Orkney Image Library

<< back
Visiting Cava in the 70s
The Orkney Image Library

Help us get organised! If we haven't correctly identified which area this picture is best listed under, please select it below and click Done!

view a random pic
Visiting Cava in the 70s

A picture which I took on Cava when visiting the two ladies Miss Woodham and Miss Peckam who lived on the island. This is the house they lived in and I think the one slept in the hen house at night.At a guess I would think in the 1970s
Picture added on 01 December 2010 at 11:49
They lived on the island until the early 90's before moving to the mainland. If you want to know about their lives, go to the Library Archives where you'll find an interesting story written by Dawn Simison.
Added by Richard Evans on 01 December 2010
I visited Cava in 2015 and photographed the house which I will add to this archive. I am researching the lives of Meg and Ida for a book chapter so would be glad of any contacts who knew them.
Added by Richard Clubley on 26 July 2015
Would anyone object if I used this picture of Meg and Ida in a slide/talk about uninhabited islands?
Added by Richard Clubley on 08 August 2015
Hi Richard

Can you direct me to he story by Dawn Simison? Not sure what archive you are referring to?


Added by Lou Hart on 13 September 2015
Hi Lou
Go to Kirkwall Library 1st floor, reference dept and ask for ref: D70/4/14 What Was Life Like on Cava from 1966 to 1993 by Dawn Simison. Itsan interesting article Good Luck
Added by Richard Evans on 14 September 2015
Thanks Richard

Added by Lou Hart on 30 September 2015
Hi Richard. I live in Clevedon, the town the Cava women left to start their new life. I'm planning to research their time here - not sure if I'll find anything - but I'll gladly share with you if I do. Any info you may have that could help would be gratefully recieved. This research is just out of curiosity, by the way. Jenny
Added by Jenny Wildblood on 11 October 2015
Hi Jenny

I have no evidence to say they lived in Clevedon. An extract from an article published in 1966 relates:

Here's some background information on Ida Woodhams & Meg Peckham from a magasine story called 'Island Cottage' Summer 1966 about life on Fara Island. Meg had a boarding school education and Ida a London Council School.Their meeting came the day when Meg was a car park attendant in south-west England. She found an old motor cycle blocking the entrance and awaited her opportunity to acost the owner Ida. Ida had had a job as a gardener in a London Park. At the the time of their encounter, she was odd jobbing in Cornwall, travelling from place to place on her motorcycle. At their meeting, they joined forces for a tented life.
Added by Richard Evans on 26 October 2015
Hi Richard
Many thanks, that's really interesting. I picked up the Clevedon link from Andrew Grieg's poem about Cava. He also stated they met as Land Girls. Any comments? All the best, Jenny
Added by Jenny Wildblood on 13 November 2015
South/West England Clevedon but it was a chance encounter. Ida showed me the article and although there were many mistakes nothing was changed about their meeting.Are you on FB?
Added by Richard Evans on 17 November 2015
I am. Do friend me if that would facilitate things.

Added by Jenny Wildblood on 02 December 2015
Does anyone know where I can get more information regarding the island? My great grandmother grew up on this island until her teens I believe. I live in Wales so its difficult for me to go to the archives in Scotland
Added by Stephanie Evans on 15 January 2016
Hi Stephanie I own a 33 page booklet called Sites and Monuments of Cava by Dockrill & McKinley but its out of print.Obtainable possibly although could be expensive from Orkney Archives ref: D70/4/14 'What was life like on Cava. I have sale details and various newspaper cuttings as I've studied the island in depth and visited it for the first time 2015. What was your great Grandmother's name? You could send me private email and I could copy some of what I have.
Added by Richard Evans on 28 January 2016
Hi Richard
Do you mean you have sale details on the island itself or the house? Very interested.
Added by Lou Hart on 04 June 2016
Sorry Richard, my email is [email protected] and my grandmothers name is Margaret Brown.
Added by Stephanie Evans on 23 December 2016
Hello, can any of you send me information about the two ladies (meg and Ida), that lived on Cava? A friend of mine and I used to be compared with these two ladies by a friend of ours (John Eccles) who lived on Orkney. Now this friend is going to get married and I'd like to tell something about the two ladies on Cava at the wedding reception. I'd be thankful for every information mailed to me (I live in Switzerland and can't go to Kirkwall library at the moment...)
Added by Gabriela Fürrer on 29 May 2018
The Woodpeckers were friends of my parents. I was astonished to find Miss Woodhams’ grave in Orphir last week while visiting Orkney for the first time since 1965, more astonished to find that she had lived until 2013, by which time she would have been 97 or 98.

Besides their place on Cava, they had a but and ben on the Mainland that they used when they needed to visit for supplies, depicted in a pen and wash picture that Miss Woodhams gave my parents in 1964 and which now hangs in my dining room in upstate New York.

If this site permits, the following links will take you to pictures of the stone and the drawing.

link 1

link 2

Added by Jonathan Spencer on 07 August 2019
My wife and I knew the "Woodpeckers" for about 20 years. We stayed with them on one occasion summer 1963 when our daughter cut her first tooth and took her forst steps on Cava. Duncan Pirrie ferried us in his boat taxi - landing on the Calf of Cava. Remember sharing the toilet with the hens - we slept in the guest qaccommodation - converted henhouse which had been floated ashore and secured in a noust just above the high water level - magical.
Added by John Munro on 19 June 2020
Hi John, thanks for your story. Duncan's son Kenny took me to Ida's home home in Kirkwall in 2004 for a chat. You will see pictures of the converted henhouse, the booklet "lost" on Cava and the 'Woodpeckers' on this site from me. Did you see the motorbike Meg owned which she used on the island? Any other stories would be great?
Added by Richard Evans on 12 July 2020
Hello,my husband's grt grt granfather on his paternal side lived on Cava in the 19th century,I found official records for this.His name was Isaac Johnston.
Added by Lynn Jamieson on 29 October 2023
<< back


Graemsay KirkBurra SoundGraemsay BatteryThe InverlaneQuoynanap cottage on GraemsayPicnic bench on GraemsayAbandoned Graemsay KirkGraemsay Kirk with Hoy in backgroundInverlane WreckDiving boats alongside Inverlane