Wyre | Colin Nutt

Island intro

From legendary castles and ancient settlements to grey seals and Arctic terns, it’s worth taking your time to explore Wyre – a low-lying, fertile Orkney isle.

Ask an Islander

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

Known for both its common and grey seals, the low-lying island of Wyre is rich in wildlife with its birdlife including several types of divers and ducks.

Wyre has two ancient monuments: Cubbie Roo’s Castle, one of the oldest stone castles in Scotland; and the roofless remains of St Mary’s Chapel – a rare surviving example of a medieval church.

The castle takes its name from the giant of Orkney folklore, Cubbie Roo, linking this character to the actual castle builder, the Norse chieftain Kolbein Hrúga. The Castle itself is mentioned in the Orkneyinga Saga. Built circa 1145, it’s believed to be where the murderers of the last Norse Earl of Orkney, Earl John, fled in 1231.

St Mary’s Chapel is also worth taking the time to explore, located below Cubbie Roo’s Castle, the chapel is a good example of Romanesque architecture.

Famous Orcadian poet, novelist and translator Edwin Muir was born in Deerness but lived as a child at The Bu in Wyre.

For those who want to get immersed in the island’s archaeology, head to the Braes of Ha’Breck, a Neolithic settlement at the western end of Wyre. This settlement had many houses and a domestic stone quarry dating back to 3300–3000BC.

Finally, round off the day with a trip to the Taing, a good place to see common and grey seals. Or you could head to the nearby loch where eiders and Arctic terns can be seen throughout the summer, and great northern divers and long-tailed ducks in the winter.

Getting Here

Orkney Ferries runs regular sailings between Wyre and Tingwall on Mainland Orkney. Some ferries run via Rousay and Egilsay.

Buses connect Tingwall with Kirkwall and Stromness.   Click to find out more about getting to Mainland Orkney.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Wyre 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.