Over the hills to Earl Hakon’s Round Kirk.

Locations Public Convenience
Length9.35 miles (15 km)
TerrainRough heather across Cuween with good steep tracks up and down Lyradale and a gentler track from Naversdale to Nearhouse. Around Orphir it mostly road walking with a beautiful off road coastal track from The Breck.
Total ascent332m
Total on road3.66 miles (5.9 km)
Total off road5.69 miles (9.1 km)
Time5-7 hours

At Finstown the Mansie Stane tradition runs out and it is possible this is because they travelled by boat from Finstown past Damsay round to Kirkwall rather than traversing the bog or pulling over the hill. The third stage, from Finstown to Orphir, therefore shifts attention to Hakon, Magnus’s cousin who ordered his death and ruled the united Earlship afterwards. He himself made pilgrimage to Jerusalem and it was likely this journey and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that inspired the construction of the Round Kirk in Orphir.

Our theme for this stage is Forgiveness – reflecting on whether Hakon was sorry for the murder of Magnus, and our own need to both receive and extend forgiveness. We climb past Cuween Hill to the Hill of Lyradale and then down the other side to the track that leads from Naversdale past Burgir to Nearhouse. From there we are on road to Orphir Kirk, walking in a loop past Gyre to Earl’s Bu and the Round Kirk and back up to Orphir Kirk. You can also download a detailed route description and gpx file for use with mapping software.

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