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.”
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.
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