Third section of St Magnus Way underway

Walkers during the first leg of the St Magnus Way, in Birsay, last month.

The third section of the St Magnus Way — a route from Dounby to Finstown — has been launched today, Friday, to coincide with the St Magnus International Festival.

The launch began this morning with a free concert in the Milestone Kirk at 10am. Introduced by Council Convenor Harvey Johnston and featuring excerpts from Dounby Community School’s production of Magnus  the event saw classical music from some of the Trondheim Soloists, who are in Orkney for the festival.

Dounby School has gone on to walk the first couple of miles of the route around North Bigging.

Those walking the 10.5 miles to Finstown will continue to Howaback and Conyar on the old Drover’s Track, then along the lochside and over to St Michael’s Kirk where the views afford a panorama of the route so far and the route to come. From there, the walkers will journey past Howe to Refuge Corner, the Loch of Wasdale then through Binscarth Wood and on to Finstown.


The St Magnus Way came about after a small group of people from different churches came together to discuss a pilgrimage route. St Magnus was the first person who came to mind. After his martyrdom on the island of Egilsay, his body was brought to Birsay on the Mainland.

Then, 20 years later, when the seat of power moved to Kirkwall, his bones were taken there. There are to be two more legs of the pilgrimage – Finstown to Orphir and Orphir to Kirkwall.

David McNeish, Chair of Orkney Pilgrimage, said “We are delighted to be reaching past the halfway point with the St Magnus Way route and looking forward to another rich and varied walk through Orkney’s stunning landscape.

“Thanks are due to the landowners who have worked with us to ensure the route can be waymarked and we’re grateful to them for their co-operation. It’s especially good to be welcoming both professional musicians and primary children to help us celebrate this latest launch as it really is a pilgrimage route intended for all, young and old, visitor and local.”