The St Magnus Way is a 58-mile pilgrimage route through Mainland Orkney, inspired by the life and death of Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint.

It incorporates rough coastal walking, inland track and road walking, hill climbing and even a short forest walk. The St Magnus Way consists of six main sections each offering a very different landscape and reflective space.

By enabling our app to access your location, pilgrims can explore resources relevant to the particular Waypoint. Together the blend of real-world exploration and multimedia resources allows people the opportunity to discover more about Orkney and themselves as they walk.

  • Starting on Egilsay, the pilgrimage begins with a journey to three key historical sites of Magnus's martyrdom around the year 1117, St Magnus round towered church , the St Magnus memorial and the beach . The ferry returns you to Tingwall, from where you can either walk or drive to Gurness, the starting point for the Mainland pilgrimage.
  • The next section from Gurness to Birsay follows the traditional route Magnus’ body was carried when his mother was granted his Christian burial in Birsay.
  • Around twenty years later his shrine was taken to Kirkwall. The second and third sections follow this route from Birsay, to Dounby and from Dounby to Finstown.
  • From there we deviate from the shrine path which continued along the hill ridge to Kirkwall, and instead head up over Lyradale to Orphir, reflecting on Hakon’s penitent pilgrimage to Jerusalem and allowing the opportunity to visit the Round Kirk he may have built on his return.
  • Our final section journeys around Scapa Flow to Kirkwall, and the Cathedral that bears his name.

Children's Activity Pack

The pupils of the Stromness Primary School have designed a Children's Activity Pack showing wildlife and plants that can be seen along the St Magnus Way pilgrimage route. For added interest on your journey, it can be downloaded and printed out by clicking here.


Please be advised that some sections of the walk are along exposed cliff tops which are subject to coastal erosion and become especially hazardous in adverse weather. Consequently, any information provided on this website should be taken as indicative only and is not a substitute for you observing in-situ real-time conditions.

Likewise, some of the route skirts open water and traverses rough terrain. Anyone walking or cycling the St Magnus Way is reminded that they are responsible for their own safety and ensuring that their provisions, clothing and footwear are appropriate for the prevailing conditions, which may vary according to the season and can change significantly in the course of one day.

Please plan to complete your walk during daylight hours and be advised that large sections of the route are remote and have no mobile phone reception - you therefore need to be self-sufficient.

Orkney Pilgrimage accepts no liability for any loss, injury or ill health that occurs while walking or cycling any of the routes or visiting any of the sites suggested in our publications.

We provide no guarantee of the accuracy, performance, completeness or suitability of any information or materials on this website. Orkney Pilgrimage excludes liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by Scots law. Any use of the information and materials provided on this website is at your own risk.

This website occasionally links to other websites. We provide these links for your convenience and to further inform visitors. They do not indicate endorsement, and Orkney Pilgrimage accepts no responsibility for the contents of the linked websites.

This project is being part financed by the Scottish Government and the European Community Orkney LEADER 2014 – 2020 Programme