Interesting Info
In 1722, kelp production was introduced to Stronsay. Seaweed was burned to produce ash for the production of soap, alum and glass. This was a major part of Stronsay's economy until the collapse of Kelp production in 1832
Useful Advice
It is a long walk from Whitehall Pier to the Vat of Kirbuster - arrange transport if needed!
Essential sites to visit
The Vat of Kirbuster
Whitehall Village
Well of Kildinguie
Vat of Kirbister

Stronsay has a quite different history to the other North Isles. The village of Whitehall looks like it has been transplanted Whitehall Villagefrom the North East of Scotland, which is what is was during the Herring Boom at the beginning of the 19th century. 300 drifters would tie up there, until the boom ended in 1930 there is still some lobster fishing, but the economy has reverted back to farming.

Stronsay is an island divided into three sections, separated by gently formed bays, with beautiful long sandy beaches, some over 1½ miles, to rival Sanday's shores. Stronsay's most Stronsay Cliffsfamous landmark, the large natural arch of the Vat of Kirbuster is similarly impressive. The nearby brough is a good place to see puffins and the cliff scenery is spectacular.

As land has been farmed rigorously, few traces of the first settlers remain. There are burnt mounds at Kirbuster, the brough of Burgh head and St Peter's Chapel. However, Stronsay has a much more recent history of herring fleets and kelp making, which can be researched in the museum at the Old Fish Market. Other sites of interest are found to the North East of Stronsay - Papa Stronsay, which is populated by monks, and 3/4 mile south of Whitehall is the Old Well of Kildunguie; which was once believed to cure every disease except for the bubonic plague.

Stronsay can be reached by ferry or air from Kirkwall.

Papa Stronsay Monks photo © Fraser Dixon, Vat of Kirbuster photo © Fraser Dixon, Whitehall village photo © Fraser Dixon, Stronsay cliffs photo © Fraser Dixon.
All text © Magnus Dixon.

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