Stromness (ON Straum-nes - Stream Point) was also called Hamnavoe (Harbour Bay) by the Vikings. This excellent harbour is the ferry terminal for the crossing to Scrabster in Caithness. There are also many small fishing boats and dive boats which work from here. The town dates from the 17th century and for many years supplied water, stores and crewmen to ships taking the northern route around Britain as well as ships of the Hudson’s Bay Company and whalers. During the Herring Boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was also very busy. The winding, flagstone-paved street is the backbone of the town. Many of the houses on the shore side have their own piers, while the houses higher up are reached by the many narrow lanes. The lack of space for new development in the town has ensured that it has retained its attractive character, with the industrial area being situated on the outskirts. The intimate nature of the town makes it popular with visitors and several events take place here including the Orkney Traditional Folk Festival, the Stromness Shopping Week and the Beer Festival. The Stromness Museum has a fascinating series of displays on mostly maritime and natural history themes. These include the Hudson’s Bay Company connection, the scuttle of the WW1 German High Seas Fleet, and Orkney birds, mammals, molluscs and insects. Also well worth a visit is the Pier Arts Centre with its permanant collection of 20th century art and temporary exhibitions. This attractive old building was once the agency and store for the Hudson’s Bay Company and is built on a pier near the ferry terminal. There are many interesting shops in Stromness, offering a range of local crafts, knitwear, books and art, as well as several grocers and hardware shops. Parking is not very practical in the narrow street but there are plenty of spaces on the approach to the town at Ferry Road. The Stromness Golf Club, Bowling Green and Tennis Courts are at the south end of the town. The nearby beach of Warebeth can be reached by a coastal path from here via the Point of Ness. Stromness is an attractive place for a walk, whether exploring the town, or along the shore. There are plenty of places to eat and drink in the town and all types of accommodation are available. It makes a good base from which to explore the West Mainland and Hoy. There is a regular bus service to Kirkwall, but not to other parts of the West Mainland.