Scapa Flow and Loch of Ayre, St Mary's Walk in the Orkney Islands, Starting From the car park area near to Loch of Ayre, Stromness.
This is a circular route over a coastal path and overgrown, minor roads, this is an ideal walking country for people of all abilities and ages, moderate walking around sites of significant historic interest, walk along the shores of Scapa Flow, sheltered by the islands of Mainland, Graemsay, Burray, South Ronaldsay and Hoy.
The sheltered waters are a natural harbour which has been used over many centuries, from the Viking fleet of King Haokon in the 13th Century, to the present day.
The same geographical features that provide sheltered anchorage and habitable shores also support a distinctive range of wildlife,with dramatic coast scapes, the scatter of islands and the sloping farmland with lush grass land.
This landscape is framed by the ever-present high Hills of Hoy, and the heather covered slopes of the hills of the West Mainland, near where HMS Royal Oak was sunk in 1939 and other wrecks, along with the fascinating stories behind them, make Scapa Flow a world-renowned location for all those interested in maritime history.
Orkney has a unique underwater environment, from vast battleships resting in the heart of Scapa Flow, to smaller blockships dotted along the rugged coastline.
The area from Stromness to the heights of Hoy is designated as a National Scenic Area in recognition of its dramatic beauty, but a diversity of wonderful views are found throughout the area.
The walk then passes Howequoy Head, a Coastal Headland here you will find a single light anti-aircraft gun-emplacement probably for a light calibre gun.
Ready-use ammunition lockers survive in turf banks, a more challenging trek among dramatic coastal features.
Past the Loch Of Ayre, you then continuing inland to return and finish at the car park.
St Mary’s about two thirds of the way up Church Road in the centre of Stromness.
Access is straight off the street and there are very few steps in the church.
Coffee and refreshments follow the Sunday morning service and visitors are always especially made welcome.
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