The top 10 reasons you shouldn’t visit Westray

Friends and relatives often ask me whether Westray is a good place to visit and my answer is always very clear. “No,” I say. “I wouldn’t recommend it.” Here then are my top ten reasons why you should never visit Westray. In fact, if you ever had Westray on your bucket list of places to visit, you can cross it off now.

1. It’s too crowded

Westray has hundreds of people crammed onto a tiny island. There’s not enough space to even move. It’s almost impossible to have any privacy and you constantly feel overlooked by other people. In fact I once went to the beach for the day and do you know what? There was another person on the same beach! Can you believe it?

A glorious day - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)
Alone on the beach on Westray – there’s not a soul around and you might find you have a glorious white shell-sand beach entirely to yourself. As the Tourist Association says, ‘You’ll know you’ve caught the Westray bug when you’re disappointed when there’s someone else on the same beach.’

2. The weather is awful

Howling winds and torrential rains mean Westray is almost uninhabitable.

A fine day on Westray - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (to the)
A fine day on Westray is better than any day anywhere else.

Summers are short and the Island is constantly enveloped in a blanket of dull grey clouds.

Cereals in Sunshine
In brilliant sunshine the light breeze ripples the barley on a seemingly endless summer day.

3. The locals are unfriendly

If you go to Westray you’re sure to get a grumpy look. Westray residents sometimes give you the impression that they’d rather you weren’t there at all. The males on the island are the worst. It’s as if they are constantly wary of you going anywhere near their females.

Handsome Chap - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)
A Red Bull on Westray. All I need now is some Coca-Cola.

4. The traffic is desperate

Queuing traffic is a nightmare on Westray. It takes ages to get anywhere.

Middle of the road
On Westray busy traffic means five cars going past – in the whole day – on their way to the ferry.

5. It’s full of old rubbish from before people could even write

Westray is a 5,000 year old rubbish dump. Scattered all over it are the remains of rubbish heaps from before people could even write. There’s just too much filth on Westray. You wouldn’t like it. People just dumped this bead necklace and left it lying around for all that time, without anyone ever clearing it up. Westray is full of such rubbish. It’s definitely not worth going

A 5000 year old necklace
Here’s Hazel holding a 5,000 year old bead from a necklace discovered at the Links of Noltland on Westray where rescue archaeology has unearthed fascinating glimpses into our distant past.

6. You can’t move for smelly ridiculous-looking fish-eating birds

Westray is so full of smelly fish-eating birds that at some times of the year you can’t walk for fear of treading on one of them. It’s like some ridiculous circus. It’s disgusting.

Puffins at the Castle o' Burrian
Puffins at the Castle o’ Burrian on Westray – where breeding Puffins rear their young on sand-eels.

7. It’s full of ruins

Westray is full of buildings which are complete ruins. Some they didn’t even finish building before they let them go to ruin. They haven’t done anything about them and have just left them there, in ruins.

Noltland Castle
Westray is full of historic buildings. Noltland Castle is a relic of the Island’s violent past, with 7-foot thick walls and 71 gunloops through which to shoot at attackers.

8. The locals are supremely lazy

Walk around the main village, Pierowall, and you’ll see the inhabitants just lazing around all day.

"Peel me a chestnut big boy." - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)
Westray’s seals bask right next to the road on the rocks in Pierowall Bay.

Some of them are so rude that they don’t even bother to cover their mouths when they yawn right in front of you. Westray’s inhabitants have terrible manners.

Cute Seals - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)
Seals at Broughton in Pierowall on Westray are so relaxed about visitors that they bask in the sunshine in full view from the road.

9. It’s too dark

Westray is too dark. The roads aren’t even lit at night. Looking up there are all these tiny lights but they’re not close enough or bright enough to see with. Sometimes there’s even an eerie green glow in the sky to the north which is a bit creepy.

Einar and the Northern Lights - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)
An eerie green glow from the northern lights – the Aurora borealis – lights up the sky over Westray.

10. There’s nothing to do

Westray is devoid of things to do.

Surfer at Grobust - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) 2016 David Bailey (not the)
Surfer at Grobust – Westray has activities like surfing and sailing which make use of its rugged coastline and wonderful harbour.

There’s also nothing for kids to do.

Angel Evie
Westray has clean fresh air, wonderful beaches and is safe to explore – here’s Evangeline drawing an angel in the sand.

Seriously, if you’re thinking of visiting Westray then think again. It’s simply not worth going that little bit further for.

If you’d like to read about my experiences of visiting Westray, please visit here. Thanks for visiting my blog. Enjoy exploring it and feel free to leave a comment.

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