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Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Directions for travel to Papa Stronsay

Map showing Mainland Scotland and the Orkney Islands
with the land-sea connections.

Orkney all adrift by itself
the largest island is called

Mainland Orkney

Papa Stronsay
(meaning: "Priests' Island of Stronsay")
lies just off the island of Stronsay

How do I get to Papa Stronsay?

To get to Papa Stronsay is not complicated but it is clearer if we say that there are three steps.

First it is necessary to to get to Kirkwall, Mainland Orkney.
Second, to get from Mainland Orkney to the island of Stronsay.
Finally, from Stronsay the monastery boat will take you to Papa Stronsay.

Step One: Arriving in Kirkwall, Mainland Orkney.

Option 1: Flight. The section to Kirkwall from Inverness, Aberdeen, Glasgow or Edinburgh has a reputation of being expensive. You can fly to Kirkwall from London via Glasgow or Edinburgh. The carrier for the Glasgow/Edinburgh - Kirkwall section is Flybe. (Operating for Logan Air and British Airways)

Option 2: By sea from Aberdeen to Kirkwall. The sailings are twice a week. The ship arrives into Kirkwall from Aberdeen about 11.00 p.m. so it is necessary to arrange for over night accommodation in Kirkwall either at a B&B or a hotel. The carrier is Northlink Ferries.
Option 3: Land and sea travel. You must direct the course of your travel to one of three seaports on the Northern coast of Scotland. They are: Scrabster, John O'Groats or Gill's Bay. Ferries operate out of each of these ports. All include further overland travel to Kirkwall; busses connect from the ferries to Kirkwall.

Scrabster - Stromness: To get to the port of Scrabster take a train or bus to Thurso. Scrabster is nearby (1-2 miles) and can be walked or take a taxi.. Northlink Ferries operate between Scrabster and Stromness, Orkney. A bus connects from Stromness to Kirkwall. This is the classical way of getting to Orkney because this service has operated for many years and operates all year round. Trains and busses arrive at Thurso from Inverness. Trains and busses arrive at Inverness from Edinburgh.

John O' Groats - Kirkwall: This is a summer service. The Orkney Bus leaves the Inverness railway station and takes you to Orkney vis the short sea crossing between John o' Groats and South Ronaldsay. Orkney. The service continues from there directly to Kirkwall Cathedral.

The Orkney bus stops at St. Magnus Cathedral, Kirkwall.

For a foot passenger it is the best way since all you have to do is get to Inverness by bus, train or flight (Easyjet), B&B overnight and catch the direct bus to Kirkwall without further worry.

Gill's Bay - St. Margaret's Hope: This is a fairly new service and is excellent for people coming in their own transport. The crossing from Gill's Bay is about an hour and you then drive from St. Margaret's Hope to Kirkwall in about 40 minutes. It is operated by Pentland Ferries.

Step Two: From Orkney Mainland to Stronsay.

When travelling by ferry this is the sign to look for.

There are over 70 islands in Orkney and 20 are inhabited. Mainland Orkney is the hub to the other islands. The passage from Orkney Mainland to Stronsay is made either by air or by sea.

Logan Air
outside Terminal 1
Stronsay Heathrow

Air: There are usually two flights daily from Kirkwall airport to the Stronsay air strip. The service is operated by Logan Air (telephone: 01856 872494) and takes about 10 minutes.

By Sea:

The open mouth of the ferry loading vehicles for Stronsay.

Foot passengers waiting to board for Stronsay.

Sea: There are usually two services from Kirkwall to Stronsay daily. The ferry leaves from the Kirkwall pier. If it goes to Stronsay via the island of Eday it takes 2 hours; when it sails directly to Stronsay it takes 90 minutes. The service is operated by Orkney Ferries (Telephone 01856 872044); it is good to check the times of departure since they change with the different seasons of the year.

Step Three: From Stronsay to Papa Stronsay.

Ferry docked at the Stronsay pier.

The Stronsay pier weathervane.
Howsoever and whithersoever the wind blows
it points the way to Papa Stronsay.

By the Stronsay weathervane ...
we're on course;
and nearly half way home.

This is a short journey from Stronsay to Papa Stronsay;
it takes about 5 minutes in the monastery boat.

Papa Stronsay pier.
One of the Church's little harbours of salvation.

Below are lists of useful numbers of Carriers, Tourist Boards etc.

* All numbers listed are UK numbers [44]

RYANAIR 0870 3331250
EASYJET 0870 6000000
BRITISH AIRWAYS 08457 733377
ORKNEY FERRIES 01856 872044
ORKNEY BUS 01955 611353
LOGANAIR 01856 872494

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