Amazing Highlands and Islands of Scotland by:Devinder Patel
The Highlands and Islands of Scotland are the Scottish Highlands and added on are Orkney, Shetland and Hebrides. The Highlands and Islands are sometimes described as an area to which the Crofters' Act of 1886 applies. This area contained of the regions of 7 of the counties of Scotland. These are Shetland, Orkney, Caithness, Sutherland, Inverness shire, Argyll, Ross and Cromarty.
The Highlands and Islands Partnership for Transport, was established in 2006, covering major part of the council areas of Argyll and Bute, Orkney, Western Isles, Highland and the Moray. Shetland is administrated by the separate Shetland Partnership for Transport.
Auskerry is located in south of Stronsay and has a population of thousands. It has been assigned a Special Protection Area due to its significance as a residing area for Arctic Tern and Storm Petrel.
Eday area covers 11 square miles or 28 km and is the ninth largest island. The middle is moorland and the island's main industries have been peat carving and limestone digging. It is connected to the Mainland of England by ferry that travels from Backaland to Kirkwall and by air.
East of Rousay lays Egilsay which is mostly rural with farmlands and is the only intact, but without a roof, round towered church in Orkney. It gets in touch indirectly with the Mainland by ferry and you have to go via Wyre and Rousay. It is believed that St Magnus was executed on Egilsay.
Only one family inhabits Gairsay, who have issued their own postage stamps, it was permitted because of lack of a Royal Mail service. North Ronaldsay is located 2.5 miles or 4 km north from its closest neighbor, which is Sanday. Its weather is changes quite frequently and harshly, with the surrounding sea waters are very stormy and unbelievable. Anything that is of significance are a bird sanctuary, Britain's highest land based lighthouse tower and an unique dry stone wall that is built along the shoreline to keep away the seaweed from eating North Ronaldsay sheep off of the fertile land. It is also in touch with the Mainland by air and ferry.
Papa Stronsay is located in northern east of Stronsay and a fertile island, it was once an important centre for curing the herring fish, but was left all alone in the 1970s. It is a home to a Transalpine Redemptorist monastery, which is called Golgotha monastery since 1999.
Papa Westray also called Papay, whose only significance is a RSPB nature reserve that consists of terns and skuas. Knap of Howar, which is most probably the oldest kept intact house of northern Europe, a 12th century recently refurbished church at St Boniface Kirk and other Viking and Neolithic remains. It is also connected to Westray and the Mainland of England by air and ferry.
Rousay is the joint 3rd largest in area of 19 sq mi or 49 Km Island that is about two miles or 3 km north of Orkneys Mainland. Farming, fishing, fish-farming, craft and tourism makes most of the revenue. There is one round road on the island, which is about 14 miles or 23 km long and most fertile land is present only in the few hundred yards between this point and the seashore. Otters and seals can be found in abundance as these are the many remains of past occupation.
Sanday is the largest among the North Isles and like most of the Orkney Islands fishing, farming and tourism are the main fountain of revenue. Other attractions here include the 5,000 year old Quoyness grave. Shapinsay is the 8th largest island in area at 12 square miles or 31 km. It is in touch with the Mainland by ferry that goes from Balfour to Kirkwall. Shapinsay is known for an ancient Iron Age Broch of Burroughston and the Dishan Tower, sea canyons and cliffs. It is also famous for bird watching including pintail, widgeon, shovelers and the Balfour Castle. Stronsay is the 7th largest island and Whitehall is the main village. Westray is the 6th largest island and it is joined by ferry and air if you have to go to Mainland and Papa Westray. Wyre is located in south east of Rousay with Cubbie Roo's castle which was built in 1150 and is believed to be the oldest castle in Scotland.
About the author
Dev Patel recommends highly a tour of the Scottish Highlands.