The green and fertile island of Shapinsay lies a pleasant 25-minute crossing by ferry from Kirkwall. Shapinsay is low-lying with its highest point being Ward Hill at 64 metres from where on a clear day a breathtaking view of almost all the other Orkney isles is possible. The island is six miles 10 km at its longest and in common with most of Orkney the island is made up of Middle Old Red Sandstone.
The main settlement is Balfour village, built in the late 18th century as a home for smiths, carpenters and masons employed on the Balfour estate. Balfour Castle is open to visitors in the summer. Shapinsay is also known for the Iron Age Broch of Burroughston and the Dishan Tower, built in the 17th century as a dovecote, then after the construction of the castle, it was converted into a saltwater shower building. The former smithy now houses the island's museum. Another interesting feature of the island are its storm beaches or as they are known locally 'ayres' . The best beach is sandy Sandgarth Bay in the south-east. Shapinsay is also known for its sea caves and cliffs of its coast, and for birds including pintail, wigeon and shovelers.
Things to See and Do
* Balfour Castle
* The Douche
* Balfour Village
* The Smithy – heritage and craft centre
* The Gatehouse
Cruise Season – March - Nov
Currency – Pound Sterling (£)
Language – English
Land Area – 31 sq km’s
Population – 300
Electricity – 2 vertical square pins and one perpendicular below British style
Time – GMT plus zero hours
International Country Telephone Code – + 44
Port Location – Ferries dock in the heart of Shapinsay’s main village of Balfour.
Transport Links – A ferry service to and from Kirkwall is available and takes approximately 25 minutes.