Moul of Eswick Circular

This walk takes in a hidden corner of Shetland by following the coast around two of Shetland's nicest headlands, The Moul of Eswick and Ling Ness. From the road end at Eswick head south to the beach at the South Bay of Eswick. From here ascend the Ward of Eswick which is the hill to the east of the beach. From here there is a splendid view of the Gletness Isles to the south-west.

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Difficultly LevelModerate
Walk Distance8km
Duration3 hours
Height Gain50m
Map DescriptionOS Explorer 467: Shetland - Lerwick, Papa Stour and Foula
Start Point Map ReferenceHU 488 539

Directions to Start

There is no direct bus service to the start point of this walk, so we'd recommend travelling there by car.

This walk takes in a hidden corner of Shetland by following the coast around two of Shetland's nicest headlands, The Moul of Eswick and Ling Ness. From the road end at Eswick head south to the beach at the South Bay of Eswick. From here ascend the Ward of Eswick which is the hill to the east of the beach. From here there is a splendid view of the Gletness Isles to the south-west.

From the Ward of Eswick follow the cliffs east past the lochs and climb the Flaach. The rocks in the area are metamorphic with a high calcite content that forms a fertile soil and good grazing land. Curlew, Lapwing and Snipe frequent the area and Red-throated Diver may be seen on the lochs. From here there is a panoramic view from Whalsay and Out Skerries to Bressay and Noss. To the north is the Hoo Stack light that warns sailors of the Voder and Climnie reefs in South Nesting Bay.

Nearby Sites of Interest

Descend to the Moul of Eswick Lighthouse. The original lighthouse here was established in 1904 but was destroyed when a large section of the cliff collapsed into the sea on November 5, 1994. This replacement was established in 1995. Below the lighthouse is Fru (Maiden) Stack. This inaccessible sea stack had some ruins on top, which may be the remains of a monastic settlement dating back to early Norse times. Legend has it that it was the abode of a maiden, who was imprisoned here to ensure separation from some lover who was obnoxious to her stern father. She was rescued and eloped with a Norseman who scaled the cliffs to rescue her.

Continue to follow the cliffs past the Cletts of Ramnageo around the headland to Es Wick. From the headland it is often possible to hear seals ‘singing’ on the nearby Hevda Skerry. From the beach at Es Wick cross the stream and ascend the hill at the other side. From here there is a great view of the next headland of Ling Ness and the bay behind it known as the Dock of Lingness. This area is a favourite haunt of otters as well as wading birds.

From the hill descend to the narrow neck of land and follow the cliffs around the high east side of Ling Ness then along the north shore past the loch and dwelling house around to the Dock. During exceptionally severe winter storms from the south-east, the sea has come across the neck of land and around the house, forcing the inhabitants to leave. At the Dock of Lingness there is a track that you can follow south-west and back to the main road and the start point at Eswick.

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Difficulty Level

  • Easy Walks: under 4 kilometers, usually suitable for majority abilities.
  • Moderate Walks: under 8 kilometers, usually suitable for most abilities. Walks surface may be loose, uneven and muddy. Sensible footwear required.
  • Longer Walks: over 8 kilometers, usually suitable for those with a good standard of fitness. Walks surface likely to be more challenging, loose, uneven and muddy. Stout waterproof footwear with ankle support required.
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