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Brough Of Birsay, Birsay

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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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  • We have moved to Orkney now, and took my sister and her husband to the Brough of Birsay in May 2016, as my sister particularly wanted to see puffins and that is a good time to see them. Well we all sa...  more »
  • I love this place. Needing to wait for low tide adds to its magic. The shoreline is packed with rock pools, seaweed and plenty of interesting seabirds. Fulmars we're filling the cliffs in early April ...  more »
  • You can check the time of low tide at nearby caf├ęs like the Birsay Bay tea room before embarking on a fun and quick walk with the sea on both sides (but quite safe) towards the islet where you can see...  more »