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