The island of Papa Westray, known locally as Papay lies just off the east coast of its larger neighbour, Westray. We ducked the opportunity of taking the world's shortest flight across the sound and opted for the ferry from Pierowall. From the pier in the bay of Moclett we walked west round the bay and Vestness to tackle the west coast against a stiff north wind . Enormous flights of sea ducks greeted us. We didn't recognise the species until our bird book mentioned hybrids- ducks! The island looks very green and fertile and I'm sure that cattle will greatly outnumber the seventy inhabitants who operate as a community to keep island life going. A shop and visitors hostel are owned and run by the community. Half way along the west coast we came to Knap of Howar, northern Europe's earliest house dating from over 5000 years ago. It was thrilling to sit there and imagine the life of the early settlers cultivating the island for the first time.
Below the pier we find the shell of an ancient watermill, last used to mill oats and bere 100 years ago. The mill stones and the bones of the undershot wheel are still there.
The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder, published by Willow Moon. e-Book and paperback on all Amazon sites. Reviews at www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005BJ3GNI