Eday takes its name from the Old Norse Eid-ey or isthmus island. It is roughly
central to the North Isles, and has a very different terrain being largely
covered by peat deposits.
The island is probably best know for the capture of the 18th century pirate
John Gow. Gow, who was a Caithness man, was second mate of a vessel called
the 'George'. In 1724, while standing off the Barbary coast, the crew mutinied
and the captain of the vessel was killed. Gow took command, renamed the
ship the 'Revenge', and set out on a somewhat unsuccessful career of piracy.
After intercepting several cargo ships and finding no riches, Gow sailed
to Orkney and anchored off Stromness where he tried, again unsuccessfully,
to rob Cairston House. After this, Gow fled round the coast to the North
Isles where the 'Revenge' got caught in a tidal race and went aground on
the Calf of Eday. James Fea and his men captured Gow who was finally hanged
in London along with seven of his crew, in 1729.
The Seatter Stone is a fine example of a prehistoric monlith, and stands over 15 feet high.
Seen from certain angles, it resembles a hand in appearance.
The Stone of Seatter
(C) Richard Welsby
The sandstone cliffs of Red Head at the northernmost tip of the island offer fine views of the North Isles and Fair Isle, and are
home to colonies of guillemots, razorbills, and puffins, as well as gulls, fulmar, and kittiwakes.
Photograph courtesy of Richard Welsby
Take the Eday Heritage
Walk and enjoy a guided tour of this tranquil island
Copyright Orknet 1996