Thursday, June 17, 2010

Papa Stour

Had to go to Papa Stour today so after completing the alloted tasks and having a few hours until the ferry returned i had a look round the island. Although i used to go to Papa Stour with work 3 or 4 times a year its over 10 years since i was last there. Todays day trip ferry crossing was on the relatively newly installed (2005) Ro-ro ferry link and coincided with a trip by around 40 or so 2010 Hamefarers also going to Papa Stour for the day. The Ro-ro ferry is only used during the summer - its currently the 'Thora' which used to do the Fetlar run - but its slower than the 'Snolda' (the main Papa Stour boat) and it cannot do much if the weathers bad, hence the need for the 'Snolda'. Both the Papa Stour ferries currently operate from the West Burrafirth Pier. Having said that, the 'Snolda' can only take 12 passengers whereas the 'Thora' can take around 100, and a few vehicles.

'Snolda' and 'Thora' at the West Burrafirth Pier.

Papa Stour ferry Piers. Old pier left, new Ro-ro right. Green building far left is a new ferry waiting room, complete with tea & coffee making facilities - which were much appreciated. Apparently there are now only 12 permanent residents on the island.
Papa Stour Interpretive Board at the ferry waiting room.
West Voe, with Ollamoor Loch far left.
A partial reconstruction of a 'Stofa' was completed on the island in 2008. 'Stofa' is Norse for royal farm, and the one discovered during excavations on Papa Stour is apparently the only one known outside of Norway. The building is a 'log cabin' with an outer protective dry stone wall. The Stofa belonged to Duke Hakkon Hakonssen and was part of his farm at 'Da Biggins'.

'Da Biggins' interpretive board.
Further along the road is the Papa Stour Kirk and Interpretive centre.
Inside the Kirk.
The stained glass window behind the altar.
This small tapestry was also hanging on the wall of the kirk. The Kirk has no electricity - lighting is provided by gas lamps.
No trip to Papa Stour would be complete without a look at the 'Principality of Forvik' (Forewick Holm as it is on the map). Here's some picures of it (complete with mini Nissen Hut and flag) from Forewick Ness. 
Looking west from East Biggins at the beach 'Kirk Sand'. Foula, partially covered in fog, is in the distance on the left.
Boat noosts around Hamna Voe, near the airstrip. Once a vibrant haaf-fishing area.
The Papa Stour School (currently closed as there are no children to teach), with Forvik in the background.
I also noticed at least 18 'Large White' butterflies around the island and  20+ Shetland Bumblebees, plus at least 4 pairs of Blackbirds breeding on the island.
These 'standing stones' were alongside the road at 'Holti Ward'. They appeared to have recently been placed there and as the roadside ditches had been recently dug out they probably came out of the ditches.
The 'Thora' coming into Papa Stour to take us off the island.

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