|Length||12.5 miles /20km|
|Terrain||Rough coastal walking with some recourse to road (2 miles). There are some very steep sections at Costa Hill and Whitaloo Point.|
|Grugar road section||1.93km (1.2 miles)|
|Midhouse road section||1.47km (0.9 miles)|
A clifftop walk with views to Rousay and Eynhallow.
The first stage of the pilgrimage, from Evie to Birsay, follows the journey of Magnus’s body as it was carried from Gurness to Christ Kirk in Birsay. Our theme for this stage of the journey is therefore Loss – reflecting on the death of Magnus, and our own stories of loss. It is likely that the original procession follows roughly where the main road now leads, on high ground to the Loch of Swannay, skirting Costa Hill and proceeding past Crustan to Northside and on to St Magnus Kirk.
Our route, whilst close to this, takes the more scenic coastal option as much as possible, with stunning views of Eynhallow, Rousay, Westray and the Brough of Birsay. The sites of Mansie Stanes, or Magnus Stones, where they rested the body on the way, are pointed out though none are now visible in the landscape.
Evie Coast walking terrain
The coastal walking in Evie, from Aikerness onwards, is quite challenging. The ground is very rough with stones and tussocky grass. It is some of the hardest walking on the entire route and its easy to turn an ankle. In dry weather it is easy to walk along the shore instead but in wet weather this too becomes challenging as the rocks are slippy. We would like to be able to improve the ground without putting a formal path in, since the rough walking is part of the character of this part of the way. We would also like to work with landowners on some of the places where the fields come very close to the shore to make a little more room for walkers.
Evie Coast - Grugar to Urrigar
In the long term we would like to be able to walk along the entire coast from Gurness to Costa Hill. The routes up to the road and back can then be used as access points for shorter walks. The section between Grugar and Urrigar requires quite a lot of work, in co-operation with lots of different landowners, to make it walkable. At present the fencing is too tight against the shore and there are some precipitous drops. We need to raise a considerable sum of money and have the agreement of every landowner in order to progress this further.