Things To DoGo Wild

Whether exploring the island’s native flora and fauna, shell collecting from rock pools and sandy shorelines, digging for ‘spoots’ or razor clams, a local shellfish delicacy, Wild Stronsay offers activities everyone can enjoy.

A ramble through the wild flowers and purple heather of the remote Rothiesholm headland – almost a separate island, connected to Stronsay only by a narrow isthmus – will lead you gently down to the dunes of the mile-long beach of Bu Sands where you may find some of Orkney’s rarest shells including bubble shells and Cyprina.

Across the island, on the eastern coast, spectacular rock formations include the Vat of Kirbister – Stronsay’s famous natural rock arch, often described as the finest in Orkney. The coast around Odiness Bay features numerous dramatic geos, caves, flagstone rock platforms and sea stacks, including Tam’s Castle, reputed to have once housed a hermitage on its flat summit.

Take your binoculars to the cliffs at Lamb Ness and Lamb Head and you can chart the comings and goings of vast quantities of seabirds. Or serious birdwatchers might follow the well-worn twitcher’s trail to the Stronsay Bird Reserve, one of the best sites in Europe to spot rare migrants such as the American Golden Plover, Arctic Redpoll, Scarlet Rosefinch and Tawny Pipit.

Seals can also be spotted at many locations, including the Ayre of the Myers, a popular picnic-spot near Whitehall, at the twin south-facing bays at Houseby and Sand of Crook or from the seal-hide near Holland Bay.

Come nightfall, the lack of any kind of light pollution offers up the reward of the most glorious sunsets and a truly breath-taking display of stars with regular appearances of the Aurora Borealis or ‘Merry Dancers’ providing a fascinating spectacle across the northern skies.