March has flown by, suddenly it is nearly April and only a month to go until my first walks of the 2022 season! I have various bookings and enquiries coming in just now and the month of May is filling up nicely with a good mixture of mixed group and bespoke walks.

I went to a meeting with the Orkney Nature Festival steering group, which I attend with 2 hats on, one as the Orkney Field Club rep and the other as Wild Orkney Walks. I will be offering a guided walk as part of this year’s festival on Friday 20th May. The Orkney Field Club will also be running an event, more details on these will follow once the programme has been announced.

View from Russadale

While we are on the subject of festivals, I have completed a draft programme of walks for the Orkney International Science Festival. Keep an eye out for more details of this in the near future.

I recently encountered some unexpected access issues and as a result I have decided to withdraw the Hidden Gem Swanbister Circular walk from my website. I am, however, able to offer an alternative route – The 2 Bays Walk which combines parts of another Hidden Gem walk. It is a lovely walk, approx 4.5 miles along and takes 4-5 hours.

Orphir Coastline
Orphir Coastline

I did this walk recently with a small group of Destination Orkney members, on a beautiful day in March and it was a huge success. Destination Orkney had organised a week of tours to showcase smaller businesses and areas off the beaten track, so I joined the one on South Ronaldsay. It was a fantastic day out visiting various attractions and cafes, and a good opportunity to meet new people and do some networking.

I am excited to be offering a special island trip to Flotta this year. I offered this as part of the OISF in September last year and as it was so popular, I decided to offer it throughout the summer. Flotta is one of my favourite islands to visit, the roads are very quiet, the locals very welcoming of any visitors and the variety of wildlife that you can see is just amazing. There are 2 different routes that I do, depending on the time of year, so as to avoid causing any disturbance to breeding birds. I am very much looking forward to showing visitors around Flotta.

View on Flotta

As always, I am always on the lookout for new walks to do, especially ones that can be done using public transport. If you have any suggestions please do let me know.

March Walks & Island Trips

I’ve been lucky to have a few island trips this month – Stronsay, Shetland and North Ronaldsay and I have been very lucky with the weather too!

On Stronsay, I enjoyed a walk around the village of Whitehall while my partner was working. I spent a fair bit of time on the pier watching the Tysties (Black Guillemots) displaying to each other. I just love the sound they make, make sure you have your volume turned up for the video.

I can highly recommend the Fishmart Café on Stronsay for good value meals, a hot cuppa and excellent chocolate brownies!

We had a couple of nice walks at Rothiesholm beach and the Vat of Kirbister, and clocked up a respectable 54 species of birds, including a large flock of Shelduck displaying and a hunting Short-eared Owl.

Shortly after, we ventured north to Shetland where my partner was working for the day. This is always a very short visit as we get the overnight ferry up and return the next day but it’s still nice to go somewhere different for walks and wildlife. One of his jobs was on the island of Bressay, so I was dropped off at the far side of the island (opposite Noss) and walked back to the village. Although there wasn’t much in the way of birdlife it was a beautiful, sunny day. Back in Lerwick, I then had a walk out to Clickimin Broch and back by The Knab to Lerwick harbour – I certainly got my steps in that day!

Our last island visit in March, was a long weekend on North Ronaldsay – no work this time, just pleasure. We flew out on the Islander plane and stayed at the North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory.

Within our first couple of hours, we had 3 year ticks – Wheatear, Chiffchaff and a Black Redstart – nice! Sadly no photos as none of them were very obliging but we did see plenty sheep and seals. We enjoyed some lovely walks over the weekend exploring the island and its wildlife. I can highly recommend the Lighthouse Cafe which serves the most amazing patisserie cakes!

Wildlife seen in March

There has been lots to see this month including wildflowers, unusual garden visitors and some rare beetles at Yesnaby. Here’s some photos of my sightings throughout March.

I will leave you for now with this short video I took of the North Ronaldsay sheep running along the beach.