August 2012 Wildlife Sightings

Hen Harrier – 1 ringtail (female or juvenile) seen flying north over Papa Westray on 12th, with another seen on 25th.

Kestrel – 1 flying north-east over Papa Westray on 18th.

Merlin – 1 seen by Tim Dodman at the south end of Papay on 18th.

Corncrake – 1 male heard calling between Nouster and the Post Office, Papa Westray on the evening of 16th.

Sanderling – 31 seen on North Wick, Papay on 18th, a mixture of worn, post-breeding adults and juveniles in fresh autumn plumage.

Whimbrel – 1 flying over the North Hill RSPB reserve, Papay on 16th, calling. 2 on the North Hill reserve and heard calling on 17th. 1 heard calling at Fowl Craig, North Hill reserve on 19th.

Golden Plover – 5 seen on the North Hill RSPB reserve, Papa Westray on 13th. 36 seen flying east over Papay on 16th. 6 flying north over the North Hill reserve on 17th.

Greenshank – 1 flushed from the pools at the north end of the North Hill RSPB reserve, Papay, on 20th.

Swift – 1 flying around Rose Cottage, Papa Westray on 19th and 20th.

Sedge Warbler – 1heard singing at Whitelooms, Papay on 15th.

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Bird News for North Hill and Noup Cliffs – July/August 2012

The breeding season is now officially over, for the seabirds anyway, so I can officially reveal that most of the seabird species that breed on the North Hill RSPB reserve on Papa Westray and on the Noup Cliffs RSPB reserve on Westray have had a relatively good season!

Despite returning to Papay and Westray in relatively good numbers, Arctic Terns have had yet another terrible breeding season on both islands. Many of the pairs nesting on these islands managed to hatch out some small chicks this year, but due to weather conditions, predation and a lack of food, sadly, most of these chicks did not make it to more than about a week old. Two fledged (flying) young were seen on Papa Westray at the end of July, and about five or so have been seen on Westray – very low numbers when you consider the number of pairs nesting, 365 pairs on Papay alone!

Guillemots and Razorbills had a relatively good season this year, as both species managed to fledge chicks from both the North Hill reserve on Papa Westray, and the Noup Cliffs reserve on Westray. It is very good to see Guillemots and Razorbills fledging chicks this year, as the past few years have been disastrous, with almost no chicks fledging at all. This year’s youngsters have all now left the cliffs and are now well on their way to adulthood. Both of these species spend their winter out at sea. They leave the cliffs at the end of July and go out to sea with their parents to learn to fish and fly and won’t return to land to breed until they are four years old, but the adults will return next year in April to breed. Puffins also leave their breeding areas at the end of July to spend their winters in massive groups called ‘rafts’, floating out on the Atlantic and the North Sea, and won’t be back now until April, so don’t expect to see any if you visit over winter! May – July is the best time to view all of our nesting seabirds, but autumn and winter are best for seeing migrating birds.

The Kittiwakes over on Noup Cliffs reserve, Westray have also had a surprisingly good breeding season this year, with about a quarter of nests fledging young! This is still very low numbers in comparison to other areas around the UK, as anyone who watched the BBC’s Summerwatch programme will know, but it is very good for seabird sites in Orkney to be fledging this number of chicks! Kittiwakes stay on the cliffs for a little while longer than the auks do, but by mid-August all of the adults and juveniles had left dry land for a winter out at sea – these birds are true sea-gulls! Shags generally do quite well, and often manage to raise plenty of chicks to fledging, and this year has been no exception. Most of the nests along the Fowl Craig cliffs on the North Hill reserve, and those in Ramni Geo on the Noup Cliffs reserve have managed to raise quite a few youngsters! These can still be seen hanging around on low rocks along the shore line, and often congregate in large groups with adults and last year’s youngsters, and will stay around for a while yet, so keep your eyes peeled!

The number of Gannets nesting at the RSPB’s Noup Cliffs reserve on Westray increased again this year to 623 nests, which have produced a grand total of 473 chicks, meaning that three-quarters of all nests were successful in raising young this year! Gannets are very hardy birds and often show high levels of breeding success, but this is a particularly high number fledged, even for them! The Gannets will be around on the cliffs until about the end of September, so you can still see them for a while yet! Noup Cliffs and its Gannets are now famous as well, after being filmed for the BBC’s Summerwatch programme, aired in early August.

Fulmars have had a mixed season this year. Fulmars are also a very hardy species, and are usually very successful at raising chicks, as they defend themselves by spitting fishy, smelly oil at anything that gets too close to them, warding off any potential predators and ensuring that many young make it to flying. This is the case on Noup Cliffs, where many Fulmar chicks can still be seen on the cliffs and in Ramni Geo, slowly changing from balls of fluff to fully-feathered youngsters. However, they have done quite badly on the North Hill reserve on Papay this year, with evidence of both eggs and chicks being predated, which is possibly due to the addition of a pair of breeding Ravens on the cliffs this year. However, Fulmars are very resilient birds, and can live for 60 years, so one year of poor breeding success is nothing to worry too much on. Black Guillemots appear to have done well this year, and several adults can still be seen on the crossing from Westray to Papay, so keep an eye out if you’re on the Golden Mariana!

Both the Arctic Skuas and Great Skuas have managed to raise young this year. The Great Skuas (or Bonxies as they are known here) always seem to do quite well, and this year is no exception, with several fledged juveniles still present on the North Hill reserve. The Arctic Skuas have been declining in numbers since the mid-1990s, but have had a relatively good season, with four chicks fledged – an increase on just one fledged chick last year!

The eight different wader species that breed on the North Hill reserve (Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Snipe and Dunlin), seem to have done well this year, with young chicks seen earlier in the year. The eight species of passerine that breed on the North Hill reserve have also done well again this year, and small flocks of Twite and House Sparrows can be seen flying about the island in feeding parties, and the Starlings can be seen gathering together in one large group to roost in the evenings.

August is a good month for bird migration, as species begin to leave their breeding sites and travel to their wintering sites in Europe or even as far as Africa. Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstones, Purple Sandpipers, Bar-tailed Godwits and Black-tailed Godwits are all gathering along the beaches, coastlines and inland water sources rich in food at this time of year, with flocks often including many birds in their juvenile plumage, as well as adults in both summer and winter plumages, so autumn is the perfect time to brush up on your wader identification skills! The Loch of Swartmill on Westray has proven to be a particularly good site for migrating waders, with flocks of 300+ Dunlin seen in July and August, as well as Greenshanks, Green Sandpipers, and a wide variety of the commoner waders such as Curlew and Redshank. At this time of year, you often get migrating birds blown off-course by strong winds, so anything could turn up, as proven by the presence of a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (which breeds in Siberia) on Westray in July! So remember to keep your eyes peeled at all times, and report any interesting bird (and other wildlife) sightings to the RSPB or to the OrkBird Yahoo group.

The Scottish Primrose is now nearing the end of its flowering season, so please don’t be surprised if you don’t see any on your visit to the known colonies on Westray at Aikerness and on Papay on the North Hill reserve. However, the heather is now in full bloom, as are several other flowers, such as Devil’s-bit Scabious.

For any more information about the RSPB reserves on Westray (Noup Cliffs) or Papa Westray (North Hill), please contact the main office in Stromness on 01856 850176, as the Warden for these reserves will not be available overwinter. You can also keep up to date with what’s going on at all of our Orkney reserves by visiting the RSPB blog at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/placestovisit/orkney/b/orkney-blog/default.aspx.

Or by visiting RSPB Orkney’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/RspbOrkney

Hopefully we will see this increase in numbers of fledged chicks continue again next year, but we shall have to wait and see… Tune in next year for more information!

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Richan’s Retreat

Richan’s Retreat will be closed from the 4th to 8th August 2017.

Richan's RetreatThe name comes from Captain William Richan who is in who’s who as being Captain of the Hire Cutter Norfolk – a kindly Captain who never had to conscript a crew.

He was dishonourably discharged from the merchant navy for running contraband – they even found tea in the barrels of his guns.

He was the Laird of Rapness for a while with the second floor of this house being the deck of a boat. there is a load bearing pillar supporting the ceiling as he had a hole cut to get up on to his deck.

His wife Ester was a spendthrift and William ended up poor but the West End Hotel in Kirkwall was their town residence.

We also sell crafts made by island crafts people.

Opening hours are usually from half an hour before the first ferry till half hour after last one but like many island residents we cover many activities including fire safety at the islands airport on occasion  so on the odd morning or afternoon we have to close for an hour. On these occassions we put a notice up letting people know reopening time.

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July 2012 Wildlife Sightings

Sandwich Tern – 1 juvenile seen in cut silage field near North Rendall, Papa Westray on 16th plus 6 juveniles seen at Wellpark, Papa Westray on 25th.

Dunlin – 21 at North Wick, Papa Westray on 25th. 300+ at Loch of Swartmill, Westray on 29th.

Sanderling – 2 at North Wick, Papay on 4th.

Purple Sandpiper – Approximately 30 seen on the east coast of the North Hill reserve, Papa Westray on 23rd.

Curlew – Approximately 300 individuals seen feeding in cut field at Roadside farm, Westray on 29th.

Whimbrel – 1 seen at Noup Cliffs, Westray on 10th, plus 3 flying by Moclett, Papa Westray on 12th.

Golden Plover – 3 seen near Blossom, Papay on 12th. 26 adults and 6 juveniles in cut silage field, Papay on 19th.

Bar-tailed Godwit – 6 in summer plumage in cut silage field, Papay on 19th.

Black-tailed Godwit – 5 in summer plumage at Loch of Swartmill, Westray on 29th.

Greenshank – 2 at Loch of Swartmill, Westray on 29th.

Grey Heron – 1 at Twiness beach and 4 at Ness of Tuquoy, Westray on 29th.

Manx Shearwater – 2 seen off of Mull Head, Papay on 23rd.

Merlin – 1 seen perched on the fence at Turnstones, Papay, by Patrick on 6th.

Sand Martin – 3 hanging around the beach at Links of Moclett, Papay – several potential burrows in the sand dune there, so possibly breeding, although not seen entering these holes.

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Bird News for North Hill and Noup Cliffs – June/July 2012

The number of Gannets nesting at the RSPB’s Noup Cliffs reserve on Westray has once again increased to a whopping 623 nests! Considering that Gannets only started nesting on this reserve in 2003, that’s a pretty impressive increase in a relatively short amount of time. Most of these breeding pairs now have small, fluffy white chicks, so keep an eye for them.

Arctic Terns are also doing well this year, with over 150 nesting pairs on Papa Westray and a further 300 or so pairs nesting on Westray in several different colonies across the islands. Most of the terns in these colonies are currently incubating eggs, but many are also now looking after young chicks! Arctic Terns are very protective of their eggs and chicks so please view the colonies from afar and do not approach any colonies that you come across, especially as the colonies are very prone to disturbance and may abandon their nests if disturbed. Please do not try to attack the terns – they are just defending their nests!

Guillemots and Razorbills are all now looking after young chicks, both on the North Hill reserve on Papa Westray and at Noup Cliffs reserve on Westray. The Guillemot and Razorbill chicks are getting quite big now and soon will be jumping off of the cliff ledges into the sea! Evenings are the best time to visit these reserves if you want to watch the ‘jumplings’ flinging themselves off of the cliffs! Many of the nesting Shags are also now looking after chicks of various sizes, but these will hang around for quite a bit longer, and won’t leave the cliffs until the end of July. The Kittiwakes also now have chicks! These cute little balls of fluff can be seen in most of the nests at Noup Cliffs, but unfortunately none nested on the North Hill reserve this year. These chicks will also be around until the end of July whilst they gain their juvenile plumage. Puffins are being seen at both reserves on a daily basis, so keep your eyes peeled if you want to see these popular little birds coming out of their burrows or hanging around on the cliff ledges. Evenings are generally the best time to see Puffins, but they can often be seen during the day as well, especially at Castle of Burrian on Westray, where there are a few hundred pairs nesting!

Fulmars can be found nesting all around the coastline of both Westray and Papa Westray, so you may come across quite a few of these birds – our relative of the Albatross! They should all be on eggs by now, with chicks soon to follow, and will defend their nests violently – by spitting their oily, fishy gastric fluid at you! So if you come across a nesting Fulmar, keep away, unless you like to smell of rotten fish! Black Guillemots, or ‘Tysties’ as they are known here, can also be seen around the coastline, usually in the early morning or the evenings, sitting out on the rocks and cliffs near their burrows and singing their nice little whistling tune. They are very lovely little birds, well worth watching if you see any.

Both the Arctic Skuas and Great Skuas will now be looking after eggs, and some even have chicks at the moment too. These birds are extremely aggressive in the defence of their nests – you will be attacked if you get too close. If the Skuas do start swooping at you, remain calm and keep walking – you will leave their territory eventually. Watch where you put your feet though as the eggs and chicks are often very well camouflaged, and the adults will be much more annoyed if you tread on them! Please do not try to attack the Skuas, they are just defending their nests!

Most of waders and gulls are also looking after young chicks, so keep a look out for them as you go around the islands. Wader chicks (such as Oystercatchers, Lapwings, and Curlews) can be very difficult to see as they are also well camouflaged and will hide when people get near to them, so they can be difficult to spot! Some of the gull species may swoop at you if you unwittingly get close to their nests, but they will not hit you, so again just keep on walking until they stop chasing you. Most of the small ‘songbirds’ such as Sparrows, Starlings, Skylarks, Wrens and Meadow Pipits now have flying young, and can often be seen feeding their young on walls and fences or in fields and trees, so watch out for the young ones!

Corncrakes seem to be doing well this year, with 6 males heard calling on Westray and at least 1 on Papa Westray, making Westray the best island to visit if you want to hear (or possibly even see) one this year! Corncrakes are usually only heard at night, with 11pm – 3am being the best time for hearing them call, but they can be sometimes be heard in the daytime as well.

July is not the best month to see migrating birds, but anything is possible! Some waders have started to come in already, with two Sanderling seen on Papa Westray on the 4th July. Golden Plovers have also started coming in, and several unusual warblers have been seen across Orkney last month, so please do keep an eye out for anything unusual whilst visiting Westray and Papa Westray. Please report any unusual sightings to the RSPB Warden on 01857 644 240.

July is a good month for wildflowers, and many beautiful species can be found across both of the islands, but especially look around the coastline, where species such as Thrift, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Kidney Vetch, and Sea Campion can be found in flower. July also brings the second flowing season for the Scottish Primrose, a tiny little primrose that is only found in Caithness, Sutherland and six of the Orkney isles, with colonies on both Westray at Aikerness, and Papa Westray on the North Hill reserve.

July is also a good month for seeing whales and dolphins, both of which have been seen in Orkney recently! On the 26th June a pod of 5 Orcas were seen off of the West coast of Papa Wesray, moving north along the coast and were enjoyed by many locals and visitors alike! A pod of Risso’s Dolphins were seen from Noup Cliffs earlier in the year as well. You are more likely to see whales and dolphins when the sea is calm, so remember to scan the sea occasionally if you’re out on a nice calm day. And please call the RSPB Warden or tell one of the locals if you do see any whales or dolphins, so that other people can come and see them!

For any more information about the RSPB reserves on Westray (Noup Cliffs) or Papa Westray (North Hill), please contact the Warden on 01857 644 240. You can also keep up to date with what’s going on at all of our Orkney reserves by visiting the RSPB blog at: http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/placestovisit/orkney/b/orkney-blog/default.aspx.

The RSPB Warden runs wildlife tours around the North Hill reserve on Papa Westray every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon until the end of August. If you would like to attend one of these tours, please call the Warden on 01857 644 240. Booking and stout walking shoes are essential!

Thanks to Sarah R.S.P.B. Warden for providing this report.

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June Wildlife Sighting 2012

Whooper Swan – 1 dead discovered near Mull Head on 5th.

Greylag Goose – 55 broods plus 182 non-breeding adults counted at St Tredwell’s Loch on 21st.

Barnacle Goose – 1 seen on St Tredwell’s Loch by Tim on 2nd. 2 seen in field near Cuppin farm on 7th.

Shelduck – Pair with 10 young reported at Backiskaill loch.

Gadwall – Pair seen on Westray on pool near Taingi Skerry in the south of the island on 10th.

Black-throated Diver – 1 seen off of West coast by a visitor on the 5th.

Great Northern Diver – 1 in summer plumage seen in Papa Sound on 9th.

Gannet – 623 nests counted at Noup Cliffs on 25th.

Peregrine – 1 young bird seen around Ramni Geo at Noup Cliffs (Westray) on 14th.

Golden Plover – 5 in field near Hundland house on 29th, moving onto the reserve later in the day.

Whimbrel – 1 seen at Knap of Howar by visitor on 5th. 1 at Taftend wetland and 1 at Roadmire on Westray on 10th. 4 flying West over Fowl Craig and calling on 20th.

Arctic Tern – seen with young chicks in colonies on the reserve on 28th.

Collared Dove – 1 seen at Turnstones on 11th. 1 calling from Rose Cottage roof on 14th.

Short-eared Owl – 2 near Rendall and 1 near Knap of Howar seen by visitor on 11th.

Sand Martin – 3 at Loch of Swartmill on Westray on 10th.

Whinchat – 1 seen near the Ouse on Westray on 10th.

Whitethroat – 1 female in Rose Cottage garden on 24th.

Sedge Warbler – 1 in garden at Clestrain on 1st, moved into Rose Cottage garden on 2nd, singing constantly. Heard again in Rose Cottage garden on 6th and on 19th.

Willow Warbler – 1 in Rose Cottage garden on 2nd.

Chiffchaff – 1 in Rose Cottage garden on 8thand 9th.

Snow Bunting – 1 female seen and photographed at Mull Head by visitor. Pair seen at Mull Head on 8th.

Thanks to Sarah R.S.P.B. Warden for providing this report.

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No1 Broughton

No1 Broughton provides quality Bed and Breakfast accommodation on the island of Westray in Orkney’s Northern Isles.

No. 1 Broughton stands at the water’s edge looking across the sweep of Pierowall Bay and out across to Papa Westray. Across the bay creel boats and other sea traffic set out and return to Gill Pier – and from there you can take a day trip to Papay (Papa Westray).

Jerry’s artwork is on display throughout the house. Prints, paintings and postcards can be purchased. A selection of the works available can be viewed at Jerry’s studio.

We hope that you will come to visit us, and come back again. A warm welcome awaits you.

 

 

 

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No1 Broughton
Pierowall
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2DA

Telephone: 01857 677726

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Papay Peedie Tours

Whether you are staying in the isle or visiting for the day our thrice-weekly island tour will help you make the most of Papay’s spectacular scenery, wildlife, history and culture. Our Ranger will collect you from the boat, plane or hostel and take you by minibus and foot around the ‘must see’ 6000 year old Neolithic farmstead at the Knap of Howar, the beautifully restored old kirk at St Boniface, and the traditional farm steading and Bothy Museum at Holland. The day tour includes a guided walk along the eastern shore to look for waders and seals and up to the cliffs and heath of the RSPB North Hill reserve, where a variety of birds and flowers may be seen, often including puffins and Scottish primrose. The Papay Development Trust offers the Papay Peedie Tours every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from early May to the end of August with lunch and afternoon refreshments at the Kelp Store Craft & Heritage Centre included – you’ll be well-looked after throughout this very full day. £50 adults, £25 children. Booking essential.

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Jonathan – Papay Ranger

Tel: 07931 235213

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Papa Westray Hostel

Papa Westray HostelQuality hostel accommodation run by an island community co-operative. All rooms en-suite with sea views over the Holm of Papay and excellent self-catering and lounge facilities. The hostel is ideally situated within easy walking distance of beaches, archaeological sites and the community shop and is a perfect base for exploring the isle. Warm welcome guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

Papa Westray Hostel sun lounge

Papa Westray Hostel sun lounge

Papa Westray Hostel view

Papa Westray Hostel view

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Papay Co-op
Beltane House
Papa Westray
Orkney

01857 644321
or Jennifer 01857 644224

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Seals

Common Seal

The Westray population is of unknown size but this animal is by no means scarce, possibly 500-1000 individuals. Several small colonies exist around the coast with greatest numbers occurring at Sponess and on the Holm of Aikerness. The Bay of Swartmill is a common summer haul-out. Pups are born in June to mid-July and these can swim soon after birth. Many adults are ashore in August when they moult.

Grey Seal

A small breeding colony of perhaps 100 adults exists at the Point of Weatherness, some 25 minutes walk from the Rapness Quarry. Pupping takes place in October-November and the young remain ashore for up to a month while they moult the whitish coat they are born with. A large haulout can be seen at low water on the Skerry below Noup Head. Typically this species prefers more isolated and exposed breeding and loafing sites than its’ smaller cousin above.

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St Boniface Kirk

Two Pictish cross-slabs that were found in the kirkyard at St Boniface are evidence that there has been a kirk on this site since at least the late 7th century – probably originally founded as a base for missionary campaigns among the pagan Picts. The present building dates from the 12th century, and was enlarged around 1720 and furnished with gallery, pulpit and box-pews. Some of these have been restored and the kirk is in occasional use and always open for visitors. In the kirkyard is a very weathered hogback tombstone which has been dated to the 12th century; these stones were a Norse type, imitating in stone the longhouse with its roof of wooden shingles. The reddish stone is not local to Papay, it has been imported to mark the burial place of an important person.

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Knap of Howar

photo of the Knap of HowarThe Knap of Howar is not only one of the most significant archaeological sites in Orkney, but the site of the oldest standing houses in northern Europe.  These two buildings are significantly older than the village at Skara Brae, and were inhabited from about 3800 BC by neolithic farmers who grew crops on the fertile land and raised cattle, sheep and a few pigs.  The builders designed for maximum protection from the elements, digging down into the midden left by an earlier settlement so that the houses are invisible until you are almost standing on them.  The long low entrance passageways sheltered the dwelling areas from the Orkney wind, and you can see the slots in the door-jambs at the inner end, for a bar to hold a door against the stone checks.

Photo of the Knap of Howar

The interior of the larger house is partitioned by stone flags into two rooms, the outer one furnished with a stone sleeping platform and

the inner with a hearth and trough quern.  A connecting passage leads to the smaller house which seems to have been the workshop and storage area, the innermost room lined with stone cupboards.

The Knap is not a village like Skara Brae but seems to have been the home of a single, virtually self-sufficient family unit.  Excavation revealed bone and stone tools, and Unstan-ware pottery – quite different from the Grooved Ware used by the people at Skara Brae.  As well as farming, the people of the Knap were highly competent deep-sea fishermen, and hunted sea-birds such as the Great Auk.

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Westray Art Gallery

The Westray Art Gallery is situated on the magical North Orkney Island of Westray.

The Island is renowned for its sparkling light, dramatic sky and contrasting sea and landscapes.

Since 2004 The Gallery has been the home, studio and exhibition gallery of artist Peter Brown. Westray has a progressive community, which is attracting a growing number of artists and crafts people.

The aim of The Gallery is to present ongoing exhibitions of contemporary paintings, prints and artworks by Peter in an inviting and stimulating setting. Also on show is the work by guest artists.

Visit my website at www.westrayartgallery.co.uk

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Westray Art Gallery
Pierowall
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2BZ

01857 677770

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Hume Sweet Hume

Hume Sweet Hume was established in 1998 by sisters Lizza and Jenna Hume as an interior design business specialising in hand crafted ranges of cushions and throws.

Recently the business has diversified to include fashion accessories such as wraps, scarves and bags. All the products are produced on the premises and each incorporates a pebble button gathered from local beaches.

Our well-stocked shop is situated in Pierowall village and carries a wide range of unique gift items. You are welcome to visit and view the products at your leisure.

Visit our website and online store at www.humesweethume.co.uk

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Hume Sweet Hume
Pierowall
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2DH

01857 677259

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Aakwork

Aak Work offers a wide range of printed garments and gifts from bookmarks, cards and key rings to ripper wallets, coasters and stag/hen night T-Shirts. No minimum order.

You can choose from a wide range of photos or use your own photo or design. Private orders welcome.

Opening to the public by arrangement, or whenever sign is displayed.

Visit my website at www.aakwork.co.uk

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Aakwork
Helzie House
Rapness
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2DE

01857 677877

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Heritage Centre

The Heritage Centre is a “must see” starting point for anyone interested in Westray’s past. Situated in the centre of Pierowall village The Heritage Centre is a Visit Scotland 4 Star Visitor Attraction.

Inside there is an an annual display plus permanent exhibition panels on walls, and a simulated geo with model seabirds and authentic bird sounds. There are also interactive displays which will attract youngsters. Many records of the island’s history and gravestone records available to browse.

Over the years the Heritage Centre has built up a large collection of black and white photos of historic significance, collated the kirk yard records from the island’s three cemeteries and gathered memories of past activities in Westray e.g. schools, kirks, sports, sea transport, Noup Head lighthouse, royal visits, fishing, crafts, World Wars 1 and 2, and the Heritage Trust continues to research a fresh subject each year.

In the Heritage Centre there is now a database of many local families dating back to early 17th Century and the Trust has published a number of books and booklets on local subjects.

There are now two new sections on the Centre’s web site, taking visitors to Noltland Castle and Westray’s milestones. Both these sections are in the process of construction and are being updated as and when information is available.

Admission is £2 per person with concessions at £1.50, or you may choose to become a friend of the Heritage Centre for an annual fee of £6 per household (or £3 retired) or a lifetime member for £60 (or £30 retired).

The Heritage Trust has its own web site at www.westrayheritage.co.uk

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Westraak

Experience the beauty of Westray – the sights, sounds and solitude.

Let Karen and Andy bring Westray to life for you, our Guest. We will take you to experience the sights, sounds and solitude of this beautiful island called the ‘Queen of the Orkney Isles’.

Our guided tours of Westray are available all year round, and can vary in content and timing to be tailored to your wishes.

For full information on our tour itinerary please visit our Tours page. Evening Puffin and Sunset Tours can also be arranged.

For more information on the tours offered visit their website.

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Westraak

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Wheeling Steen Gallery

Wheeling Steen is old Norse for ‘Resting Stone’.You can still hear remnants of this ancient language in the local dialect as spoken by the Rendall family who created and run the gallery.

Edwin, Elaine and their daughter Rosemary design and produce all their work on the premises allowing them to aim for the highest quality at every stage from concept to completion. Including – photography, original paintings, prints, handmade cards and souvenirs.

We serve freshly ground Organic Fairtrade coffee. We also have tea, hot chocolate, chai latte and various cold drinks, along with pre-packed snacks and biscuits, including Westray Shortbread.
In the summer we have a delicious soft-serve frozen yogurt. It’s virtually fat free with a slight tartness and can be enjoyed on it’s own or topped with fresh fruit or even Orkney fudge!

We are 2 miles north of Pierowall on the Airport road. Whether you walk, cycle or drive you will enjoy the stunning views of the northern isles.

Opening hours:

June – September. Monday – Saturday 11am – 5pm
Winter. Monday – Saturday 1pm – 5pm
Closed January and February

Find more information on our website!  www.wheeling-steen.co.uk

 

We’re also on Facebook at – https://www.facebook.com/wheelingsteengallery

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Wheeling Steen Gallery
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2DN

01857 677292

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The Barn – Hostel

High quality hostel accommodation with excellent self-catering and lounge facilities.

Situated near Pierowall village. Superb views over Pierowall Bay.

Ideal base for exploring Westray. Warm welcome guaranteed.

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The Barn Hostel Westray
Michael & Teenie Harcus
Chalmersquoy Accommodation
Westray
Orkney

01857 677214

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Daybreak

Beautifully renovated traditional cottage, with steps leading to shoreline.

Situated in Pierowall Village.

Centrally heated with additional open fire.

Glass-fronted lounge with un-spoilt views of Pierowall Bay.

For more information visit Daybreak website.

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Daybreak
Stavanger
St Ola
Orkney
Scotland KW15 1SR

01856 876579

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West Manse & Brotchie

The West Manse and Brotchie viewed from The SteadingAerial View of the West Manse - winter 2011Lovingly restored Georgian/Victorian Manse offers homely, elegant, warm and sustainable self catering for one to twelve people; also courses and exhibitions. Children and dogs very welcome. Situated on a headland steeped in “prehistory” and within close walking distance of dramatic Atlantic cliffs and a stunning sandy beach, the West Manse and Brotchie are the perfect accommodation for those looking for a peaceful holiday away from the hustle and bustle of modern living.

For more information visit the West Manse website.

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West Manse and Brotchie
Westside
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2DR

01857 677482

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Taft End

Centrally heated cottage situated beside the seashore.

Ideal location for peaceful holiday with panoramic sea views, bird life and seals nearby.

Enquiries

Taft End
Twinness
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2DE

01857 677319

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Orcadee

 

New modern cottage overlooking Pierowall Bay.

Shops close by, airport 2.5 miles, ferry 7 miles.

Open all year.

Enquiries

Orcadee
The Lodge
Shirlett
New Brosley
Shropshire
TF12 5BH

01952 727814

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Daisy Cottage

Modern bungalow in Pierowall Village.

Convenient for shops, swimming pool, beaches and bird life.

Open all year.

Ferry 7 miles, airport 3 miles.

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Daisy Cottage
North Cubbigoe
Westray
Orkney
KW17 2DD

01857 677398

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West Kirbest

Attractive, modernised, detached country cottage, overlooking spectacular sea views.

Peacefully situated with walks to nearby beaches and cliffs with seabird colonies including Puffins!

Ideal for a relaxing holiday.

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West Kirbest
Ferryhills House
15 Ferryhills Road
North Queensferry
Fife
KY11 1HE

01383 413713

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Bisgeos

An almost certain cure for stress! Sitting high on Westray’s western cliffs, commanding a spectacular view.

Traditionally rebuilt croft of exceptional standard with all mod cons. open fireplace, under-floor heating, flagstone floors.

For more information visit the Bis Geos website.

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Bis Geos
Kirkhouse
Westray
Orkney
KW17 22DD

01857 677420

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Westray Marina

All about Westray Marina

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Puffin Spotting at the Castle o’Burrian

The Castle o’Burrian is well known in Orkney as one of the best and easiest places to see puffins close up. Here, between late April and mid August, as many as 200-300 birds nest on the stack and can be viewed from the adjacent cliffs. Building remains on the top of the stack are said to have been an early Christian hermitage.

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Westray Wifey

The Westray Wife (also known as the Orkney Venus) is a small Neolithic figurine, 4 cm in height, carved from sandstone that was discovered during an Historic Scotland dig at the Links of Noltland in the summer of 2009. It was the first Neolithic carving of a human form to have been found in Scotland, and to date it is the earliest depiction of a face found in the United Kingdom.

A second figurine of about the same size and shape as the Westray Wife, but made from clay, and missing its head, was discovered by archaeologists at the same Links of Noltland site during the summer of 2010. This figurine, 3.4 cm in height, has a rectangular panel decorated with triangles on the front of its torso, which may represent a tunic, and a punched hole in the centre of its stomach. A number of small clay balls have also been discovered at the site, and it is possible that these were intended for use as heads for similar figurines.

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Chalmersquoy – Campsite

Chalmersquoy CampsiteSituated on the edge of Pierowall Village, the campsite, which caters for tents, motorhomes and touring caravans, is in a great location for easy walking to shops, heritage centre, cafe, hotel and chip shop.  The campsite has twelve hardstanding pitches, electric hook ups, hot showers and a well stocked campers kitchen.  

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Chalmersquoy Westray
Michael & Teenie Harcus
Chalmersquoy Accommodation
Westray
Orkney

01857 677214

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Pierowall Hotel

Enjoy the friendly atmosphere of a family run hotel right in the heart of Pierowall, between the Heritage Centre and the Art gallery.

Enjoying views over Pierowall Bay with Papa Westray visible in the near distance, the Pierowall Hotel is ideally situated for visitors to Westray.

The Hotel is within easy walking distance of the village shops, a children’s playground and playing field opposite the community school, a swimming pool and gym at the school complex and of course Pierowall Bay.

For guests wishing to explore the island, we can arrange for a guided tour to pick you up from the hotel and return you for your meals here, or you could take a packed lunch with you.

As a special treat why not take a flight on the plane to Papay for the world’s shortest scheduled flight, as recorded in the Guinness Book of Records?

We provide good home cooking to suit all tastes with varied and special diets catered for; the hotel restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients and fresh vegetables from its own garden wherever possible.

Fish, local shellfish and Orkney beef are all well renowned for their melt in the mouth flavours and feature on our menus.

Fresh homebakes and special dishes are available each day.

As well as the residents’ dining room, there is a public bar, a lounge bar and a snug with leather settees. Meals are available to both residents and non-residents and are served in either the dining room or the lounge bar. Our aim is to make all our visitors feel welcome, relaxed and well-fed, right in the heart of the village. For more information or a chat before booking, do please email or telephone us and ask for Alison or Alan.

For more information visit our website at www,pierowallhotel.co.uk

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Pierowall Hotel
Pierowall
Westray
Orkney

01857 677472

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