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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (1)
From:  Kirkwall (HY447104)
To:  Stenness (HY282114)
Via:  Orphir
Distance:  15 miles (24.1 km)
Meets:  A963, B9053, A965
Highway Authorities

Orkney Islands

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A964 Kirkwall - Stenness

The A964 links together the communities towards the southwest of Orkney Mainland, and provides an alternative route towards Stromness from Kirkwall, although the A965 is the more direct and faster route..


The A964 begins at a simple T junction with the A963 on the southern outskirts of Kirkwall, and heads west along Wellington Street, then High Street, before curving to the south onto Old Scapa Road. It then has to TOTSO right with Foreland Road, a new unclassified route which passes the hospital to meet the A963, and now seems to be the signed route for traffic wanting the A964. The road leaves the town behind and continues south towards Scapa, where the Old Scapa Road turns off to the left to continue south as the B9053 whilst the A964 bears off to the right. This was originally a right-angle bend, but as with the next two corners, it has been reprofiled to cut the corner.


Now winding south west, the road passes the Scapa Distillery and then finds a long straight, which climbs steadily. As is usual in Orkney, the road passes numerous houses and small settlements, interspersed with long sections of open fields. The first 'village' is Greenigoe, which is strung along the roadside for about a mile as it climbs up to a summit of nearly 90m and offers good views south across Scapa Flow, famous as a naval refuge of huge importance in both world wars. Two long, slightly curved straights then drop the road towards the shore, and across the narrow neck of land between Waulkmill Bay and the Loch of Kirbister. This is Kirbister village, such as it is, and the Loch offers excellent trout fishing. A minor road turns off here and cuts between the hills, with some fine views, to reach the A965 between Finstown and Stenness.

Climbing once more, but never so high, the road passes between more fields, dotted with houses to the scattered village of Orphir, home to a Viking era round church (The Bu). Beyond Orphir, the road swings round to the left, whilst the minor road straight ahead to the north of the Hill of Midland is the original route of the A964; it was rerouted via the coast in 1935. Dropping towards the coast, a side road soon turns left and leads to the Houton ferry terminal, where ferries for Lyness (Hoy) and Flotta depart.

The Rugged, hilly island of Hoy is now visible across the channel, and stays in view as the A964 turns northwards, never too far from the coast, and passes through an unchanging landscape of fields dotted with scattered houses and occasional small villages. As Hoy disappears, the much lower island of Graemsay can be glimpsed in front of it, but this too disappears as the road continues north following the shore of the Bay of Ireland, albeit up to half a mile inland. Eventually, the A964 reaches journeys end, with two long straights leading to the simple T junction with the A965 at Stenness, with the Loch of Stenness opening out ahead. Turning left continues the journey to Stromness, whilst right takes traffic back to Kirkwall.


As noted above, the A964 originally took the more inland route past the Hill of Midland, climbing up and over Scorradale. This route is still open as a minor road, and a layby at the summit offers fine views across the Isles. Elsewhere along the route, many of the original sharp corners have been eased with curves, particularly at the eastern end of the route.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Kirkwall - Orphir - Stromness

Related Pictures
View gallery (1)
A964 through Orphir Village - Geograph - 1076984.jpg
Other nearby roads
NCN1 • A960 • A961 • A962 • A963 • A965 • B9053 • B9054 • B9148 • C1 (Orkney) • C40 (Orkney) • C41 (Orkney) • C42 (Orkney) • EuroVelo 12
A900 • A901 • A902 • A903 • A904 • A905 • A906 • A907 • A908 • A909 • A910 • A911 • A912 • A913 • A914 • A915 • A916 • A917 • A918 • A919

A920 • A921 • A922 • A923 • A924 • A925 • A926 • A927 • A928 • A929 • A930 • A931 • A932 • A933 • A934 • A935 • A936 • A937 • A938 • A939
A940 • A941 • A942 • A943 • A944 • A945 • A946 • A947 • A948 • A949 • A950 • A951 • A952 • A953 • A954 • A955 • A956 • A957 • A958 • A959
A960 • A961 • A962 • A963 • A964 • A965 • A966 • A967 • A968 • A969 • A970 • A971 • A972 • A973 • A974 • A975 • A976 • A977 • A978 • A979
A980 • A981 • A982 • A983 • A984 • A985 • A986 • A987 • A988 • A989 • A990 • A991 • A992 • A993 • A994 • A995 • A996 • A997 • A998 • A999

Defunct Itineries: A920 (Perth) • A920 (Banff) • A921 (Perth) • A921 (Fife) • A922 • A949 • A951 • A968 • A982

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