The Orkney Folklore Trail

Stromness illustrator Bryce Wilson's mermaid from The Mermaid Bride by Orkney's storyteller, Tom Muir - Orkneyology.com

Welcome to Orkney ~ an ancient culture where mermaids sing and finmen take human brides. Giants dance here, and the terrible nucklavee haunts our lonely shores. 

Come along with us and experience Orkney's legends and lore where the stories happened.

Near Yesnaby, Orkney - From the free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland. Discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com

Take your Orkney storyteller for a drive

July, 2019 brings the launch of a free Android app celebrating Orkney's stories and lore, hosted by Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir.

The Orkney Folklore Trail offers Orkney stories and music in the form of a driving trail around Orkney's West Mainland.

From the free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland. Discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com

The Orkney landscape breathes stories

Download the Orkney Folklore Trail app and let Tom Muir guide you around the West Mainland.

He'll tell you a few of the stories that belong to the places you'll see.

St John's Head, Rackwick, Hoy, Orkney Islands - Orkneyology.com

You'll find helpful tips at each of the 10 sites to make your day out enjoyable. We've suggested nearby Orkney attractions to see and rural shops to visit.

We even point out where the toilets are! (An important consideration when you're out wandering about all day.)

From the free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland. Discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com

So let yourself be enchanted by stories that have been told by Orcadians for centuries ... and far longer.


Stones of Stenness, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

The Story of the Orkney Folklore Trail

Tom and I had been contemplating how we could help people discover less-known places in Orkney, along with the rich folklore that saturates these locations. We had loads of Orkney stories, but no technical ability.

A fortuitous conversation with Robert Gordon University researchers Rachael Ironside and Stewart Massie began a dynamic partnership that would bring the vision into being.

Rachael was keen to explore ways to engage visitors with the islands’ supernatural stories. Stewart, a techy wizard of great ability, had the specialized skills we needed. Another tech wizard soon joined the adventure - Tim Melcherson of Sweden. 

The creators of the free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland. Discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com

We all joined forces and started on our adventure to create the digital Orkney Folklore Trail.

Six months later, the team had created a driving trail of the Orkney Mainland’s west coast.

The creators of the free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland. Discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com

The trail begins in Stromness, with nine more stopping points to explore. GPS guides the traveler through the West Mainland. As the visitor arrives at each location, the stories from that place will ‘unlock.'

These traditional Orkney stories are narrated by Tom Muir and beautifully enhanced by fiddle tunes from Fionn McArthur and illustrations from Stromness historian and illustrator Bryce Wilson.

The back view of Maeshowe, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Folklore Trail Tips

  • Wizard Tim has carefully added the appropriate public toilet locations to the app. Press the red circle in the upper left to access. 
Free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland - discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com
  • Driving-only time around the trail is about 1½ hours, but there’s a lot to explore. The trail can be completed in 4 - 5 hours, but it’s better to take 1 - 2 days to complete the trail at a leisurely pace. 
  • Each location on the Orkney Folklore Trail has specific tips.
Free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland - discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com
Free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland - discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com
  • Find the complete Orkney Toilet Map here. 
  • Weather: Dress in removable layers – one of them waterproof – and wear sturdy shoes or boots. Hats and gloves are a good idea, even in summer. Some locations can be windy, wet and wild. 

  • See our Rainy Day in Orkney page for alternate activities in case the day gets too soggy. We hope you’ll try again tomorrow. 
  • Take your time and enjoy! You might want to explore the nearby places of interest that we suggest.
  • For the locations of shops and galleries, find Orkney's Creative Trail here.

Quick tips for driving in Orkney

  • Drive on the left.
  • Roundabouts: Give way to oncoming traffic on your right, then follow the arrows clockwise around the circle, signaling before you exit.

  • Passing places: NEVER park in a passing place. Pull over into a PP on your left to give way to oncoming traffic on narrow roads or to allow someone to pass you from behind. If there's a PP on the right side of the road, don't cross the road - pull over on the left, opposite the PP, to allow the oncoming vehicle to get around you. If the oncoming vehicle blinks their lights at you, they are offering to wait. You may proceed. A friendly wave is appreciated.

  • Narrow and blind roads: Drive slowly and carefully. Keep looking ahead as far down the road as you can to watch for vehicles coming. If you see someone coming, pull into the nearest PP on your left and wait for the vehicle to pass by.
  • Farm vehicles: Bear in mind that Orkney is a working community. Farm vehicles use public roadways, too. Don’t be in a hurry to pass slow-moving traffic. Wait until it is absolutely safe.

  • Farm roads and private drives: Don’t block anyone’s driveway. If you’re on a farm road and need to pull over, make sure that a vehicle the size of a tractor can easily get past your car.

Thanks for being safe and courteous. Have a good time!

For a little more driving in Scotland help, here's a video guide to driving in Scotland from Visit Scotland.

West Mainland Folklore Sites

Free Orkney storytelling Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland - discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com



Sneak peeks!

Stromness

Stromness, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Warbeth

Trail to the Black Craig, Warbeth Beach, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Yesnaby

Brough of Bigging, Yesnaby, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Bay of Skaill

Millstone tables, Bay of Skaill, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Stone of Quoyboon

Stone of Quoyboon, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Birsay Village

St Magnus Kirk, Birsay, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Broch of Gurness

Broch of Gurness, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Click Mill

Click Mill, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Harray Loch

Harray Loch, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com

Unstan Tomb

Unstan Tomb, Orkney Islands, Scotland - Orkneyology.com


Save this page to Pinterest!

Free Android app of Scotland's Orkney Islands' West Mainland - discover Orkney through the stories of Orcadian storyteller Tom Muir. Orkneyology.com
Free Orkney Folklore Trail Android app - Orkneyology.com

Orkney Toilet Map

Mermaid image (Rhonda's pages) and storyteller image (Tom's pages), and all other illustrations except where noted are here by the courtesy of our dear friend - Stromness author, artist and historian, Bryce Wilson MBE, who owns all copyrights. Thanks, Bryce!

Book your Orkney accommodations!

Booking.com

Recent Content

  1. Orkney Folklore Trail - Explore Orkney Through Legend, Myth, Folklore

    Download our free, self-guided Orkney Folklore Trail. Drive Orkney's beautiful west coast with stories by native Orcadian storyteller and folklorist, Tom Muir.

    The story ...

  2. Highland Park Whisky Supports Orkney DIg

    Highland Park will release a limited edition single malt whisky in support of the excavation of Ness of Brodgar in Orkney. Find out more.

    The story ...

  3. Highland Park Whisky Supports Orkney DIg

    Highland Park will release a limited edition single malt whisky in support of the excavation of Ness of Brodgar in Orkney. Find out more.

    The story ...

  4. The German Fleet Scuttling at Orkney's Scapa Flow

    What terrible event happened when the two most powerful navies in the world - the Royal Navy and German Fleet - met for the last time in Orkney's Scapa Flow?

    The story ...

  5. Scapa 100: The Orkney Story - Stromness Museum October Conference

    2019 is the centenary of the Scuttling of the German High Seas Fleet in Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, Scotland. As part of the Orkney wide Scapa 100 commemorations, Stromness Museum is hosting a confere…

    The story ...

  1. Home
  2.  ›
  3. Orkney Folklore Trail