Stroma
Significance: The great storm of 1862... swept the sea over the north end of the
island of Stroma... and redistributed the ruin heaps there. The waves ran
bodily up and over the vertical cliffs on the west side, 200 feet in height,
loading portions of wrecked boats, stones, seaweeds etc. on the top.
They rushed in torrents across the island, tearing up the ground and rocks
in their course towards the old mill at Netherton on the opposite side.
Stroma
Significance: The great storm of 1862... swept
the sea over the north end of the island of
Stroma... and redistributed the ruin heaps there.
The waves ran bodily up and over the vertical
cliffs on the west side, 200 feet in height, loading
portions of wrecked boats, stones, seaweeds
etc. on the top. They rushed in torrents across
the island, tearing up the ground and rocks in
their course towards the old millat Netherton
on the opposite side.

Stroma

Significance: The great storm of 1862… swept the sea over the north end of the island of Stroma… and redistributed the ruin heaps there. The waves ran bodily up and over the vertical cliffs on the west side, 200 feet in height, loading portions of wrecked boats, stones, seaweeds etc. on the top. They rushed in torrents across the island, tearing up the ground and rocks in their course towards the old mill at Netherton on the opposite side.

W. Peach in Geikie (1887) p 64

The cliffs along the west side of Stroma are impressive and locally undercut. The Gloup is one of the most impressive in northern Scotland. Steers (1973) suggests that the cliffs on the east coast are old features but it’s clear that historic storms are freshening them up.

The account of the 1862 storm indicates an extreme sea state in the Pentland Firth. The cliffs on the north side of Stroma rise to 30 m OD and would require wave heights of around 20 m for water to overtop the cliffs. There is little sign on air photographs of cliff top storm deposits above 20 m but the spillway certainly exists. Perhaps the account is somewhat exaggerated, but the event requires detailed examination because of the importance of extreme sea states for the engineering of tidal power devices in the Pentland Firth.

Image: Into the geo and gloup on Stroma
A casualty of the Pentland Firth: the stern of the Bettina Danica, wrecked on Stroma in 1993

Key geomorphological sites