Shore platforms are an important element of the Orkney coastline. In the northern isles, platforms are developed along many kilometres of coast and virtually encircle some of the smaller islands, such as North Ronaldsay. Platforms occur even in sheltered locations, such as the shores of Scapa Flow. The platforms vary in size, with the Holm of Aikerness covering almost 0.5 km2. No consistent variation in width with orientation is obvious, although platforms are less developed on west-facing cliffed shorelines. On west Hoy, the intertidal shore platform is 40-70 m wide, with a partial cover of fallen boulders (May and Hansom, 2003).