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Stronsay is an island in Orkney, Scotland situated to the North of the British Isles. Stronsay is part of an extensive group of Islands where the Atlantic Ocean and North Sea meet, known as the Orkney Islands. Stronsay's shape is irregular and its name originates from the Old Norse for Star Island. Stronsay is one of the inhabited islands in the Orkneys.


Stronsay Geography

Stronsay lies on latitude 59° north which it shares with Alaska on the North American continent and Stockholm in Europe.

Stronsay land-mass extends to an area of thirteen square miles, and Stronsay therefore is the seventh largest of the Orkney Islands.

Stronsay lacks significant hills and there are no mountains, being a low-lying island, the highest point is Burgh Hill which stands just 46 metres above sea level.

The climate of Stronsay is temperate, and Stronsay is warmed by the Gulf Stream. The driest months on Stronsay being April, May and June. The sandy beaches and cliffs attract seals and nunerous sea birds.

The telephone code for Stronsay in Orkneys: +44 (0)1857


Map showing Stronsay in The Orkney Islands Scotland

Thumbnail Map showing Stronsay in The Orkney Islands Scotland.

A map of the Orkney Islands where Stronsay can clearly be seen coloured in Red. Orkney Islands, Scotland.


Stronsay History

Signs of human occupation have been found on Stronsay Island dating from Neolithic times. The vikings are known to have made use of Stronsay Island in the 11th century. The "Danes Pier" is reputed to have been a harbour used by the Vikings. In medieval times Stronsay was occupied (as part of the Orkney Islands) by Norway, and was later annexed by Scotland in 1472.

Stronsay in the 18th Century had a thriving Kelp industry. Up to 3,000 people were involved in the collection and production of seaweed (kelp) for use in making iodine, glass and soap.

In more recent historical times (early 20th Century) Whitehall on Stronsay was the home port to an important herring fishery. At that time Stronsay Island was the hub of one of the busiest herring fisheries in Europe. The herring fishery on Stronsay declined with the depletion of herring stocks.

See also the Stronsay History page.


Stronsay's Main Village

The main village on Stronsay is Whitehall, which is home to the island's heritage centre. The Heritage Centre in Whitehall, which was once the Fish Mart, tells the story of the history of the herring industry in Stronsay. The herring boom on Stronsay ended in the late 1930's and its end saw the decline of Whitehall which had supported a population of up 1000 but which now, in the 21st Century is around 400 souls and unfortunately, still declining. Orkney, the largest island in the group has a population of around 20,000 people.

Whitehall is the terminus for the roll-on, roll-off car ferry service from Kirkwall on the Scottish mainland.


Stronsay Economy

Stronsay is now mainly agricultural, but, in the past, during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, kelp collection and herring curing, as well as farming, employed up to five thousand people on the island.


Stronsay Tourism

Stronsay has several good sandy beaches and many rocky inlets to explore. Stronsay offers good opportunities to view the native flora and fauna of The Orkney Islands.

There is a choice of accomodation on Stronsay Island, some available all year around. There is also inexpensive bunk and hostel accomodation in season.

See also the Stronsay Tourism and Stronsay Travel pages.


Stronsay Wildlife

Wildlife found on Stronsay, amongst other, include common and grey seals.

Wild birds abound around Stronsay including red-throated divers, sort-eared owls, the arctic tern plus many many breeding sea birds around the coast of Stronsay.

Stronsay is also good for those wishing to see flora as the island offers a good habitat for many rare plants and wild flowers.

See also the Stronsay Wildlife page.


Stronsay's People

Stronsay is the birthplace of the Scottish author Douglas Sutherland. The author Bill Bryson described Papa Stronsay as his favourite place in Britain.


Papa Stronsay

Papa Stronsay is a small island, also in the Orkneys, to the north of Stronsay. In the old Norse language Papa Stronsay means 'Priest Island of Stronsay'.

Papa Stronsay is home to monks of the Transalpine Redemptorists who have a monastery on the island.

Papa Stronsay is the site of the most northerly early Christian monastery ever found.

See also the Papa Stronsay page.


Other Islands in Orkney

Stronsay is surrounded by, and located near to these other islands of Orkney; Auskerry, Brough of Birsay, Burray, Calf of Eday, Copinsay, Eday, Egilsay, Eynhallow, Fara Orkney, Faray, Flotta, Gairsay, Graemsay, Holm of Papa, Lamb Holm, Muckle Skerry, North Ronaldsay, Papa Stronsay, Papa Westray, Pentland Skerries, Rousay, Sanday, Orkney, Shapinsay, South Ronaldsay, Stronsay, Sule, Skerry, Sule Stack, Switha, Swona, The Mainland Orkney, Westray, Wyre Orkney.

See also the Stronsay Maps page.


Main Inhabited Islands in Orkney

The main inhabited islands around Stronsay in the Orkneys are; Westray, Papay, North Ronaldsay, Sanday, Rousay, Eday, Shapinsay, Orkney, Flotta, Hoy, Burray, South Ronaldsay.

See also the Stronsay Maps page.


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