Cycling The Orkneys - Day 1 of 3- John O'Groats to Stromness
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Join Will on a 3 day mini break cycling around the Orkney Islands. Based in Stormness, we will spend three days visiting the sights around the Mainland and the isle of Hoy.
Today's itinerary is to catch the ferry to Burwick from John O'Groats and spend the day cycling to Stromness, a total distance of 83 km. You can view the route here.
You will need to carry everything you need for your three day excursion. We only need to carry our belongings the first day, after which we can leave them at the hotel in Stromness.
The ferry leaves John O'Groats at 8:45, takes 40 minutes and costs £21. No need to book and bicycles travel free. Be at the ferry terminal 30 minutes before departure.
Today we will be visiting;
- Tomb of the Eagles and Bank's Chambered Tomb - a couple neolithic tombs
- The Italian Chapel on Lamb Holm. The chapel was built by Italian POWs during World War Two.
- The Churchill Barriers. "It was the sinking – by German submarine attack - of HMS Royal Oak in October 1939 with the loss of 833 lives, that prompted then First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, to order the building of a series of causeways – the Churchill Barriers – to block off the eastern approaches to the naval anchorage of Scapa Flow."
- Some of the original block ships are visible from the Church Barriers including The Reginald. It was built in Glasgow in 1878 and was sunk on 15th September 1915. The stern section of the ship, which lies on its port side is said to be one of the most distinctive views of any of the block ships."
- Bishops Castle and Earls Palace in Kirkwall; medieval ruin dating back to 1100 and palace built 1600s.
Accommodation suggestions in Stormness:
- Brown's Hostel
- Hamnavoe Hostel
- Will, Skip & Jon found themselves a 3 bed apartment in the centre of Stromness with Booking.com
Keep costs down by getting twin rooms or sharing.
Getting there and back again
The nearest train station is in Thurso, approximately 30 km cycle away.
Will's return plan is to catch a ferry from Stormness to Scrabster on which is a short cycle to Thurso. From there he is getting a train to Inverness and catching the Caledonian Sleeper train that evening to Crewe.
Day 2 event is here.
Day 3 event is here.
If you have any questions regarding equipment etc email Will.Allaway@Outdoorlads.com.
Keep in touch
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What to bring
Bike: a road bike or touring bike.
Helmet: OutdoorLads requires you to wear one and so does Will.
Cycling Clothing: lightweight and layered, colourful and/or reflective clothing will make you more visible to other road users. Aim to bring 2-3 sets of cycling outfits.
Footwear: suitable for your bike and pedals. Some bike shoes are ok to walk in, but keep in mind you’re wearing them all day; a slip-on or flip-flop will be a welcome change in the evening.
Gloves: cycle gloves help avoid blisters, and are good in the cold
Punctures: spare inner tube, bike tyre pump and tyre levers
Tools: any special tools that your bike needs
Small snacks: such as chocolate or energy bars
Plenty of water: in bottle/s on your bike.
Medicines: if you have hay fever, diabetes, minor ailments etc.
Eye protection: avoid getting grit or insects in your eyes, sunglasses are OK if they are not made of glass and not too shaded
Bike lights: be seen and safe - we have long day light hours but are useful in bad weather.
Mobile Phone: keep it in a waterproof bag for use in emergencies.
Ruck sack or panniers: You will need to carry your spare clothes and wash kit to Stromness. Carrying kit in a ruck sack can become tiresome, I would recommend panniers, though make sure your bike is suitable to attach them. Alternatively buy frame bags that fit behind your saddle and within the frame of your bike.
Evening wear: We will be going out for drinks and meals, an outfit other then lycra would be a bonus for your sanity.
Clothes washing liquid: Useful for freshening up your clothes.
Chamois cream - helps avoids rubbing on the bum cheeks.
GPS Computer - track your progress and go off on your own if fed up of our company
Food & drink
Please bring plenty of snacks, the plan is to stop somewhere nice for lunch but I can't guarantee somewhere will present itself.