The wild west coast of Mainland Orkney is only accessible from a few bays that break the high cliffs that seemingly go on forever!
Once you launch from Skaill, you immediately have the feeling you are exposed to nature’s elements as the sea stretches out for thousands of miles to the west, if you were to paddle directly west you would land in Labrador- Canada!
Following the coast either north or south you are in for real treat with touring cliffs, sea birds and seemingly endless deep and cavernous caves to explore with your kayak! There is one or two of these caves that, in the correct conditions, hold some hidden surprises! Those who paddled this area often enough know how to find them.
This area is undoubtedly one of the most spectacular and exhilarating kayaking destinations, not only in Orkney but in the entire U.K!
The landscape is shaped by the tempestuous seas and relentless winter gales meaning the coast is often not accessible and even in the summer months the North Atlantic swell can be too much for launching or getting near the shoreline but in contrast it can be glassy calm and an absolute treat to explore the west.
Skaill is also, in the right conditions, a good surf beach with a steep left hand break (nice for boarders), a slower right hand (good for sea kayak surfing!) and a beach break.
A trip to Skaill should always include a visit to Skara Brae a Neolithic village still intact with beds and dressers which was uncovered in the 1850s during a storm. It is said to have been occupied almost from around 3000 BC!