Whether it be tackling the swirling and chaotic tidal streams within the Pentland Firth or gently gliding through glass-like waters beneath a sheltered cliff-line, the experiences and memories of paddling in Orkney will ensure you find an excuse to return time and time again.
The 70-plus islands and remote skerries which make up the archipelago of the Orkney Islands are recognised by many as a sea kayaker’s paradise. With clear blue waters, golden sandy beaches, cliffs and deep caves they offer a variety of journeys and adventures for the beginner through to the advanced paddler.
There are a number of easier paddling options for those new to kayaking or wanting a more relaxing adventure. These include the sheltered shorelines close to the Churchill Barriers, around Scapa Flow or within the many deep bays and inlets which have access to the shore.
For the more adventurous paddler wishing to tackle the white water and faster-moving currents, there are wild and remote coastlines with open water crossings to far-flung and unspoilt islands like Auskerry, Swona, Papa Westray and North Ronaldsay.
The beauty of paddling amongst the many islands and spending time on the ocean is that you can do things at your own pace. The choice is yours, whether it be an overnight camp on a remote beach, a chat with a friendly islander, a close-up encounter with an otter or just choosing to head for the watery horizon to search out the peace and tranquillity of being in one of the most beautiful and atmospheric sea kayaking locations in the world.
The Wild West
The exposed and stunning cliff-lined coastline along the north and west of Orkney provides an excellent playground for those wishing to feel the power of the ocean swell and tackle the waves that have travelled thousands of miles from the mid Atlantic.
Gaining access to the base of steep cliffs teeming with seabirds, or the remote off-shore skerries gives the paddler the opportunity to explore sections of coastline which are relatively inaccessible to others. This unique and exciting method of travel lets the paddler experience being ‘up close and personal’ with a wide range of wildlife including a myriad of seabirds, sleeping seals and even pods of porpoise or killer whales
if you’re lucky!
It is imperative that wherever you choose to explore, you should check an up-to-date local weather forecast and tide tables to ensure the weather and water conditions are within your ability. Having a good knowledge of tidal movements that may affect your journey and prior experience of being in choppy or unpredictable seas will enhance your enjoyment of seeking out the many adventures on offer around the unspoilt and rugged coastlines.
If you have any recommended kayaking routes that we can suggest to others,
please email email@example.com and
we will happily add them to our site.