The moorland landscape of this RSPB reserve on the Orkney mainland provides windswept and wild scenery, completely at odds with the surrounding green fields and coastline.

Visit during the summer months for stunning views of the north isles and the Hoy hills to the south. You can also see hen-harriers, short-eared owls and Arctic skuas. Keep your eye out for the elusive Orkney Vole too, as featured in episode one of the ‘Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney’.

There is also a hide at the top of Burgar Hill, in amongst the huge wind turbines, overlooking a small loch which is an important breeding ground for red-throated divers.

How to get there

The main part of the reserve is west of the village of Evie and the A966. The B9057 road (known locally as the Hillside Road) between the village of Dounby and Evie cuts through the middle of the reserve.

You can find the Burgar Hill hide by following the signs off the A966 road, around a mile north of Evie.

In the area

The Broch of Gurness – nestled on the coastline overlooking Eynhallow Sound, the Broch of Gurness is one of Orkney’s finest Iron Age sites. The scattering of buildings, walls, ditches and structures is a fascinating place to explore.

The Woolshed – part of the Orkney Craft Trail, the Woolshed is a treasure trove of knitwear and felt, made from the fleece of North Ronaldsay’s famous seaweed-eating sheep. From handbags to teddy bears and jumpers to rugs, there is something for everyone.

Trout fishing – the lochs of Swannay, Hundland and Boardhouse are all nearby and are excellent locations to cast a line in search of Orkney’s abundant trout. Visit the Orkney Trout Fishing Association website for more details.

Find out more

Find out more about the West Mainland of Orkney with our dedicated page. Look for accommodation in the area with Visit Orkney.

Visit the RSPB Birsay Moors reserve website for more information.