Hill: Mid Hill
Date: Thursday 19th May 2011
Company: Myself and Beinn
Time: 2 Hrs

Just a short walk today to ascend my final Orkney Marilyn.

I ascended via a different route from my pal Colin's visit last year. This route bypasses the miltary firing range; ideal if the flags are flying. It starts from a height of 113m instead of 30m and there is parking for several cars at the start. On the downside, the terrain between Gruf Hill and Ward Hill is rough and pathless and this route is around half-a-mile longer.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

I parked at the high-point of the road between Hill of Midland and Gruf Hill.

Track near start of walk:

The ascent of Gruf Hill was reasonably pleasant; a good track to start with followed by a path to the summit.

Ascending Gruf Hill:

Good views across to Hoy from this hill. Knap of Trowieglen,

Ward Hill and Cuilags, Hoy:

View from the lower of two cairns at summit of Gruf Hill:

The summit of Gruf Hill is a junction of barbed-wire fences. There is a small stile for people and a reasonable gap under the fence that Beinn managed to squeeze through.

We then made our way towards Ward Hill. Again we had to cross a barbed-wire fence. About one-hundred metres along the fence there is a small section without barbed-wire.

My map had a path marked on it between Gruf Hill and Ward Hill. There were certainly faint traces of a path here and there but I don't think it should be marked on an OS map as the terrain is mostly pathless.

Heading for Ward Hill from Gruf Hill:

In just under a kilometre, we reached the track used by Colin in his ascent of this hill. This route is outwith the Miltary Firing Range. No flags were flying today.

Miltary Firing Range sign:

We then continued to the summit of Ward Hill.

Track towards Ward Hill:

I haven't a clue what the purpose of the pole is on Ward Hill.

Strange pole at summit of Ward Hill:

Looking towards Keelylang Hill and Wideford Hill from trig point on Ward Hill:

From Ward Hill we continued on to Mid Hill. Again we had to cross a barbed-wire fence. There is a section of the fence that has collapsed that can just be walked over.

Mid Hill from Ward Hill:

The sun was shining throughout this walk but what the photos don't show is how windy it was. My eyes were watering and if I opened my mouth my cheeks were flapping. Beinn's flapometer lugs show it was at least severe gale force .

Beinn at summit of Mid Hill:

View from summit of Mid Hill:

View towards Keelylang Hill and Wideford Hill from Mid Hill:

Hoy from summit of Mid Hill:

We returned to the car via the same route and then I crossed the road to ascend the wee Hill of Midland, this time with Becky.

Becky at summit of Hill of Midland:

As I drove back along the road from the hill, I spotted a short-eared owl. This was the fourth one I have seen in the past five days. This time I managed to get a photo .

Short-eared owl:

Have enjoyed the Orkney Nine.

Would strongly recommend a visit. What the hills lack in height is more than made up for with wildlife, views and loads of ancient history.