9. Stronsay

P1040902 coast panorama SAH
Coast near the Vat of Kirbuster (or Kirbister) (c) Sally Hutt

The cry of the curlew rang our across Stronsay as we cycled its roads. Other islands appeared to be favoured by lapwing or oystercatcher but on Stronsay it was curlew.

We’d arrived on the early morning ferry from Kirkwall and dropped our bag at the Fishmart Hostel at the end of the pier. Here we discovered we could borrow bikes at the shop a few metres down the road so more of the island was opened up to us.

P1050005 stronsay hostel and shop SAH
Fishmart Hostel and shop in Whitehall Village (c) Sally Hutt

Whitehall Village is one of the few true villages out on the islands, it was once a busy fishing village with a large sheltered harbour between Stronsay and its small neighbour, Papa Stronsay. The climb out to the main spine road was a surprisingly steep one, not helped by limited gear options on one of the bikes. From the top were views west over the other islands.

P1040922 Vat of Kirbister SAH
Vat of Kirbuster (c) Sally Hutt
IMG_7458 Fulmar on thrift
Fulmar on Thrift (c) Duncan Hutt

Our destination was Kirbuster (also spelled Kirbister) and a walk down to the rocky shoreline and the Vat of Kirbuster.  It’s an impressive piece of rocky coast, a mini lesson on coastal features with an arch and sea stacks, precipitous edges and complex patterns of erosion.  Shags and fulmar nested on inaccessible ledges and disappeared through the arch into the sheltered world behind.

IMG_7469 Sand of Rothiesholm DJH
Sand of Rothiesholm (c) Duncan Hutt
IMG_7517 black guillemot DJH
Black guillemot (c) Duncan Hutt

Elsewhere were sweeping and deserted sandy beaches, the sands of Rothiesholm a quiet rest spot on what turned out to be a longer cycle ride than expected.  The Stronsay Hotel provided a different type of resting place in the evening.

Our morning walk the following day took us around Grice Ness to the east of the village with views to Papa Stronsay. Ringed plover, oystercatcher and lapwing took it in turns to parade in our path as we returned across sheep grazed fields back to the village. On the water a great northern diver hunted while back in the harbour black guillemots displayed in pairs beneath the harbour wall.

P1050054 ferry for departure SAH
Our return ferry (c) Sally Hutt

1 thought on “9. Stronsay

  1. A stunning natural bridge and other striking sights.

    Liked by 1 person

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