Graemsay | Colin Nutt

Island intro

Known locally as ‘The Green Isle’, Graemsay is an ideal place for walking and has a coast perfect for beachcombers, with two landmark lighthouses to discover.

Ask an Islander

We asked locals on Graemsay to tell us why their island is special. Here’s what they said:

Audrey from Graemsay Community Association told us, “Sandside Beach is lovely and often you can see seals bobbing around. Our other nice beach is the other side of the old pier to Sandside, and is what we call the Coral Beach, which is not sand but marl, so looks very white and is good for Groatie Buckie searching.”

Sitting at the entrance to Scapa Flow, there are six miles of coastline to cover, and it’s possible to walk around the entire island in less than half a day, giving you ample time to stop and enjoy the stunning seascapes, admire the abundant wildflowers and watch the wildlife.

Scour the rocky coastline and you may still find pottery from the 150-year-old shipwreck, Albion, which was shipwrecked off the Point of Oxan on New Year’s Day in 1866, as well as other faded pieces of pottery and colourful sea glass.

Or head to the Second World War gun battery for great views. This peaceful island is an ideal location to see wildlife. Seals, terns, oystercatchers, ringed plovers, redshanks, curlews, lapwings, fulmars and skuas can all be found here.

The Hoy High and Hoy Low Lighthouses were completed in 1851 to guide the way through Hoy Sound. Built to line up with one another, the Hoy High Lighthouse is 108 feet tall, with Hoy Low standing at just 39 feet. These structures were designed by Alan Stevenson from the famous Stevenson family, who constructed lighthouses across Scotland. Located near the Hoy Low Lighthouse is the remains of a WWII gun battery. With no roof, it is slightly more unusual than others found across Britain.

With so few people on the island and very little traffic, you won’t find the usual visitor attractions and facilities. As a result, the natural environment has thrived, making this island a real gem to explore.

Getting Here

Orkney Ferries operates daily foot passenger sailings between Graemsay and Stromness on Mainland Orkney.

Find out more about getting to Mainland Orkney.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Graemsay 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.