Nestled amidst the Orkney archipelago in Scotland, Papa Westray, or ‘Papay’ as it’s affectionately called by locals, is a haven for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Its rugged landscapes, ancient ruins, and abundant wildlife make it a perfect destination for an outdoorsy holiday. To make the most of your experience on this remote island, here’s a guide to what you need for an unforgettable adventure.

Sturdy Footwear and Weather-Appropriate Clothing

The terrain in Papa Westray can be uneven, ranging from sandy beaches to rocky cliffs. Therefore, sturdy, waterproof women’s and men’s mountaineering boots are essential for exploring comfortably and remaining safe during your adventures. Given the unpredictable Scottish weather, make sure to pack layers, too. Waterproof jackets, warm sweaters, and quick-drying trousers are indispensable. Don’t forget a hat and gloves for chilly evenings, particularly if you’re going during autumn or winter.

Camping Equipment

For a truly immersive experience, consider camping under the vast Scottish sky. A lightweight, waterproof tent, a warm sleeping bag, and a comfortable sleeping mat are essential. Portable cooking equipment, like a camping stove and lightweight cookware, allows you to prepare hot meals amidst nature.

Exploration Gear

Binoculars are a must for birdwatching, a popular activity on the island, and for enjoying seeing wildlife in the moment, but don’t forget about bringing back physical reminders of how special it was seeing these birds and wildlife by snapping them with a camera. A reliable camera ensures that you can capture breathtaking landscapes and wildlife encounters. Additionally, consider packing a compass and a detailed map for your hikes, especially if you plan to venture off the beaten path.


While Papa Westray has a local shop, it’s advisable to bring essential provisions with you, especially if you have specific dietary requirements. Pack non-perishable items, such as energy bars, dried fruit, and nuts. Don’t forget a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated during your explorations.

Insect Repellent and Sun Protection

In the summer months, midges (tiny flying insects) can be quite active. Pack insect repellent to ward off these critters. Additionally, bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun, as the weather can be surprisingly sunny on clear days.

Local Guides and Maps

Papa Westray has a wealth of historical and natural wonders. Engage local guides who can provide insights into the island’s rich heritage and guide you to hidden gems. Detailed maps both of the island and specific trails are invaluable for navigating the diverse landscapes.

Open Mind and Adventurous Spirit

Most importantly, bring an open mind and an adventurous spirit. Embrace the serenity of Papa Westray, revel in its raw beauty, and be prepared to be awe-inspired by its natural wonders. The island has a way of captivating the hearts of those who seek solace in the embrace of nature.

In essence, an outdoorsy holiday in Papa Westray demands preparation and a willingness to be enchanted by the island’s untouched allure. With the right gear, a spirit of adventure, and a deep appreciation for the natural world, your time on this remote Scottish gem is bound to be an experience etched into your memory forever.

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