St Magnus Way


The St Magnus Way is a new 51 mile pilgrimage route through Mainland Orkney, inspired by the life and death of Magnus, Orkney’s patron saint. Linking together existing paths and roads with some new lengths of path, it is in four main sections each offering a very different landscape and reflective space.

Each section will be launched at a different point in the year along with a website and smartphone app that provides resources for information and reflection along the route. By using bluetooth beacons, pilgrims can access resources relevant to the point in the route and their own interests, without needing a mobile signal. Together the blend of real world exploration and online resources allows people the opportunity to discover more about Orkney and themselves as they walk.

The first section from Evie to Birsay follows the route of Magnus’ body when his mother pleaded for it to be returned from Egilsay for a Christian burial in Birsay. Around twenty years later his bones were taken to Kirkwall, The second section follows this route from Birsay, through Dounby to Finstown. From there he was likely taken by sea to Kirwall, so we head up over Lyradale to Orphir, reflecting on Haakon’s penitent pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the Round Kirk he built on return. Our final section journeys around Scapa Flow to Kirkwall, and the Cathedral that bears his name.

There is growing interest in pilgrimage in Scotland and internationally and the development of this pilgrimage path will be a significant lasting legacy of the Magnus 900 celebrations.

The St Magnus Way is being developed by Orkney Pilgrimage, a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. To find out more about the creation of the route and for the latest project developments visit the St Magnus Way Facebook Page.


  1. Hello we are visiting in fall 2017 (September) and would like to walk some of this track, do you know when it might be possible to get a finalized map that we could use to plan? We are from Canada.


    • Dear Jennifer, thanks for getting in touch. The St Magnus Way is still under development and we hope will be opened in stages during this year from April onwards. Please check back on this website or the St Magnus Way Facebook page for more details as they emerge including maps and resources. Whatever position we are in we can certainly provide you with more information on how to walk parts of the route during your visit and look forward to welcoming you to Orkney.


  2. There is a great exhibition of kids drawings at St Magnus church at Birsay. Gathered together and made in a book eg at the new print workshop in Stromness they have potential to act as a fundraiser to get money eg for a statue of St Magnusor a viking boat or help to set up a volunteer programme to maintain and protect the wildlife along the walk. Yesterday at Birsay there​ colour of the waves was stunning. We saw swans and red shank, spring aconite and seaweed. Work maybe needs to be done alongside University of Highlands and islands to set up a Magnuson 900 annual grant or bursary for promoting peace understanding healthy walking and reconciliation etc.


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