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Papa Westray

Fulmar - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Magnificent Mallimacks

There are Fulmars, called Mallimacks here in Orkney, on the wing at the pier on Papa Westray This one is flying a …

Starling - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Rainbow Stormbird

Starlings need a brand refresh. I’m surprised they haven’t engaged a top London marketing firm to challenge public perceptions of them. Their …

Arctic Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Sitting pretty

A little further along the coast of Papa Westray I see an Arctic Skua sitting on a wall. It’s really not what …

Great Skua - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Stumbling across a Great Skua

Great Skuas are one of my favourite birds. They are a constant delight as they patrol the shoreline, flying low and surprising …

Eider - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Dunters on the waves

There are Common Eider ducks on the growing waves here on Papa Westray. Their colours are very understated. As soon as they …

Black Guillemots - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

A bit of singing and dancing

Black Guillemots are the connoisseur’s auk. If you find Puffins too gaudy, or Guillemots too dowdy, then Black Guillemots are for you. …

Arctic Terns - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The gift of two summers

There are Arctic Terns fishing in uneven seas off Papa Westray. Their concentration skills are immense: Arctic Terns spend the northern summer …

Oystercatcher - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Blood-footed Oyster-pickers

There are Oystercatchers on Papa Westray and they intend to let us know that. As soon as we arrive, and walk into …

Great Auk - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

720 Auks make a mattress

Papa Westray is one of the few places in which the amazing, and sadly extinct, Great Auk bred. People often think that …

Holland Farm on Papa Westray - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Holland Farm from the air

Every time I visit Papa Westray I say “Next time I visit Papay I must have a look at all those beautiful …

Wild Rose

I sent my love two roses…

I’ve always loved wild roses. The cultivated varieties rarely do anything for me, especially in garage forecourts, but wild roses are something …

Hay Turner

Hay Turner

It’s a long way from Papa Westray to a large landfill site or recycling centre so if it’s large, heavy or rusting …

Weighed Down

Sharing a bench

On Papa Westray the wind knows how to blow. That means that anything that’s not tied down or cemented-in will eventually take …

Knap of Howar

A 5,600 year old picnic venue

The island of Papa Westray is just off Westray, part of the Orkney Islands just off the north-east coast of Scotland, part …

Holland Farm Papa Westray

Holland

Today there’s time to visit Holland. No, not the province of the Netherlands, but Holland the farm on Papa Westray. It’s a …

The Kelp Store, Papa Westray

The Kelp Store

One of Orkney’s most important exports used to be the ash from Kelp, the seaweed which is regularly washed ashore by storms …

Holland Farm

Holland Farmstead

Wandering on Papa Westray it’s impossible to miss Holland Farm. It’s a hugely impressive steading which once owned the island of Papa …

The age of steam
The age of steam
The age of steam

Steam Rollered

Wandering about on Papa Westray there are traces of old farming methods everywhere. There’s also an abandoned steam roller with the crumbling …

Knap of Howar

Grinding Stone

The farmstead at the Knapp of Howar is the oldest standing building in northern Europe. It’s been here for 5,600 years and …

Wooden gutters
Wooden gutters
Wooden gutters

Wooden gutters

I’d never even considered that gutters could be made out of wood in the UK. However, someone in Papa Westray thought it …