Papa Westray … Where oceans meet
Travellers to Papa Westray come from the five continents for an experience which lasts only a couple of minutes. They want to fly on the shortest scheduled air flight in the world between Westray and Papa Westray – a distance shorter than the main runway at Heathrow which has been completed in less than a minute and is featured in the Guinness Book of Records.
Papa Westray, or Papay as it is known through the North Isles, is home to the oldest house in northern Europe at the Knap of Howar. Farmers, incredibly, were busy here before the pyramids were built in Egypt.
In the Dark Ages the island took on great religious significance and St Boniface kirk, one of the oldest Christian sites in the north of Scotland, was a pilgrimage site and missionary out station. Now lovingly restored it is once again attracting visitors. Papay is famous for its birds and the North Hill is a top-rated nature reserve. Airborne visitors who land on Westray en route for Papay will experience the shortest scheduled flight in the world – don’t blink or you’ll miss it (under 2 minutes).
While on the island you must visit the farm of Holland and its amazing complex of agricultural buildings adjacent to Holland House which was the seat of the Traill lairds of Papay for three centuries. The farm includes a splendid mill tramp where horses provided the pulling power.
One of the farm workers’ bothies has been converted into a compact museum displaying a fascinating range of artifacts from the island’s history including the parish handcuffs!