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“Lovely long walk along the cliffs”

Mull Head Nature Reserve
Level Contributor
34 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Lovely long walk along the cliffs”
Reviewed 18 June 2014

Superb scenery, good walking terrain, lots of seabirds. The Covenanters Memorial is a sad place. The whole walk took almost 5 hours at a very leisurely pace with lots of time with the binoculars

Visited June 2014
1 Thank rkIslandwanderers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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45 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
450 reviews
139 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 152 helpful votes
“Yet another amazing Orkney walk”
Reviewed 12 June 2014

This is a lovely cliff top walk, which is reasonably flat. Park at the car park and walk towards The Gloop and then head along the cliffs, exploring along the way. There are some really interesting bits that you shouldn't miss, especially the Brough of Deerness which has a lovely ancient remains of a church on it (you access it via some steps down into the bay and then up the side of the Brough - not suitable for everybody). Another top tip is to bring waterproof footwear, as the ground is a bit soggy in places, even on a sunny day.

If you are in Deerness, then make the time to visit Newark Bay and Dingieshowe Beach, which are both stunning!

Visited June 2014
2 Thank Dr-S-White
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Biggar, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
768 reviews
298 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 809 helpful votes
“A little adventure, some history and a bracing walk”
Reviewed 10 June 2014

Located in the north east of Mainland, shortly after passing the sandy bay of St Peter’s Pool the route becomes the B9050 which then takes the form of a single track surfaced road with some passing places.

There is a car park area and not far from there (in the opposite direction of the trail to Mull Head) there is a modern (unmanned in our experience) visitor centre with tourist information and good toilets.

From the car park it is a surprisingly short stroll of a few metres to see “The Gloup” which is a Geo. This was at one time a sizeable cave, the roof of which partially collapsed and now, from a viewing platform at each end, you have a bird’s eye view of what would have been the interior. The access to the sea is still covered by a land bridge. Apart from the fenced area to give secure viewpoints the large gash in the landscape is open to wander - just don’t get too close to the sloping edges as it’s a long way down. It is possible to hire boats to get into The Gloup from the sea but we weren’t aware of this at the time - tourist information centres will have details.

There are walks right along the coastline here on grass tracks in either direction for miles. Facing the sea we went left where there’s a choice of heading towards the coastline or taking a quicker direct landward route - both lead to the Brough of Deerness (we went via the coastline and returned via the other path). Not unlike most of the cliff top routes we found ourselves upon during our visit it was “breezy”. The coastline route has sections of trail which are less obvious as they cross over rock but we felt it was worthwhile to appreciate the setting. It only took about 15 minutes to reach the area overlooking the Brough of Deerness - the paths converge at a point not far from a wooden staircase which indicates the start of the descent to the shoreline and access to the Brough. This path was straightforward and leads down to a gap between the mainland and the base of the Brough - there is an inlet nearby from the sea however the tide would need to be at abnormal levels to effect the route.

The first section of the path to the top of the Brough looks a little off-putting as there are large steps cut into the rock however there is a chain secured the length of the route on the inner side which provides the comfort of a hand rail of sorts. The outer edge of the path is open and as you ascend there is a sizeable drop to the rocks below but the path is well worn and at points wide enough to make it feasible for two people to pass (we met a couple when we were returning and managed to get past each other). Unless you are particularly afraid of heights it’s perfectly manageable - just focus on the path. - it’s not a rock climb. Originally the land would have bridged the gap however apparently this had already crumbled before a settlement was established - the Brough of Deerness.

There has been quite a bit of archaeology carried out which has revealed around 30 buildings on the site although these are covered by rough grass with the exception of a small chapel, the ruins of which date back to around the 11th Century. Other finds on the site point to earlier settlement which may have been a fortified position belonging to a chief and later became a monastery (there is much evidence of building upon existing structures). During World War I & II it appears that shells were fired into the Brough as target practice which just adds to the confusion!

We were quite conscious that in some areas the grass tufts sloped away to the edge of a drop of 25 metres or so and didn’t venture too near. A small cairn had been started on a rocky outcrop, the site of a previous structure possibly. There was a good view along the coast to Mull Head and through binoculars we spotted a small colony of Cormorants sitting on the rocks across the bay however with the weather conditions as they were we didn’t linger for more than 15 minutes before heading back down the path and returning the slightly more sheltered route to the car park.

The coastal path continues towards Mull Head and the Covenanters Memorial if you have more time to spend in the area. I'd recommend walking shoes/boots and layered clothing.

A little adventure, some history and a bracing walk made for an interesting trip as far as we were concerned.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank Rantin rover
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Grantham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
83 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Easy walk to the amazing Geo”
Reviewed 5 June 2014 via mobile

After visiting the visitor centre and loos here I discovered that it wasn't far to walk to the Geo from the car park. I was worried it would be too far for me to walk as I'm on crutches but it was a very easy walk on a flat stony path to the Geo. When I got to the Geo there were a few steps to the bridge where you can get superb views of the naturally made Geo where the sea has carved a hole in the cliffs. Watching the swallows flying was mesmerising and beyond the Geo I had great views of Black Guillemots and Fulmars. I highly recommend that walk for anyone and for the more adventurous there were more walks beyond there that looked lovely too!

1 Thank Faith C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Stirling, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
85 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Lovely walk”
Reviewed 20 May 2014

Lovely walk, amazing views, stopped to take lots of photos on the way. Very steep cliffs so be careful. A bit marshy at bits but overall a great walk. Our dog loved it.

Visited May 2014
2 Thank JillAdventures
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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