The island of Wyre Lies close to Rousay at the eastern end of the Eynhallow Sound. The island is fairly small, being roughly 3.5 kilometres by 1.5 kilometres, and is largely farmland. It does however, possess one superb historical site that is well worth visiting.

The Sagas record that in the mid 12th century, a famous Norwegian named Kolbein Hruga lived on Wyre, and that he built a stone castle as a stronghold for his family. This is Cubbie Roo's castle, Cubbie Roo being a corruption of Kolbein Hruga. The castle withstood at least one siege when the assassins of Earl Haraldson took refuge there in 1231 to avoid the revenge of the Earl's friends and allies.
The original building was a simple stone tower roughly 8 metres square with walls 1.7m thick surrounded by a rock-cut ditch 2 metres deep. A strong stone wall 2 metres thick was built on the inner side of the ditch, and inside of the wall, a second shallow ditch was excavated to leave a central platform for the tower. The buildings surrounding the tower were added at a later date.

Aerial view of Cubbie Roo's Castle
(C) Richard Welsby

The castle stands close to St Mary's Chapel, a 12th century church thought likely to have been founded by Kolbein Hruga or his son.

Photograph courtesy of Richard Welsby

Copyright Orknet 1996