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Brough Of Birsay, Birsay

4.8
#2 of 12 in Parks in Orkney Islands
Island Historic Walking Area
The Brough of Birsay is an uninhabited tidal island off the north-west coast of The Mainland of Orkney, Scotland, in the parish of Birsay. It is located around 13 miles north of Stromness and features the remains of Pictish and Norse settlements as well as a modern light house.Geography and geologyThe island is accessible on foot at low tide via a largely natural causeway. It is separated from the mainland by a 240m stretch of water at high tide: the Sound of Birsay.The Norse settlement has been partly removed by coastal erosion, and the cliffs are reinforced by concrete rip-rap to prevent further damage.EtymologyThe Old Norse name for the island was "Byrgisey" which means fort island, and gives the parish its name. Brough, indeed, means fort (for etymology, see broch).
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182 reviews
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  • Visited for the second time and again we were lucky enough to see puffins on the cliffs. Plenty time between tides to walk round the island and see rock formations.  more »
  • I spent a whole afternoon here and got wet feet on the way back as the tide was returning. The cliffs are spectacular and the views are the same. Just to sit and "be" in these surroundings is a real t...  more »
  • Lovely walk, great views. Be sure to check tide times before you go as you can get cut off on the island between 2 or 3 hours either side of high water.  more »

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