The name 'Stromness' comes from the Norse Straumsnes.
In Viking times the anchorage where Stromness now stands
was called Hamnavoe, meaning 'peaceful' or 'safe harbour'.
The old town is clustered along the winding main street,
with narrow lanes and alleys branching off it. Stromness
became important during the late 17th century, when
England was at war with France and shipping was forced
to avoid the English Channel. Ships of the Hudson's Bay
Company were regular visitors, as were whaling fleets.
Large numbers of Orkneymen, many of whom came
from the Stromness area, served as traders,
explorers and seamen for both.
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