The Holm from Papa Westray - photograph by Douglas Hourston
About Papa Westray
Papa Westray, known affectionately as Papay,
is one of Orkney's smallest isles lying some 20 miles north of Kirkwall.
Just 4 miles long by 1 mile wide, Papay is a fascinating and diverse place
to visit, steeped in history but with a lively population which has increased from 65 in the 2001 census to 90 'usual residents' in 2011. The map below comes from Google.
It is best viewed by clicking 'satellite' and increasing magnification (+) several times.
Papay is green and fertile and because
of this has been home to farming activity for at least 5,000 years.
Indeed, Historic Scotland lists nearly 60 archaeological sites on
Papay, an astonishing testimony to the immense period of human habitation.
These range from the , the oldest known
standing northern European houses, built and occupied a millennium before the pyramids,
through a huge chambered tomb on the ,
to founded in the early years
of Christianity in the Northern Isles, down to small finds of stone axes.
Papay fire engine
Today, farming is still one of the main activities of the islanders, especially the production of excellent beef cattle. Holland Farm maintains a fine range of traditional stone buildings including
a doo'cot,horse tramp mill, a kiln and also an agricultural museum. Local folk are also involved in lobster and crab fishing, art, building,
crafts, tourism, writing and computer-based work - and essential island services such as the airport, community co-op, pier, nursing and fire service.
Papa Westray has a maritime climate with the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the North Sea to the east.