Fishing and Watersports - explore Rousay by sea

Fishing was a thriving industry on Rousay in the past, but this has unfortunately experienced a sharp decline in recent years. But a number of locals still enjoy the taste of Rousay, with their own catch of trout, crab (partan), and more, while small boats and yachts are a common sight.

Rousay Regatta & Watersports

Every summer, Rousay hosts its own Regatta and Watersports.

Sailors from out with Rousay arrive with their yachts, to take part in the sailing challenge, held at midday.

Watersports and fun games and activities - for both children and adults alike - continue throughout the afternoon, and on into the evening.

The afternoon entertainment includes the annual Raft Race, a competitive race between local teams and their manmade rafts.


Lochs - the Irish/Scottish-Gaelic term for lakes - are common throughout Scotland, and Rousay is no different with a total of 11 lochs located on the island, forming part of the picturesque and peaceful landscape, and acting as a beautiful and quiet breeding ground for birds like the Red-throated Diver.

Five of Rousay's lochs are small and diminutive - namely, they are: Loch of Jan Janet; Loch of Moan; Loch of Quoys; Loch of Wasday; Loch of Withamo. The remaining six fresh-water lochs are covered in more detail below.

Muckle Water, Peerie Water & The 'Nuggle'

Rousay's largest loch, Muckle Water, set in a picturesque location, has unique nutrient levels - brilliant for rare plant species, and making it the only loch of its kind in the Orkney Islands.

Mysteriously, the Muckle Water is said to be haunted by a 'Nuggle' - a creature in Orkney folklore which often takes the shape of a Waterhorse. This magical creature would wait patiently by the side of the loch, until someone tried climbing upon its back, when it would immediately go underwater, thus carrying the unfortunate rider to his death by drowning. Finman were said to be the only ones capable of riding Nuggles whilst evading death.

The Muckle Water is also known for its trout, as is its smaller neighbour, Peerie Water.

Loch of Wasbister

The Loch of Wasbister is also known for its generous hovers of trout.

Why not take a gentle trip via canoe or kayak to Burrian, a very small, ancient island ('crannog') within the Loch? A marvellous place on a warm, sunny evening, with birds such as the Mute Swan gliding peacefully alongside you.

The Lochs of Knitchen, Loomachun & Scockness

Tackle the hills with walks up to Loch of Knitchen or Loch of Loomachun, where breeding birds can be seen. And experience the magic with a visit to Loch of Scockness - a journey that the nearby giant stone, Yetnasteen is said to take each New Year!


Hunting for spoots (the local name for razor clams - long, thin shellfish), is an Orcadian tradition, occuring in the early months of the year. Although a rarer sight now - both on Rousay and around the rest of the Orkney Islands - the technique of catching spoots involves walking backwards at low tide when the spoot beds have been uncovered by a full moon, quickly catching the spoots with a knife as they react to the footsteps overhead. It is a fascinating process, unique to the Orkney Islands, and involving skill and quick-thinking.