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Stronsay

A fertile low-lying island in the Orkney Island group, Stronsay's rich pastures, heather moorland, lochs and wetlands are home to a wide variety of rare plants and birds. The island has many fine sandy beaches and on the east coast there are several dramatic rock stacks including the Malme, Tam's Castle, Burgh Head and the Vat of Kirbister which boasts the finest natural arch in the Orkney Islands. Rising to a height of 46m (154 feet) at Burgh Hill, the island has an area of 3275 ha (8,093 acres). Whitehall, which is the main settlement and ferry port, takes its name from a house built in the 1670s by the pirate Patrick Fea. Protected from the open sea by Papa Stronsay, it was for two centuries one of the most active fishing ports in the northern Orkney Islands. The island's population declined from 1234 in 1881 to 497 in 1961. This decline has continued; 436 (1971), 420 (1981), 382 (1991), 343 (2001) and 349 (2011), with most of the islanders now engaging in farming, fishing and fish processing. The island is linked by air with Kirkwall, Sanday and Westray and there is a daily car ferry service from Kirkwall to Whitehall.


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