Tiny Papa Westray, known locally as 'Papay', can be reached on the world's shortest scheduled flight - all of two minutes - from Westray, but there are other reasons to visit this little island, one of the most remote of the Orkney group.

Phone code: +44 (0)1857

Tiny Papa Westray, known locally as 'Papay', can be reached on the world's shortest scheduled flight - all of two minutes - from Westray, but there are other reasons to visit this little island, one of the most remote of the Orkney group.

Local Sights & Activities for Papa Westray

Sightseeing

Papay is home to Europe's oldest house, the Knap of Howar, open at all times, free, which was built around 5,500 years ago and is still standing (they knew how to build 'em in those days). It's on the west coast, just south of the airport.

Half a mile north is St Boniface Kirk, one of the oldest Christian sites in the north of Scotland, founded in the 8th century, though most of the recently restored building dates from the 12th century. Inland from the Knap of Howar is Holland Farm, former home of the lairds of the island, where you can rummage around the farm buildings and the small museum. Info - Open at all times. Free.

Papay is famous for its birds, and North Hill, on the north of the island, is an important RSPB Reserve. The cliffs are home to many thousands of breeding seabirds, and at Fowl Craig on the east coast you can see nesting puffins. The interior is home to the largest arctic tern colony in Europe, as well as many arctic skuas. If you wish to explore you have to contact the warden at Rose Cottage, Tel. 644240, who runs regular guided walks.

It's worth taking a boat trip to the even tinier, deserted Holm of Papay, off the east coast. This is the site of several Neolithic burial cairns, including one of the largest chambered cairns on Orkney. You enter the tomb down a ladder into the main chamber which is nearly 70 ft long, with a dozen side-cells.

Info - Contact Jim Davidson, Tel. 644259, for boat trips between May and Sep.

Papa Westray Hotels & Accommodation

There are few options for sleeping. One is the D-E Beltane House Guest House , Tel. 644267, a row of converted farm workers' cottages to the east of Holland House. It offers dinner (mid-range). It's run by the island community co-operative, as is the 16-bed F Papa Westray Hostel, Tel. 644267. Open all year, housed in the same complex at Beltane. The co-operative also runs a shop and restaurant serving lunch and evening meals. They have a minibus which takes ferry passengers from the pier to anywhere on the island.

Travel Directions to Papa Westray

As well as the above-mentioned 2-minute flight from Westray, there is also a direct flight from Kirkwall. There's a passenger ferry from Pierowall on Westray, and car ferry from Kirkwall.

blog comments powered by Disqus