Hoy & Walls | Colin Nutt

Ask an Islander

We asked islander Catherine to tell us about her favourite aspects of island life on Hoy.

“The parish of Hoy (the north end of the island) has great walking tracks,” she says. “The land is largely managed by the RSPB and Hoy Trust and in the summer it’s a great place to see nesting sea eagles, complete with RSPB scopes for spotting the chicks in the nest.”

“Nearby, close to Moaness Pier, there’s Benithill Cafe which is great for some refreshments after your walk, and in the middle of the island in Lyness, we have Emily’s Ice-Cream Parlour where you can get snacks and coffee too.”

Catherine told us about her favourite island walk – Rackwick. “Rackwick Valley to Moaness (where you can catch the foot passenger ferry to Stromness) is a great walk, taking you past the 5,000-year-old old indigenous Berridale Woods. Rackwick Beach is quite possibly the most beautiful bay and beach in the world. It’s the perfect beach to visit in any weather. On sunny days there’s nothing better than enjoying a picnic and if it’s rainy we just take shelter in the lovely bothy.”

“Another great route on the island is along the track to the famous Old Man of Hoy which goes past the Rackwick Folk Museum – a great place to stop and enjoy on the way if you need a change of pace.”

What about any hidden gems? “The cliff walk from The Ayre (the causeway) to the SSSI site at the Hill of the White Hamars is really special and famed for its wildflowers in the early summer,” Catherine told us.

“South Walls is well worth a visit – it has the Island Shop and two pubs where we are currently able to enjoy some great takeaway food.”

“And South Walls Martello Tower, which is managed by Historic Scotland, is a great place to explore the island’s history.”

Getting Here

Orkney Ferries operate a daily service for vehicles and passengers from Houton on Mainland Orkney to Lyness on Hoy, and a passenger-only service from Stromness on Mainland Orkney to Moaness on Hoy.

Walls is accessible from Hoy by road via a causeway.

Find out more about getting to Mainland Orkney.

Explore More

Want to find out more about Hoy & Walls and explore more of our amazing islands?

Download the free Scottish Islands Passport app to:

  • discover your perfect island match,
  • find out about the experiences each island has to offer,
  • collect passport stamps for the islands you visit,
  • find information on accommodation, travel and island amenities.

Get Your Passport

You can find lots more information about things to see and do on the island, see some amazing island photography and collect your island stamp by downloading our app.

Download the app

App in phone

Download the Scottish Island Passport app to collect your island stamps! The app also provides lots more information on each island including recommendations from locals about things to see and do, info on how to get around, more stunning photos and useful offline maps.

  • Unlock Stamps - Collect them all! Stamp your passport when you visit each island - with an individual stamp designed to represent a unique aspect of island heritage.
  • Experiences - Discover the best experiences each island has to offer – from local boat trips to exciting traditional festivals, there is something for everyone.
  • Maps - Navigate the islands with useful offline maps, handy for areas where internet connectivity is weak.
  • Travel Jounals - Create an in-location travel journal with pictures from your island adventures, to look back on your trip.
  • Favourites - keep track of your most loved islands with the favourites feature. Available to access from your account on both the app and web.