This section of the Way begins at the Broch of Gurness. A rigorous shore and clifftop walk with views to Rousay, Eynhallow and Westray.

Locations Public Convenience Caution Standing Stone
Length12.5 miles (20 km)
TerrainRough coastal walking with some recourse to road. There are some very steep sections at Costa Hill and Whitaloo Point.
Total ascent260m
Grugar road section1.93km (1.2 miles)
Midhouse road section1.47km (0.9 miles)
Total off road10.4 miles (16.6 km)
Time7-9 hours

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. You can download a detailed route description and gpx file for use with mapping software.

IMPORTANT. Please read the Advice for Pilgrims about what to expect in respect of weather, coast, roads, you can also download a detailed route description and route map.

Route Development

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.

Evie to Birsay route map with alternatives. Feb 2023

Showing alternative routes for very high tides and less confident walkers.

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