers Art Centre. Stromness Museum is 1.8 mi (2.9 km) away.

            Stromness Apartments
            Stromness Apartments

            Stromness Apartments

            Milldam, Cauldhame Road, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in Stromness, this apartment building is 1.1 mi (1.8 km) from Piers Art Centre and 1.6 mi (2.6 km) from Stromness Museum. Standing Stones of Stenness and Maes Howe are also within 6 mi (10 km).

              Orkneylodge
              Orkneylodge

              Orkneylodge

              Houton Bay, Orkney Isles, Orphir, Scotland
                 
                3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Orphir, this beach hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Mainland and within 9 miles (15 km) of Scapa Flow Visitor Centre and Standing Stones of Stenness. Maes Howe and Ring of Brogdar are also within 9 miles (15 km).

                Charming 3 Bedroom Family Home Close to Stromness
                Charming 3 Bedroom Family Home Close to Stromness

                Charming 3 Bedroom Family Home Close to Stromness

                Bu Road, Stromness, SCT
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Stromness, this holiday home is within 2 miles (3 km) of Mainland, Piers Art Centre and Stromness Ferry Terminal. Stromness Museum is 1.7 mi (2.8 km) away.