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Monday, 13 June 2011

Trip to Westray

While the rain pours down outside (we've had a severe weather warning from the Met Office for torrential rain!) I shall remind myself of my sunny trip to the island of Westray, one of Orkney's most northerly islands. The island has about 600 inhabitants (huge then compared to our 26) and has lots of interesting archaeology and lovely sandy beaches. Not to mention cafes with homebakes and lovely (local) fish and chips, and excellent hospitality with fantastic carrot cake.... but more of all this later. First some "beach" photos...... above look closely and you can just about see some seals on the shore....

Shorelines with not a soul to in sight....

And ruins right along the shore - coastal erosion has probably made them even closer.....

and Pigs in Paradise.....

I was personally introduced to Molly and Alfie by Malcolm (as of the blog "The Edge of Nowhere") I also saw "Little Kim's" wee piglets that are about to be weaned....hmmm might have to give up bacon after that introduction.... they were so sweet.....

And these are Merlin (a wee Shetland stallion), Teddy, (the bigger Shetland, and Malc's boots...

I also met most of the other animal inhabitants of the farm (dogs, ducks, ducklings), and his wife Sal provided the best carrot cake I have ever tasted. And as you know I am something of a connoisseur of Cake... Their farm has the best view over Westray I think, a combination of farmland, hills and sea.  Fantastic place to rear pigs - and live, of course.

As for the rest of the island, most of the "industry" is farming, lots of farms and crofts, some fishing (I think it is the only Orkney island with a fishing fleet now), and also renwable energy (they have a biodigester and wind turbines). There are also two hotels, a couple of "general stores" where you can get all the essentials of life, including Westray shortbread biscuits, a pottery, and gallery selling photos of the locality AND home bakes. And then there is the archaeology - but more of that tomorrow.....

I'll leave you now with this fascinating rock formation - I wonder what traumatic earth events formed this? I spent a while pondering this question while soaking up the now peaceful atmosphere of the landscape.


  1. Super photos of what was obviously a fascinating trip. I loved the pigs - who need a plough when you have frew-range pigs?

  2. Wonderful trip, great pics,

  3. Ciao! I wonder if you have that carrot cake recipe.....I love cooking, especially sweet stuff! Would love to visit this island as well! Can you get direct ferries from John o'Groats?

  4. Perpetua - the pigs were great! The photos I took of the piglets were too blurry - they wouldn't keep still but they were super wee pigs.

    MaryZ - well there is a spare bed waiting for you :-)

    pat - Glad you enjoyed them

    Silvia - no you can only get to Westray once you are in Orkney. From John O'Groats you can get to South Ronaldsay but then you have to travel onward to any other island.