Ward Hill

Holiday Travel Guide
Ward Hill showing mountains and rocky coastline

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.

Top Trending Hotels Near Ward Hill

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
2 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £42 per night from 28 Nov to 28 Nov
Situated in Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Mainland, Standing Stones of Stenness and Piers Art Centre. Stromness Ferry Terminal and Stromness Museum ...
3.5/5 Good! (2 reviews)
"This would have been a grand hotel in its day. Our room had been updated & very comfortable with good heating & a large TV. The breakfast was faultless with a great choice. Staff very friendly & helpful. Recommend staying here. We had two nights & would definitely stay again."

Reviewed on 25 Oct 2021

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
Ferry Inn Stromness
Ferry Inn Stromness
3 out of 5
10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
Located in the heart of Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Standing Stones of Stenness and Piers Art Centre. Stromness Museum and Maes Howe are also within ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (92 reviews)
"Convenient location right next to ferry. There is public parking next door which is free from 5pm to 9am, but actually there is one hour free parking, so in effect it is free from 4pm to 9am or 5pm to 10am. Staff were nice and room was clean and comfortable. Breakfast was amazing (particularly the ..."

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2021

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Ferry Inn Stromness
The Stromness Hotel
The Stromness Hotel
3 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
Situated in Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Standing Stones of Stenness and Mainland. Piers Art Centre and Stromness Ferry Terminal are also within ...
3.1/5 (7 reviews)
Good Location that’s about it
"The hotel is in a great location. Unfortunately the hotel in its self is a bit tired and could do with a make over. The guy at check in was a bit scary.!!"

Reviewed on 3 Aug 2018

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The Stromness Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Hotel Deals

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
2 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £42 per night from 28 Nov to 28 Nov
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
Ferry Inn Stromness
Ferry Inn Stromness
3 out of 5
10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
Ferry Inn Stromness
The Stromness Hotel
The Stromness Hotel
3 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The Stromness Hotel
The Royal Hotel Stromness
The Royal Hotel Stromness
3 out of 5
55-57 Victoria St, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £110 per night from 29 Oct to 29 Oct
The Royal Hotel Stromness
Harbour Cottage
Harbour Cottage
3.5 out of 5
Ferry Road, Stromness, Scotland
Harbour Cottage
Stromness Apartments
Stromness Apartments
3.5 out of 5
Milldam, Cauldhame Road, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
Stromness Apartments
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
3 out of 5
Lindisfarne, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £80 per night from 5 Nov to 5 Nov
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Bu Road, Stromness, SCT
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Orkneylodge
Orkneylodge
3 out of 5
Houton Bay, Orkney Isles, Orphir, Scotland
Orkneylodge
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.