Sunday, 5 August 2012


Papa Westray in the northernmost latitude of the Orkney Isles happens to be well-known because there is a small plane service to this little island. The airport in neighbouring Westray, the bigger of the two adjacent islands, is a couple of minutes flight away.

We visited Papa Westray on a day trip using the regular twice a day ferry.  Don't try to book a flight, even in advance.  There are only 8 seats and you will find they are taken by the dentist, the nurse or the nice young lady from the Kirkwall Bank who are taking up the seats.

These are the Knap of Howar stone houses. Historic Scotland states: they are "probably the oldest standing stone houses in north-west Europe, dating from the early Neolithic period.... are approximately rectangular, with stone cupboards and stalls. Contemporary with the chambered tombs of Orkney.  Grid reference - HY 483 519."  John, Mairi and Ishie are standing inside.

This cairn is on the shore on the northwest side of Papa Westray. It forms one half of a leading line for mariners.
These waters form the north end of Papa Westray and it is here that the North Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean.  Next stop is the Shetland Islands.  The turquoise water on the western side was stunning!

Watching us watching him was a grey seal as we walked along the beach here.  John's photo.

On the cliff edge it was easy to spot the puffins on the ledges below us. John's photo.

There was plenty of archaeological interest on Papa Westray but none more so that this Russian truck! Purchased in Poland it was loaded up with household goods and driven to Orkney from south of France in a flitting (moving house).  It was cheaper than hiring a moving company.  That there is no roll-on/roll-off ferry to Papa Westray proved not to be a deterrent.  Everything comes off by crane including long-range lorries!

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