The Scottish Island You Should Never Visit Alone


The name of the island that rises ghostly out of the mists of the Scottish North Sea comes from the Old Norse, which means "the sacred isle". But for the few people who live on the rugged Orkney Islands and can see the silhouette of the tiny islet from afar, Eynhallow is more a place of horror than a place of prayer.

According to the old legends retold on the website of the Orkney Heritage Society, the legendary Finfolk used to live here - demonic sea people who can change their shape and make themselves invisible. They are said to have abducted the men and women of Orkney at night in order to marry them off. According to legend, the people were held captive in the realm of Finfolk for the rest of their lives and treated like slaves.


No wonder that even today there is only a boat once a year to bring curious visitors to the island, which has been uninhabited since a mysterious epidemic in 1851. For although the saga goes that a brave Scottish farmer liberated the island from the sinister sea creatures in revenge for the abduction of his wife, unexplained incidents continue to occur. For example, on 14 July 1990, two visitors were seen boarding during the annual crossing to Eynhallow but were reported missing on their way back from the island.

The case was never solved. The realists among the passengers on the excursion at that time explained the incident simply by the fact that the count had been wrong when boarding. Others rumoured that the Finfolk were behind it. This myth, however, does not deter the curious from continuing to travel to Eynhallow.


The organisation that makes this possible is the Orkney Heritage Society. Every year, it offers a trip to the island for the curious on a day in July. While private explorations are not prohibited, they are strongly discouraged: anyone who has not been familiar with the stormy waters surrounding the island since childhood is taking a great risk when travelling by sea in a rented boat - there is a danger to life.

Archaeologist Dan Lee from the University of the Highlands and Islands is one of the guides of these tours. He told the BBC in an interview that Orkney residents believe that Eynhallow still exists between the two worlds: an invisible sphere of sea people and our visible world. Accordingly, many Orkney residents still believe in the existence of the Finfolk.


For example, a church from the 12th century, about which, strangely enough, there are no mentions in the historical chronicles of Orkney.

In addition, the island is a haven for rare birds, as Eynhallow's forbidding legends and isolation due to the harsh weather make it a good refuge for wildlife. For example, Eynhallow is home to one of the largest petrel colonies in the British Isles.