This is an archived page about the Papay Development Trust prepared in the year 2000. For the current page click here: Papay Development Trust.
Papay Development Trust Community Plan
About our community
The island of Papa Westray now sits at the crossroads where ancient oceans and new ideas meet.
Located on the northern fringe of the Orkney archipelago, Papay - as it is known locally - is roughly four and a half miles long by a mile wide; the Atlantic lies on one shore, the North Sea on the other.
It is a gently undulating chequerboard landscape of field and croft ranged around the bays and large freshwater loch of St. Tredwell. The northern third of the island is designated of special scientific interest because of its bird and plant life.
Houses generally are built low, hugging the landscape for protection against the winter gales.
The west shore is rugged; there are spectacular cliffs around the northern cape and to the East beautiful, sheltered sandy bays - the North and South Wicks - looking out towards the Holm, Papa Westrayís calf island.
Served by a twice-daily air service from Kirkwall and ferry links to Kirkwall and Westray, its larger companion on the Northwest edge of Orkney, Papa Westray is in the midst of changes as dramatic as any seen in the islandís 6000 years of human activity.
Population levels have dropped steadily over the past century in common with many of the remoter parts of Scotland as people sought a less austere life in the south.
Currently the population is 70 and seems, for the moment at least, to have stabilised. House renovation is taking place at several sites on the island and several new families are setting up home. One of the principal targets of the islanders is to reverse the downward population trend ... permanently.
People find a living through farming, fishing, the building trades, and increasingly through computer-based work and the many facets of tourism.
Increased employment opportunities, improved transport links, housing suitable for new arrivals and older folk alike, improved tourist facilities which tell the islands own remarkable story and the consolidation of health and education services are all declared priorities.
Efforts are now being directed to ensuring that Papa Westray - at this new millenniumís dawning - has a secure future to match its remarkable past.