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Visitor Guide to Eday in Orkney including all details about the place, visitor attractions, accommodation facilities, transportation and timings.

Phone code: +44 (0)1857

The long, thin and sparsely populated island of Eday lies at the centre of the North Isles group. It is less fertile than the other islands, but its heather-covered hills in the centre have provided peat for the other peatless Orkney islands. Eday's sandstone has also been quarried, and was used in the building of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall.



Travel Directions to Eday

Getting there

There are flights from Kirkwall to Eday airport (called London Airport) There are flights from Kirkwall to Eday with Loganair, Tel. 872494, on Wed only. There are ferries from Kirkwall (1 hr 15 mins to 2 hrs) twice daily via Sanday or Stronsay. The ferry pier is at Backaland, on the southeast of the island, a long way from the main sights.Orkney Ferries 01856-872044 run the Eday Heritage Tour Scottish ads

 Orkney Ferries, Tel. 872044, also run the Eday Heritage Tour every Sun from mid-Jun to mid-Sep. It leaves Kirkwall at 0920 and return at 1955 and costs around £30 per person, which includes ferries, guided walks or minibus tour, entry to Carrick House and lunch. Book with Orkney Ferries or at the tourist office in Kirkwall. You can hire a taxi from Mr A Stewart by the pier, Tel. 622206; or hire bikes from Mr Burkett at Hamarr, near the post office south of Mill Loch.

Local Sights & Activities for Eday

The island has numerous chambered cairns and these, along with the other attractions, are concentrated in the northern part. They are all covered in the signposted five-mile Eday Heritage Walk, which starts from the Community Enterprises Shop and leads up to the Cliffs of Red Head at the northern tip. The walk takes about three hours to complete, and it's worth picking up the Eday Heritage Walk leaflet.

The walk starts at Mill Bay and heads past Mill Loch, where an RSPB hide allows you to watch rare red-throated divers breeding in spring and summer. Further north is the huge, 15-ft tall Stone of Setter, the largest standing stone in Orkney and visible from most of the chambered cairns. Close by are the Fold of Setter, a circular enclosure dating back to 2000 BC, and the Braeside and Huntersquoy chambered cairns.

Further north along the path is Vinquoy Chambered Cairn, one of the finest in Orkney and similar to the better-known tomb at Maes Howe, dating from around the same time. An acrylic dome provides light to the main chamber, which can be entered by a narrow underground passage.

The path continues to the summit of Vinquoy Hill, which commands excellent views of the surrounding islands of Westray and Sanday. From here you can continue north to the spectacular red sandstone cliffs at Red Head, home to nesting guillemots, razorbills and puffins in summer, or head southeast along the coast to Carrick House.

Built for Lord Kinclaven, Earl of Carrick, in 1633, the house is best known for its associations with the pirate, John Gow, whose ship ran aground during a failed attack on the house. He was captured and taken to London for trial and hanged. Sir Walter Scott's novel, The Pirate, is based on this story. Info - Mid-Jun to mid-Sep guided tour at 1400. £2.50 Tel. 622260.

Eday Hotels & Accommodation

There's B&B at E Mrs Poppelwell's, Tel. 622248, at Blett, Carrick Bay, opposite the Calf of Eday. She also provides evening meal and packed lunch, and has a self-catering cottage nearby for up to 3. Also D Mrs Cockram, Tel. 622271. Open Jun-Mar, at Skaill Farm, just south of the airport. Price includes dinner. There's a basic Youth Hostel, Tel. 622206, open Apr-Sep, run by Eday Community Enterprises, just north of the airport.