Separated from Rousay by Wyre Sound, the island is low lying, small in scale and sheltered by the mass of Rousay to the north. It has a farmed landscape of low undulations, descending to a low rocky point at the western extremity.
Wyre has a special association with the Orkneyinga Saga in that it was the home of Kolbein Hruga, a locale ‘magnate’ who has passed into local folklore as the giant ‘Cubbie Row’ and whose castle, Cubbie Roo’s Castle, survives as one of Orkney’s best medieval monuments.
The Orkney novelist and poet Edwin Muir spent part of his childhood living in Wyre, after being born in the parish of Deerness in 1887. His time in the remote and unspoiled landscape of the island was said to be some of his happiest during his childhood.
The island’s important wildlife habitats include lowland fens, meadows, upland heath, crowberry heath, maritime heath, maritime grassland and salt marsh. These areas collectively support a variety of wildlife including breeding gulls, Arctic Terns, waders and wildfowl along with Otter, Moss Carder Bee. Plants special to Wyre include Water Purslane and Northern Yellow-cress.