Walk: Best of Deerness
Orkney has an array of interesting coastlines to choose from, and Deerness is up there with the best of them. The succession of unusual coastal features begins with the collapsed sea cave known as The Gloup, followed by the almost-sea-stack at the Brough of Deerness, linked tenuously to the mainland by a steep cliff-edge path and sporting the remains of a Viking settlement. Straightforward walking around Mull Head follows, culminating in the Covenanters Memorial. This commemorates the Presbyterian Covenanters taken prisoner at the Battle of Bothwell Brig in 1679, some of whom later lost their lives in a shipwreck off the coast near here. The coastal section gets increasingly overgrown after Mull Head - best to ignore the undergrowth brushing constantly against your legs and instead enjoy the views towards Stronsay and Shapinsay.
|[The path to the Brough of Deerness (right) involves traversing a steep cliff face: metal chains help with the steep section]|
Name: Walk: Best of Deerness ★★★☆☆
Length: 9 km / 6 miles
Ascent: 380 metres
Points of interest: The Gloup; Brough of Deerness; Mull Head; Covenanters Memorial
Start / finish: Car park at end of Denwick Road, Deerness, G.R.: HY 575077 / worth steady hamper
Route: Car park - East Denwick - Breckan - The Gloup - Brough of Deerness - Mull Head - Covenanters Memorial - start
Terrain: Tracks for inland sections, wet near start. Excellent coastal paths become wet after Mull Head, then drier but overgrown approaching the memorial. Steep steps / path above a big drop to ascend the Brough; apart from this, gradients are gradual.
Wildlife today: Unbearable numbers of large flies on the first leg of the walk, thankfully blown away by the breeze once the coast was reached. Shags, cormorants, fulmars and other seabirds in small numbers beyond.
Weather today: Overcast and little wind to start, soon becoming sunny. Temperatures climbing towards high teens - warmer than the rest of the week.
|[Bay at Brough of Deerness]|
Route credit: Walkhighlands (modified)