Isle of Hoy: Home of UK’s Tallest Seastack

As promised in my previous post, the Island of Hoy was our next quest! Our intrepid companions did us the favor of planning the day trip to this gem of an island. Hoy is one of the Orkney Islands; there are no direct links from mainland Scotland so you have to take a ferry to the island of ‘Mainland’ where the towns of Kirkwall and Stromness are, and then hop over to Hoy on a 35 minute ferry. As we were staying in near Stromness, it was easy to get to the Hoy ferry terminal in Houton.

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Aboard the ferry crossing Scapa Flow to Hoy

The weather was sheer perfection as we caught a morning ferry from Houton and landed at Lyness. We only had about 6 hours to explore the island before our scheduled return ferry so we had to ‘beat cheeks’ as it were. We wanted to explore one of the more remote parts of the island to find the most famous seastack of them all: the Old Man of Hoy. 

So off we went along the spectacular single track road, catching a glimpse of turquoise inlets.

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So many colors! The road from Lyness to Linksness

We made our way to Rackwick for the hike to the Old Man. Such a place- I tell you!! It was a remote sheltered inlet of untold beauty and little sheep ambling about too.

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The hour and a half hike to the Old Man is easy enough after climbing up the to level of the cliff tops and skirting along the coast… dsc_0986

Finally reaching the cliff next to the Old Man,, it is a GIANT of a stack!!

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450 Feet tall (137 m)

And to think people climb this thing! We hung out and had lunch in what is undoubtably the best lunch spot in the world!

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The best lunch spot in the world!

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St. John’s Head

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After a spell of being spellbound by the sheer awesomeness of this spot, we made our way back to the car park at Rackwick.

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The Northlink Ferry off the coast to the left

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Rackwick resident dining out

After our return to Lyness to catch the ferry, we took in the Scapa Flow Museum located next to the ferry.  This humble warehouse (free entry) and cafe highlights the rich military history of the Orkneys during WW1 and WW2, especially the sheltered bay ‘Scapa Flow’ where the British Naval Fleet was based. At one point there were many German ships scuttled in the harbor but only one or two remain there now. img_1501

And we caught our ferry back to the ‘Mainland’ Orkney in time for a good pub dinner in Stromness.  A perfect ending to a great day of island hopping!

 

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