Book data

St Magnus Way
David Mazza  
15 March 2023
UK price £14.99
72pp, 130 x 220mm, 170g

St Magnus Way

Walk or cycle Orkney Mainland


David Mazza

In stock

"This compact yet comprehensive guidebook will lead you through the stunning Orkney scenery." Stuart Little, Chair of Trustees, Orkney Pilgrimage

Orkney is Scotland’s best-kept secret: a supreme outdoor destination that is accessible by ferry or plane – more easily than you think. It offers world-class prehistory, approachable wildlife and welcoming Orcadian hospitality.

This pilgrimage walk celebrates Orkney’s patron saint, Magnus, some 900 years after his martyrdom. The 60-mile St Magnus Way has it all: manageable daily distances, stunning coastal vistas, unique wildlife, tidal islands, historic interest and great variety of terrain. It starts from the island of Egilsay, the site of Magnus’ martyrdom and culminates at his cathedral in Orkney’s capital Kirkwall. The pilgrimage has six themes, each linked with a section of the walk – Peace, Loss, Growth, Change, Forgiveness and Hospitality.

For cyclists, the 67-mile (108 km) St Magnus Cycleway visits the same places as the Way. However it runs almost wholly on tarmac and is readily split into two circuits of 27 and 40 miles respectively (44 km and 64 km respectively).  This book is in our lighter, more pocket-friendly format, with robust perfect binding instead of concealed wiro-binding.



This essential trail guide contains all you need to plan your visit on foot or bike:

  • Foreword by Magnus Linklater
  • biography of St Magnus and his cathedral
  • planning info for travel by car, ferry and plane 
  • richly illustrated sections on history, geology and wildlife
  • visit info for museums, distilleries and the World Heritage Site
  • concise step-by-step directions
  • 14 pages with route mapping at 1:30,000
  • in full colour, with 101 photos
  • on rainproof paper.
Look inside

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Contents page
Pages 4-10 from Part 1 (planning)
2.2 Magnus and his cathedral
3.4 Dounby to Finstown

Excerpt from review on Undiscovered Scotland

Rucksack Readers has long represented the gold standard for long distance walking guides. Their guides are always bright, attractive, light, water resistant and comprehensive …

The guide begins with an introduction to Orkney and to the St Magnus Way, including practical information from “how long does it take” to “navigation and waymarking”. We then move on to the historical background before taking in the geology and wildlife. Much of the book is, as you would expect, a practical guide to walking (or cycling) the St Magnus Way. This is divided into stages and excellent large scale maps are accompanied by detailed and illustrated route guides that look to be all you will really need to complete the walk. It concludes with a reference section that includes everything from tides to flights and ferries. The book fully lived up to our expectations of it as a Rucksack Readers guide and we’d strongly recommend it.

Read the full review  here.

Ken Lussey, January 2023

Reviewed by Scottish Mountaineer

Lightweight and rainproof, this new guide is essential reading for anyone hoping to walk or cycle Orkney’s St Magnus Way this year.

For walkers, the 60-mile St Magnus Way has it all, from stunning coastal vistas to unique wildlife, historic points of interest and great variety of terrain. Starting from the island of Egilsay, the site of Magnus’ martyrdom, it finishes at his cathedral in Orkney’s capital of Kirkwall. For cyclists, the 67-mile (108 km) St Magnus Cycleway visits the same places as the Way but runs almost wholly on tarmac and is readily split into two circuits of 27 and 40 miles respectively.

The guide is packed with travel information, route maps, more than 100 stunning photographs and step-by-step directions to ensure you get the most from your trip.

Reviewed by Scottish Mountaineer, Winter 2023 p66

Excerpt from a review for Outdoor Focus

This 60-mile route, starting with a traverse of Egilsay and then winding across Orkney’s Mainland to Kirkwall, is in every sense a pilgrimage in his [St Magnus’] footsteps, and follows the themes that he followed in his life.

The guide is written by a Guild member who is also the GP for Westray …  It faithfully follows the publisher’s well-proven formula of 1:30,000 Lovell Johns mapping and clear directions printed on rainproof paper.

The Mainland route takes in many of Orkney’s historical feature, such as St Magnus Church and the ruins of the Earl’s Palace at Birsay; St Michael’s Church at Quean; Firth Church and the Cuween Chambered Tomb at Finstown; Scotland’s only round church at Orphir and ending at the magnificent St Magnus Cathedral in the capital of Kirkwall.

Roly Smith in OF Spring 2023 p15

Excerpt from a review for the Orkney Tourist Guides Association

The focus is basically ‘how not to get lost’ – an important consideration given I have walked parts of the St Magnus Way several times and have managed to take the ‘wrong’ path quite a few of those times … There is also some basic information about Orkney … how to get here, where to stay, how to be a responsible walker, what pilgrim facilities there are …, what the public transport is like, the wildlife that might be seen whilst walking plus some general background information about Orkney’s geology, archaeology and history.

This book is beautifully presented in full-colour in a handy size (22cm X 13cm), slim at 72 pages plus covers, with lots of glorious photographs of Orkney, and … all printed on ‘rainproof’ paper.

Helen Woodsford-Dean

Bonus content

GPX route file

This video illustrates features of our St Magnus Way guidebook (duration 2 minutes 30 sec).

More info to help with your planning

Route links

Links relevant to this route

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