Papay, or Papa Westray to give it its full title, is a smaller island to the north of Westray. It is an island I love, so of course we had to go on there for a couple of days to recover from the teaching! Once more travel between islands was by plane, this time on the shortest scheduled flight in the world – 2 minutes in the air!
One of the main attractions of Papay is Margit’s yarn shop! It is really part of the Post Office, but it is where she keeps her yarn and yarn for sale. Margit herself knits socks for sale, and there is a map showing all the countries where her socks have gone to.
It is the kind of space which invites you to delve into the boxes!! There are all sorts of yarns in loads of different colours: solid sock yarn, short repeat colour changes, long repeat colour changes, subtle yarns, bright yarns – you name it, it is there!!
I save up my pocket money all year for my trip to Papay! This year there were new Manos yarns as well as my old favourite, the Manos lace weight. I was buying for samples for the book on Orkney knitwear, and as ever, seeing so many lovely yarns got my creative juices going!!
Monday’s trip to the shop was for looking. Tuesday’s trip was for buying. Between the two I had written a list of what I wanted – I find that if I don’t do this I forget things! The Orkney book is going to have three rough colour stories, one of which is bright primary colours, so I HAD to have some bright yarns. There were also some gorgeous pink/green/purple sock yarns I HAD to have for ME!!
We also got to see a bit of the island. We were staying at Beltane House, a self catering set of rooms and a hostel in a row of old houses. They were built for the ‘farm servants’ a couple of Centuries ago, and they have been beautifully converted. The end one is the island shop – incredibly well stocked for the size of the island.
The other place we walked to was the old pier. This is a place I love – very peaceful and evocative. It used to be where the steamer came in from Westray. Now it is used by fishing boats and pleasure craft. The view over to the Holm, where the Neolithic inhabitants of Papay buried their dead, is a soothing one.