The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme


The small island of Cava is only 107 hectares and is 38 metres (125 feet) above sea level.

It is now mainly used for grazing but, in the past, boasted a healthy population who worked the land and used seaweed to fertilise their crops. The soil was rich and produced good crops of oats and bere.

Lobster fishing was carried out on a small scale near the shores of Cava, and the catch was sent to London.

Horses and cows, as well as sheep, all did well on Cava but today sheep are the only inhabitants.

By 1795 the Statistical Account tells us that only three families lived there. The population declined during the 20th century.

There is a small chapel and churchyard on the island and it is said that, like Eynhallow, neither rat nor mouse can live here.

 Cava © Kevin Heath

The Orkney parishes Statistical Account of 1795-1798 tells the story that, in the 18th century, the pirate John Gow raided the island and took away two young women. After a few days onboard the ship they were returned to the island loaded with presents, and they soon found husbands.