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Active Orkney

Active Orkney

Coast and water sports

Orkney has a great deal to offer the outdoor enthusiast with uncluttered beaches ideal for kitesurfing and the Orkney Oceans providing a challenging playground for surfing, sailing, windsurfing and kayaking.
A number of sailing events take place throughout the year in which visitors are welcome to participate such as the Orkney Challenge Yacht Race from Lossiemouth to Kirkwall which takes place in July.
For further details on sailing, piers, moorings and much more contact;
Orkney Marinas, Shalderha, Holm, Orkney, KW17 2SA.    Tel. (01856) 871313 e.

For information on kayaking around Orkney, visit the websites of the Kirkwall Kayak Club and Orkney Sea Kayaking Association

Sunken Blockship in Scapa Flow

Sunken Blockship in Scapa Flow

Orkney’s lochs offer some of the best Brown Trout fishing in Britain whilst the experienced angler may catch Sea trout in the shallow sea bays on the east of the Orkney coastline around Mainland, Hoy and Scapa Flow.
The brown trout season runs from 15th March to 6th October inclusive and competitions that are held throughout the year.
Visit our sister website Orkney-fish for more information.

The waters of Orkney are a haven for divers whether you are interested in the marine life or wish to explore one of the many sunken wrecks and blockships.
A number of dive boats operate in the Scapa Flow area and you can find out all about the history, sites and diving opportunities by visiting who have a comprehensive list of all dive boat operators in Orkney.
We have also listed most of the tour/dive operators in our listings section.

Inland activities

Orkney boasts some stunning scenery for the walker, horse rider, cyclist or climber and Golfers are welcome at any of Orkney’s golf clubs.

Walking is one of the best ways to experience Orkney.  Wander at your leisure or follow one of the many walking routes found in Orkney walking guides and maps.
There are also a number of Orkney tour guides listed in our “listings” section who can take you on organised walks throughout the islands
No matter which route you choose, always remember to follow the Countryside Code

There are 3 main golf courses on the Orkney mainland; Stromness, Kirkwall, both 18 hole and the recently built South Ronaldsay, 9 hole course offering a mix of links, parkland, ditches, quarries and even wartime bunkers.
Visitors are welcome to “turn up and play” except during competitions and events.
There are also three nine hole sources on the outlying northern islands of Westray (01856) 677 263, Sanday (01857) 600 341 and North Ronaldsay (01857) 633 242.

Mountain biker crossing mud

Orkney is great for bikes

Climbing in Orkney is for the experienced climber and the majestic sea stacks are a challenging attraction.
For anyone wishing to climb in Orkney we advise that you contact the Orkney Climbing Club
and check out – Guide for climbers

Quiet, well surfaced roads of Orkney provide a wonderful opportunity for cyclists.
There are a number of maps and books which detail some scenic cycling routes in Orkney with many places along the way to stop off and investigate.

Orkney Triathlon
If multisport is your thing, then why not contact Orkney’s Triathlon club.
There are also two major Orkney Triathlon events starting with Scotland’s most scenic and friendly Hoy Half Marathon every June and the
Middle Distance Triathlon which has now become an annual event in September.

Orkney RFC play teams from Shetland and the Scottish mainland. Each year they host a 7s tournament.

The OMotocross club has a number of events throughout the season with beach races, point meeting, scrambles and bike shows.

Orkney Skatepark is located near the Peerie Sea Kirkwall.  Built in 2005. the Orkney Skatepark provides a safe activity zone for roller blading, BMX cycling and skateboarding enthusiasts.
To date we have no website or contact details for the Orkney Skatepark so suggest contacting the Visit Orkney offices for more details.

Horse Riding
Orkney Riding Centre indoor horse riding arena is located at the Market Stance on the outskirts of Kirkwall.
The 53 m x 36 m Orkney sand surface arena is available for hire by anyone in the community.

If you prefer to be outdoors on a horse and would like to go trekking in Orkney, beginners and experienced riders can find details about local facilities at
Groom a pony on a farm or have a go on a horse drawn wagonette see

Child in swimming pool

Swimming pools around the islands

Swimming Pool
There are swimming pools in Kirkwall, Stromness (01856) 873535, Hoy (01856) 701460, Sanday (01857) 600310, Stronsay (01857) 616331 and Westray (no phone).
The facility at the Pickaquoy Centre on Kirkwall offer fitness and health suites, sport, arts and entertainment, cafe, bar, cinema, adventure play area, multi-activity arena, athletics track, all weather pitch, multi-functional rooms.

Outdoor Centres
Two Outdoor centres are run by Orkney council in Hoy and Birsay.  These offer residential courses tailored to the needs of local schools and other organisations. Activities on offer include canoeing, sea kayaking, climbing, abseiling, walking, orienteering, campcraft skills, environmental studies, kite flying, archery and scuba diving.
For details call community education on (01856) 873535.

Regardless of the sport you pursue safety is paramount and if you are taking part in any outdoor activity, always check the local weather forecasts and tide tables to ensure the conditions are safe.  Wear layered clothing and pack warm and waterproof clothing.

More information

Active Orkney Guide

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