Lying between Orkney Mainland and the large outer island of Rousay (acclaimed for its wealth of Neolithic tombs, cairns and Iron Age brochs) is the uninhabited island of Eynhallow. It’s 75-hectare size puts it in that range of Orkney islands which are considered too small to be worth inhabiting in the 21st Century, but large enough to be worth a visit if you can get there. Eynhallow was abandoned by its last human population in 1851, although a flock of sheep is landed each year to graze and the island supports a large colony of breeding and roosting seabirds, so it is closely monitored by the RSPB. An abandoned Middle Ages monastery adds archaeological interest.
Each July the Orkney Heritage Society organises a special evening trip to Eynhallow using the services of the Tingwall-Rousay ferry which is capable of making a beach landing in the D-Day style. Tickets for the trip sell out online within hours, such is the demand, and it has been our long-held ambition to attend the trip. This year (2018) I was successful so expectations were high. The trip is guided by Orkney Rangers, RSPB wardens and leading local archaeologists. We were informed that the landing party divides into two groups and proceeds around the island perimeter path clockwise and counter-clockwise respectively.