Shapinsay | Colin Nutt

Island intro

Shapinsay is a low-lying, fertile island, characterised by its regimented square fields and straight roads.

Ask an Islander

We asked islander Christine Leslie to share her favourite things about the island with us, starting with Shapinsay’s hidden gems.

“I think the ‘hidden gem’ visitors often miss is the beautiful and dramatic cliffs in the east, that and Burroughston Broch, an incredible Iron Age broch located in the north end of the island. It’s free to enter and provides an excellent insight into Shapinsay’s history.”

Christine shares an insight into what life on Shapinsay is like. “Winters are pretty dramatic here, like the rest of Orkney, and there’s something very calming about watching the rollers from dry land. A great summer’s day activity is groatie buckie hunting! These rare shells can be difficult to spot, but that makes finding one even more special.” And for anyone who is wondering what a groatie buckie is – it’s a cowrie shell.”

“My favourite time of year on Shapinsay is spring,” she says. “The birds aren’t quite full-on nesting yet which means I can get around the cliffs, and wildflowers are starting to bloom everywhere.”

Getting Here

Orkney Ferries operates daily sailings between Shapinsay and Mainland Orkney.

Find out more about getting to Mainland Orkney.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Shapinsay 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.