Here is an astonishing walk from mainland Orkney to that tidal island, the Brough of Birsay, and the Pictish, Viking and Christian monastic ruins there. Certainly there are longer and more exhausting walks, and perhaps there are more beautiful places to end up, but I’ve never had such a total experience, a combination of effort and beauty, than what we found walking to and from the Brough of Birsay, from literally stepping over a briefly exposed North Sea, to hiking up to a lighthouse and cliffside and looking west to where the nearest land was Canada, thousands of ocean miles away.

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24 thoughts on “Walking the Brough of Birsay, Orkney

  1. I think “beautiful and frightening” sum it up perfectly. I sat in the remains of one of the Viking houses, & walked to where the door was, that would’ve opened out on the brutal North Sea, & wondered what kind of precarious life it was, living there, waking up in the morning & facing that. If I can ever post the videos from that walk, all you’ll hear is the endless howl of strong wind

  2. We did, and it wasn’t hard, since all over the mainland there were tide times. I think that day there was a window between 11am and 2pm.

  3. I’m not sure there is a lovelier walk, or a more beautiful place to end up, actually!
    xoxo – yr walking partner

  4. Breathtaking. Also very evocative of some of my favorite places, including southern New Zealand, and my own backyard in the San Juan Islands. Thank you for this, and for following Wing’s World!

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