Stronsay is one of the Orkney Islands, with a population in 2011 of 349. It's low-lying, indented by three large bays, with its main settlement at Whitehall.
Orkney Ferries sail from Kirkwall two or three times daily May-Sept and carry cars. Most ferries M-F are direct (1 hr 40 min) and continue to Eday; Sa Su they may call at Eday first. A day-trip from Mainland gives you up to nine hours on Stronsay. Oct-April has two sailings M-Sa and one on Sunday.
1 Whitehall - the main settlement - has the ferry pier.
Loganair fly daily on a triangular route from Kirkwall. There are two M-F, with the morning flight direct, 10 min, continuing to Sanday then back to Kirkwall, while the afternoon flight is Kirkwall > Sanday > Stronsay > Kirkwall. So a day-trip from Orkney Mainland is possible mid-week, giving you six hours on the island. Saturday and Sunday have just a single afternoon flight. The five minute hop from Sanday is a strong candidate for the title of "world's second-shortest scheduled flight", with the shortest at two minutes between Westray and Papa Westray.
2 Stronsay Airport (SOY IATA) is at the north end of the island, two miles from Whitehall, down a narrow farm lane.
Ebenezer Stores at Whitehall has bike hire.
Pomona Prefect is a boat available for hire.
- 1 Papa Stronsay is the small low island just north of Whitehall, with its long sandy spit reaching to within 200 yards. "Papa" means Holy Fathers, referring to early medieval monks, and there's a ruined 11th century chapel which may stand over a much earlier foundation. The island is fertile, but was unoccupied and just used for grazing from 1970. In 1999 it was acquired by the monks of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, who built the Golgotha Monastery. There's no public ferry and access to the island is controlled by the monks.
- Mill Bay is the deep indentation on the east coast, so the road follows the isthmus with St Catherine's Bay indenting from the west - this is more exposed but has the better beach, and views to the islet of Linga Holm.
- 2 Bay of Holland is the indentation south that with St Catherine's Bay almosts cuts off Rothiesholm as an island. There's a broad sandy beach.
- 3 Vat of Kirbister is a splendid natural arch formed by the collapse of a sea cave. Follow the narrow but well-paved lane to the parking area then the footpath. This reaches the coast at the inlet of Bluther's Geo and the sea-stack The Malme which has remains of an ancient hermitage. The path continues south to the Vat: don't walk on the arch, there's no saying how long it will last. It's also referred to as "The Gloup" for the boom of the oncoming sea driving through the arch. A little further south is Tam's Castle, another sea stack that had a hermitage, then the remains of an Iron Age ringfort on a promontory. You can retrace your steps or continue along the path for a 6.5 mile circuit via Burgh Head, The Brough and Lamb Head.
- 4 Lamb Head can also be reached by staying on the lane south. There's remains of an old broch; seals often haul out on this coast.
- 5 Auskerry seen to the south is an island farm with a flock of the rare North Ronaldsay sheep.
- Wildlife: bird life and seals are the main features, but always keep looking (including on the ferry), you never know what might come into view. There has been no re-appearance of "The Stronsay Beast", the world's only specimen of which washed up in 1808, so your sharp observations might solve a 200-year old mystery.
- Night skies: Stronsay is free of light pollution so expect starry skies and maybe the aurora borealis on any clear night Sept-April. In summer it's a lost cause as the sky never gets properly dark.
Ebenezer's is the island store, open M-Sa 07:30-19:30, Su 10:00-13:00.
The Royal Bank of Scotland is closed as of May 2023, but reportedly will be opening again soon. When open, its hours are Tu 09:30-14:30. There's no ATM.
Eat & Drink
Fish Mart has a cafe. When open, the Stronsay Hotel has a pub.
- Stronsay Fish Mart at Whitehall has been converted into a four-room hostel open all year, £25-30 ppn.
- Storehouse is a B&B in Whitehall, cash only, tel ☏ +44 1857 616263.
- Stronsay Hotel in Whitehall remains closed for renovations as of May 2023, tel ☏ +44 1857 616213.
- Camping: As of May 2023, there are no camping grounds open.
As of May 2023, there is 4G signal on EE. Other providers are likely to not get any signal at all.
The Fish Mart cafe has Wi-Fi.
- Sanday can be reached by air and Eday by ferry without backtracking via Orkney Mainland.
- Kirkwall on the Mainland is where all air and ferry routes eventually return.