Hoy means "High Island" from the Old Norse 'HAEY' and is the second largest island in Orkney (The largest being the Orkney Mainland) and is also the most distinctive. A paradise for walkers, birdwatchers, war historians or those simply wishing to get away from it all, Hoy is a mere ½ hour ferry trip away from the Orkney Mainland. You can catch a passenger only ferry from Stromness to Moaness (at the North end of Hoy) or a car ferry from Houton to Lyness (close to Pools Self Catering.)
Hoy has stunning hills and sea cliffs and a large part of the island is a RSPB reserve. It contains Britain's highest vertical cliff face in St Johns Head, the famous sea-stack, the Old Man of Hoy and Britains most northerly woodland, Berriedale wood. At the Lyness Navel Base you will find a fascinating museum dedicated to the dramatic history of Scapa Flow during the second world war, and next door to Pools is one of the Martello towers - used for defence in both the Napoleonic and First World Wars.
Other historical attractions include the Longhope Lifeboat Museum, the Dwarfie Stane, and Melsetter House and are all in easy reach of Pools Self Catering. The cottage is also close to the sea and is a approx. 15 minute walk from a sandy beach.
Getting to Hoy is easy - using the ferry services from Houton to Lyness you can take your car or if you wish to travel by foot you can take the ferry from Stromness to Moaness. There are frequent ferries - and Hoy is the only island that has two to choose from! For timetables and ferry prices visit the Orkney Ferries website - www.orkneyferries.co.uk
To get to Orkney in the first place you can travel by plane to Kirkwall Airport (for timetables and prices visit www.ba.com) or take a ferry from the North of Scotland. This involves a car, bus or train journey. Feel free to contact us about this for more information. There are car and passenger ferries from Scrabster to Stromness and Aberdeen to Kirkwall operated by Northlink Ferries (www.northlinkferries.co.uk.) There is also a car and passenger ferry from Gills Bay to St Margaret's Hope operated by Pentland Ferries (www.pentlandferries.co.uk) If you are travelling by foot the ferry from John O' Groats to Burwick is also available. This foot passenger only ferry is operated by John O' Groats Ferries (www.jogferry.co.uk). All ferries travel frequently - visit their websites for up to date timetable and pricing information.
Highest vertical cliff in Britain, the first direct ascent was made in 1970 by Edward Ward Drummond and companion who spent six nights on the face sleeping in hammocks.
Old Man of Hoy
A 450 foot sandstone rock stack on a basalt base. A challenge to experienced climbers.
This crofting township is considered to be one of the most beautiful places in Orkney. Bounded by towering cliffs and steep heathery hills, Rackwick Valley rests beside a fine sand and boulder strewn beach.
The only example in Britain of a rock-cut tomb dating from around 3,000BC. According to Sir Walter Scott it was the residence of the 'Trolld', a legendary Norse Dwarf.
A young girl from Lyness, abandoned, pregnant, by a visiting sailor last century, took her own life and was buried away from the hallowed ground on the parish boundary. Surely one of Britains loneliest graves.
The British Royal Navy Base in both world wars, closed in 1957. The pump house now fulfils an interpretive role with many interesting relics from the war days. Close by is the Navel Cemetry which has associations with the most famous incidents in modern navel history. Admission charge to the visitor centre, which is open all year.
Built on either side of Longhope Bay in 1813 to protect Baltic convoys from the United States Navy and American privateers. Renovated in 1866, they were also used during World War 1. The Hackness Tower (the closest to Pools) is open to the public.
Situated at Brims in South Walls, Longhope Lifeboat station was opened in 1874 and has saved over 600 lives. Now a museum, the Lifeboat station is open all year and is well worth a visit. For more information visit www.longhopelifeboat.org.uk/museum
The newly built Longhope Lifeboat Station was opened in 2003. The Lifeboat is now moored on a pontoon which makes it ready to sail at short notice. If you wish, we would be willing to show you around - just ask!
There's plenty to do on Hoy - from hillwalking to ornithology to enjoying beautiful beaches. We look forward to seeing you!