Egilsay | Eithne Nutt

Island intro

The roofless remains of St Magnus Kirk dominate the small island of Egilsay, which is also home to an RSPB reserve with a mosaic of wildflower meadows, grassland fields and wetlands. With 50 per cent of Egilsay given over to the RSPB reserve and nature area, it is unsurprising that this island is teeming with wildlife – from snipe and corncrake to the glorious wildflower meadows. But it also has a bloody history, marked by the St Magnus Way and the Martyr’s Memorial. Explore the island on foot or by bike to immerse yourself in its rich history and nature.

Ask an Islander

Why visit Egilsay? We spoke to locals there to ask what makes their island special. Here’s what they had to say:

St Magnus Kirk was built in honour of St Magnus in the second half of the 12th century. The church is made up of a rectangular nave and a square chancel with a round tower on the western end. The St Magnus Way starts on Egilsay and goes along this pilgrim walk to Kirkwall on Orkney’s Mainland. The island of Egilsay marks the place where Magnus was martyred and the route takes in three key historical sites – the Magnus Memorial, beach and St Magnus Kirk.

Egilsay Community Centre is a lovely place to relax and make yourself a free tea or coffee (donations welcome) and find out more about the island.

Make sure to check out the east coast beach. As well as beautiful white sands, you can often spot seals and otters. Similarly, the Loch of Graand, part of the RSPB reserve, is a great place for some wildlife spotting.

Getting Here

Orkney Ferries  operates a regular service between Tingwall on Mainland Orkney and Egilsay. Services run via Rousay and Wyre.

Find out more  about getting to Mainland Orkney.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Egilsay and explore more of our amazing islands?

Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to:

  • discover your perfect island match,
  • find out about the experiences each island has to offer,
  • collect passport stamps for the islands you visit,
  • find information on accommodation, travel and island amenities.

Get Your Passport

You can find lots more information about things to see and do on the island, see some amazing island photography and collect your island stamp by downloading our app.

Download the app

App in phone

Download the Scottish Island Passport app to collect your island stamps! The app also provides lots more information on each island including recommendations from locals about things to see and do, info on how to get around, more stunning photos and useful offline maps.

  • Unlock Stamps - Collect them all! Stamp your passport when you visit each island - with an individual stamp designed to represent a unique aspect of island heritage.
  • Experiences - Discover the best experiences each island has to offer – from local boat trips to exciting traditional festivals, there is something for everyone.
  • Maps - Navigate the islands with useful offline maps, handy for areas where internet connectivity is weak.
  • Travel Jounals - Create an in-location travel journal with pictures from your island adventures, to look back on your trip.
  • Favourites - keep track of your most loved islands with the favourites feature. Available to access from your account on both the app and web.