Working Holidays 2021

Help rebuild the unique Grade A listed dry stone wall to protect the infamous seaweed-eating sheep

Experience life on the beautiful and rugged island of North Ronaldsay, with plenty of free time for your own adventures. Learn the island's unique dry stone walling technique that has been passed down through generations. Staying at the Bird Observatory, which offers panoramic views of Sanday and other Orkney Islands.






11th - 18th June

9th - 16th July

20 - 27th August

10th - 17th September

If you are a group please contact the Sheep Dyke Warden for bespoke options at


Single supplement in guest house (single person in double or twin room): £105 per person (£15 per night)

The price includes:

  • Seven nights accommodation at the Bird Observatory

  • Welcome pack

  • Bike hire - normally £50 a week

  • Dry stone dyking tuition

  • Broch of Burrian and seal viewing tour

  • Seaweed-eating sheep and dyke tour

  • Film night and quiz night

  • Celebratory evening event at the end of the week

  • A North Ronaldsay Trust buff

** Please note that travel to and from North Ronaldsay is not included in the price. See information on getting to the island here

** If you would like to arrange your other self catering accommodation, details for other accommodation options are available here. Price excluding accommodation is £145.

Group size

Groups are a maximum of 6 to ensure quality tuition.


Camping/campervan: beautiful sea views and includes the use of hostel facilities

Hostel: the 4 star hostel is self-contained with 10 bunk spaces, a well-equipped self catering kitchen and two washrooms

Guest house room: The guest house offers double rooms, twin rooms or a single


Catered: full cooked breakfast, packed lunch, evening meal (two courses plus tea/coffee) at the Bird Observatory

Self catered: groceries can be bought at the Observatory shop and Easting Road Store. Eating out options include the Observatory, Easting Road store and Lighthouse cafe. Easting Road Store does takeaway pizza on Wednesdays and The Observatory does a takeaway fish & chips on Fridays.

What to bring

  • Sturdy boots, warm and waterproof clothing are essential

  • Steel capped boots are highly recommended

  • Gloves, knee pads and goggles will be provided

  • A rucksack to carry your lunch, drinks, and other essentials in

**There are no toilet facilities at the dyke

Add-on Activities

Lighthouse tour £6: a guided tour of the tallest land-based lighthouse in the British Isles. The North Ronaldsay Lighthouse was built in 1854 by Alan Steven and is still in operation. Measuring 139 ft in height, visitor can climb the 176 steps to the top and see the massive Fresnel lens at the top that concentrates the beam emitted by the lighthouse over the North Atlantic. Take in the breathtaking views which on a fine day stretch over the other north isles of Orkney and sometimes as far as the Fair Isle in Shetland. Nearby is the Old Beacon, a ruined lighthouse located at Kirk Taing on Dennis Head. The building dates from 1789 and was the first lighthouse in Orkney.

Wool mill tour £6: the mill produces a wide range of natural high quality yarns, batts, rovings, and felt. The natural colours of the sheep available range from white through various shades of grey and brown to black, colours can be mixed to produce variegated yarns. Tours cover the process from choosing the fleece through to finished yarn and felt.

Itinerary Example



Introductory walk and talk round the dyke



Morning: learning the art of building the dyke

Afternoon: building session

Quiz night



Morning: explore the island’s archives

Afternoon: building session



Morning: building session

Afternoon: wool mill & lighthouse tour

                   (optional add-on)



Morning: building session

Afternoon: Broch and seals tour

Film night



Morning: building session

Afternoon: building session



Morning: building session

Afternoon: building session

Celebratory evening event




Covid-19, cancellation and refunds

All holidays will be subject to the Covid-19 restrictions in place at the time of the holiday and may be by NRT cancelled at short notice in line with restrictions. We therefore advise that caution is taken when making travel arrangements as you may need to cancel any arrangements at short notice. Although we will be happy to make full refunds on holiday bookings for cancelled by NRT, any loss relating to travel will be your responsibility. We highly recommend taking out travel insurance. If you want to reserve a place, please fill in the booking form below. Once your booking is confirmed a payment of £145 secures your place, the remainder is due on arrival.

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Building the dyke
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North Ronaldsay ram
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Image by Annie Spratt
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