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Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (3)
From:  Finstown (HY358138)
To:  Birsay Bay (HY247276)
Via:  Evie
Distance:  17.4 miles (28 km)
Meets:  A965, B9057, A967, unclassified
Highway Authorities

Orkney Islands

Traditional Counties


Route outline (key)
A966 Finstown - Birsay Bay

The A966 forms the northern coast road on Orkney Mainland, and whilst the A986 route is perhaps quicker end to end, the A966 serves a number of villages and communities along the coast.

The route starts at a T-junction with the A965 in the village of Finstown on the shores of the Bay of Firth, and heads north over a small causeway and bridge into open country. A series of long straights lead it through several small settlements, including Norseman Village with its short 40 limit - you can see from one end to the other along the straight road! This straight is nearly three miles long, before a slight kink eastwards. It then climbs a little through Rendall, not so much a village as a scattered group of houses and soon after, a road branches off on the right towards the Tingwall ferry terminal, which runs ferries to Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre, the only northern isles without a direct link to Kirkwall.

Bridge over the Burn of Woodwick

Turning westwards, the road now pass through some of the hillier areas of the Mainland, as it approaches the parish of Evie (home of Burgar Hill and some of Orkney's first wind turbines). From Evie, there are fine views across the Eynhallow Sound to Rousay, and out to the other North Isles. On the shore, and accessed via a small side road, is the Broch of Gurness, one of the better preserved brochs in Scotland. Also in the village, a left turn is the B9057, crossing over the hills, past a Norse Click Mill to Dounby, an important crossroads in the North west of the Orkney Mainland. Despite its proximity to the coast, the road climbs further, over a summit of around 70m before dropping down to the north side of the Loch of Swannay, where it is briefly squeezed along a narrow ledge just above the water with Costa Hill rising above.

Heading southwest now, the road follows a couple of short straights before a sharp right turn turns the road westwards once more. It climbs steadily to an overall summit of around 80m before a long gentle descent. A couple of miles later, the A966 passes the junction with the A967 and TOTSOs left about half a mile further on, by the dramatic roadside ruins of the Earl's Palace at Birsay Bay. The unclassified road ahead leads to the Brough of Birsay, a viking settlement on a tidal island at the north western tip of the Orkney Mainland. Back to the A966, and it soon comes to an end by the village shop and church (on the site of a Cathedral). The unclassified road ahead soon peters out into a track which leads to the B9056.

The 1922 MOT Road List defines this route as: Finstown - Georth - Earl's Palace

Related Pictures
View gallery (3)
A966 - Hmmm - Coppermine - 389.jpgBridge over the Burn of Woodwick - Geograph - 1155884.jpgBridge and The Ouse, Finstown - Geograph - 492043.jpg
Other nearby roads
NCN1 • A960 • A961 • A962 • A963 • A964 • A965 • A967 • A986 • B9040 (Orkney) • B9041 • B9042 • B9043 • B9044 • B9045 • B9046 • B9047 • B9048 • B9049 • B9049 (Quoyness) • B9050 • B9051 • B9052 • B9053 • B9054 • B9054 (Finstown - Twatt) • B9055 • B9056 • B9057 • B9058 • B9059 • B9060 • B9061 • B9062 • B9063 • B9064 • B9065 • B9066 • B9067 • B9068 • B9069 • B9070 • B9148
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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