Cuilags, St John's Head and the Old Man of Hoy circuit

This challenging hill and cliff walk climbs steeply over Cuilags before descending rough ground to the impressive cliffs of St John's Head before reaching the Old Man of Hoy and returning via Rackwick village and the Glen.


Minor roads, steep ascent, pathless moorland very boggy in places; unprotected cliff edge. Navigation skills needed.

Public Transport

Passenger ferry to Hoy from Stromness, usually met by a bus to Rackwick which could be used for the return trip.


Moaness Pier, Hoy. Open start point in Google Maps for directions.

Hillwalking in Winter

Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. All route descriptions and difficulties given here are for summer conditions. See our Winter Essentials page for basic information on the skills, techniques and knowledge needed for winter hillwalking.

Users' reports

As well as reading our description of each walking route, you can read about the experiences of others users on this walk and others.
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