St Margarets Hope
|St Margarets Hope|
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Places related to the A961|
St Margarets Hope is a small harbour village at the northern end of South Ronaldsay in Orkney. Until the 1940s, it served as the main town on the island, but following the construction of the Churchill Barriers, it became connected to the Orkney Mainland, and so instead of needing to use several ferries, islanders could drive, or at least get the bus, straight into Kirkwall. This saw the importance of the village diminish, but it remained a good harbour for fishing boats and visiting yachts. Then, in 2001, a new ferry service was started, connecting Orkney to the mainland, and St Margarets Hope was chosen as the Orkney Port, revitalising the village once more.
The main road past the village is the A961, formerly the B9040 before the Churchill Barriers opened. This leads from Orkney's Capital, Kirkwall, south across the barriers and the islands that they connect to Burwick at the southern tip of South Ronaldsay. At St Margarets Hope, it meets the B9043, which runs through the village and on west to Hoxa Head. The B9043 previously ran through the centre of the village, but with the success of the ferry bringing a lot of traffic to the village, a new bypass road was built in 2009, taking the B9043 around the back of the village itself. The pier itself is, however, still accessed from the unclassified Pier Road leading north around the bay.
The ferry, as noted above, started in 2001 with an old Calmac vessel, but now operates a Catamaran. This provides a shorter, and cheaper crossing than the Scrabster Ferry to the west and despite the need for lorries to reverse on, many hauliers favour the shorter crossing. The ferry sails from Gills Bay on the Caithness coast, near John o Groats. It makes 3-5 crossings a day, depending on the time of year.
|Kirkwall||via Churchill Barriers Former B9040|
|Sandwick, Burwick||John o Groats Pedestrian Ferry Former B9040|
|Gills Bay on the A836 near John o Groats|