North Ronaldsay - Perfect for birdwatchers, artists, writers and anyone looking for a peaceful holiday

Situated further North than the Southern tip of Norway, North Ronaldsay is the most remote of all the Orkney Islands, making it an ideal island for adventurers! Life is very different from other islands, time appears to slow down and old traditions prevail. One of the most distinguishing features of North Ronaldsay is the custom of communal sheep grazing on the foreshore. The ancient rare breed of native sheep are kept from the farmland on the island by means of a stone dyke which was completed in the 19th century.

The dyke extends some 13 miles around the perimeter of the island and was recently included as a grade "A" listed building giving it the same historical significance and level of protection as Edinburgh Castle! The sheep forage on the plentiful seaweed, which lends the flesh of North Ronaldsay sheep a particularly distinctive flavour. North Ronaldsay lamb is now regarded as a delicacy and is served in some of Britain's top restaurants including the Langham Hilton in London's Regent Street.

North Ronaldsay also has an extremely rich and diverse population of wild flowers, mammals and birds.

Bird nesting

north ronaldsay and orkney map The island is an ornithologists paradise. From late March to early June and mid August to early November large concentrations of migrant birds visit the island. North Ronaldsay is one of the first and last stop offs for migratory birds and several national rarities are recorded each year. In summer the air is alive with the calls of breeding birds.

The beaches of North Ronaldsay are particularly dramatic - the rock formations found there are a source of inspiration for artists - and at times you may feel like David Attenborough in a natural history film! Common and Grey seals can be seen in large numbers along the beaches of North Ronaldsay - and since culling was banned, have become relatively tame.


Living on an island is an adventure in itself - there are two shops on North Ronaldsay and a cafe at the lighthouse.

The North Ronaldsay Bird Observatory offers both pub facilities and evening meals which can be booked in advance. For events and to find out what's on, please check with either of the local shops or at the airfield terminal building.