Holm of Papa

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Holm of Papa


Holm of Papay.jpg
Holm of Papa, viewed across South Wick, from Papa Westray
Location: 59°21’2"N, 2°52’7"W
Grid reference: HY507519
Area: 52 acres
Highest point: 49 feet
Population: Uninhabited

The Holm of Papa (or Holm of Papay, Holm of Papa Westray and known locally as the Papay Holm,[1][2][3]) is a very small uninhabited island of Orkney, of around 52 acres. It can be visited from its neighbouring island Papa Westray, or Papay, an island less than a hundred yards west of the Holm.

The main sight on the small island is the Southcairn, a 20 yard long chambered cairn dating from approx. 3000 BC on whose stones one can find ancient carvings.[4] The long, stalled cairn, built of local stone, was once a communal burial place for the bones of an ancient community. It is protected by a modern roof and entered by a trapdoor from above. It is possible that the inhabitants of the Knap of Howar buried their dead here. There are three ancient chambered cairns on the holm. Visitors can arrange privately for small boat access through the Co-op shop on Papa Westray. The cairn is readily visible from the larger island.

"Eyebrow motif" carvings found in the southernmost chambered cairn bear a resemblance to the "eyes" of the Orkney Venus found at Links of Noltland on Westray.[3]


  1. [1] papawestray.co.uk.
  2. [2] themodernantiquarian.com.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Eyebrows link Westray figurine with burial chamber" Orkneyjar
  4. "Holm of Papay". Papay Development Trust. http://www.papawestray.co.uk/papay/pw_official7.html. Retrieved 2008-10-05. 
Islands of Orkney

Inhabited islands:
Mainland  •
Auskerry  • Burray  • Eday  • Egilsay  • Flotta  • Gairsay  • Graemsay  • Hoy  • North Ronaldsay  • Papa Stronsay  • Papa Westray  • Rousay  • Sanday  • Shapinsay  • South Ronaldsay  • South Walls  • Stronsay  • Westray  • Wyre

Other islands:
Eynhallow  •
Helliar Holm  • Lamb Holm  • Switha  • Swona