The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

The Swona Witch

There was a witch who fell in love with a South Ronaldsay man and was determined to have him for herself.

Unfortunately he already had a sweetheart but, undeterred, she managed to get the man and his girlfriend to go with her in a boat.

Using her powers, she capsized the boat in the hope that his girlfriend would drown.

Endeavouring to save the man, the witch locked her hand in his, but he refused to let go the hand of his sweetheart.

The lovers were both drowned but the witch lives on, creating by her desperate struggles to free herself from the dead man’s hand the whirlpool called the Wells of Swona.

  Looking from Swona across Pentland Firth: beyond the shipwrecking rocks are the treacherous Wells of Swona