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  • The Vat of Kirbister, Stronsay

Stronsay

Experience the gentle pace of island life and some of Orkney’s most beautiful beaches.
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  • Stronsay is an island shaped by the sea.

    Known as Orkney’s 'island of bays', it's home to beautiful beaches, rugged cliffs, and green, fertile fields stretching towards the coast.

    Farmers and fishermen call the island home. There's a rich agricultural heritage here, and the island's fishing fleet sustainably catches shellfish in the cool, clear local waters. Stronsay is known for its community spirit - there’s a community greenhouse so residents can reduce food miles, and there are always plenty of social events and activities too, with visitors encouraged to get involved. You’ll always get a friendly welcome here, it’s that kind of island.

    Stronsay is also a place where you’ll always find something to see and do. The ferry arrives at the peaceful village of Whitehall which is home to the Stronsay Hotel, the Fish Mart Hostel & Café, and the Storehouse Bed & Breakfast. The local shop, Ebenezer Stores, is well stocked and offers bike hire (including e-bikes) for the day free of charge. The island is perfect for cycling - it's compact and relatively flat, with quiet roads and plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery. There is also a small heritage centre at the temporary home of Wood's Yard at the west end of village where you can learn more about Stronsay’s history, and enjoy a self-service tea or coffee.

    A short distance outside the village brings you to the first of Stronsay’s many stunning stretches of sand. The Ayre of Myres is perfect for a picnic and a paddle. Explore further though and you’ll discover the lovely wide beaches at St Catherine’s Bay, Mill Bay and Rothiesholm, to name just a few. There are dunes to explore, shells to find and seals to watch at all these beaches, as well as beautiful views across the surrounding islands.

    St Catherine's Bay

    The Stronsay coastline is full of surprises, with plenty of cliffs, caves and geos. It also features one of the finest natural attractions in Orkney. The Vat of Kirbister is a rock arch over a gloup, found on an excellent walking route around the coast. It’s a beautiful place - in the summer expect wildflowers on the cliff tops and seabirds swooping under the arch. During the winter, the sea crashes in and out of the gloup, creating a cacophony of noise.

    The Vat of Kirbister

    Stronsay has an enterprising spirit too. There’s a healthy creative community, and local makers have banded together to form a craft trail that can take you on a tour of the island. From jewellery and textiles to glass, weaving and even soap, there are plenty of makers who will open their workshops for visitors to browse their products and see them in action too. The Craftship Enterprise hosts weekly gatherings where crafters of all levels can bring their latest projects to work on, or try their hand at a new skill. Other stops on the trail include Marion Miller Jewellery, Airy Fairy, Orkney Star Island Soap, Selkie Glass and the Wyrd Weaver.

    Find out more about Stronsay via the island’s official website.

  • Stronsay's ferry terminal is found in the heart of the village of Whitehall, meaning your trip here starts right at the hub of island life.

    The daily ro-ro service keeps Stronsay connected with Kirkwall, and there are daily flights to and from the island's small airfield too.