Geo-Trips :: The Old Man and north Hoy

Hoy

A walk from Houton, Mon, 11 Jun 2018 by Anne Burgess

We crossed to Hoy on the ferry from Houton, and drove to Rackwick, from where we walked to the Old Man of Hoy and back again. We collected the car, and went in search of sustenance, which we found at Moyness. With a little time to spare before the ferry back to Mainland, we geographed the more accessible squares in north Hoy, and we stopped to have a look at some Viking ruins on the way back to Kirkwall.

Click the blue circles to see a photograph taken from that spot and read further information about the location. The blue lines indicate the direction of view. There is also a slideshow of this trip. ( )

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HY3103 : Catamaran at Houton by Anne Burgess
Catamaran at Houton
The catamaran had just arrived and disgorged its passengers. It ferries workers to... more

HY3104 : Silage field at Newhouse by Anne Burgess
Silage field at Newhouse
The grass has been cut and left in sweeping curves in this field below the houses... more

HY3103 : Piers at Houton by Anne Burgess
Piers at Houton
The nearer pier is used by the passenger boat from the Flotta oil terminal, and... more

HY3103 : Approaching Ferry by Anne Burgess
Approaching Ferry
The vehicle ferry 'Hoy Head' is arriving at Houton from Longhope, Flotta and Lyness.

ND3197 : Rysa Little by Anne Burgess
Rysa Little
The low-lying land in the foreground is part of the islet of Rysa Little, while... more

ND3197 : Rysa Little by Anne Burgess
Rysa Little
On the shore of the islet of Rysa Little are outcrops of gently dipping Old Red... more

ND3194 : Waiting to Disembark by Anne Burgess
Waiting to Disembark
the 'Hoy Head' has arrived at Lyness and raised her bow door. The complement of... more

ND3194 : Ready to Roll by Anne Burgess
Ready to Roll
The ramp of the 'Hoy Head' has been lowered at Lyness and the crew are about to... more

ND1999 : Rackwick Bay by Anne Burgess
Rackwick Bay
Looking down to Rackwick from the path to the Old Man of Hoy. The green roof is... more

ND1999 : Rackwick by Anne Burgess
Rackwick
Rackwick is a scattered community of perhaps a dozen or so houses. In one guide... more

ND1999 : Ruin beside the Path by Anne Burgess
Ruin beside the Path
This is marked but not named on the mid-Victorian six-inch map. Perhaps it was a... more

ND1999 : Moor Fea by Anne Burgess
Moor Fea
The rather featureless southern slopes of Moor Fea (304 metres) above Rackwick.

ND1898 : Above Black Nev by Anne Burgess
Above Black Nev
Black Nev is a feature in the cliffs, not visible from the path here. There is not... more

ND1899 : Moor Fea by Anne Burgess
Moor Fea
Most of the land in this square is the south-western slope of Moor Fea (304... more

ND1899 : On the Path to the Old Man by Anne Burgess
On the Path to the Old Man
Beyond the walker is the flat area that extends to Rora Head in the next square.

ND1899 : First Glimpse of the Old Man by Anne Burgess
First Glimpse of the Old Man
The path snakes conspicuously across the moor towards the cliff, where the famous... more

ND1899 : Arctic Bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpinus) by Anne Burgess
Arctic Bearberry (Arctostaphylos alpinus)
The interpretation boards by the path mention this as a special plant of the Hoy... more

ND1899 : Fern by Anne Burgess
Fern
A solitary fern, growing in the partial shelter of a sandstone boulder by the... more

HY1800 : The Last Lap by Anne Burgess
The Last Lap
We have almost reached our goal, the cliffs overlooking the Old Man of Hoy, which... more

HY1700 : Cliffs of Hoy by Anne Burgess
Cliffs of Hoy
Looking north from the clifftop at the curiously named Tuaks of the Boy towards St... more

HY1700 : Cliffs of Hoy by Anne Burgess
Cliffs of Hoy
Looking south from the odd-sounding Tuaks of the Boy towards Geo of the Light,... more

HY1700 : Old Man of Hoy by Anne Burgess
Old Man of Hoy

HY1700 : Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) by Anne Burgess
Fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis)
Fulmars typically nest in hollows on cliffs. This species has greatly increased in... more

HY1700 : The Old Man of Hoy by Anne Burgess
The Old Man of Hoy
From the closest point on the cliffs you can see the purplish plinth of basalt... more

HY1700 : Crumbling Cliffs by Anne Burgess
Crumbling Cliffs
This is why it is unwise to get too close to the cliffs here. The sandstone is... more

HY1700 : Runnarto by Anne Burgess
Runnarto
This is a really strange topographic feature. It looks as if a large bite has been... more

HY1700 : The Old Man of Hoy and Runnarto by Anne Burgess
The Old Man of Hoy and Runnarto
This not quite panoramic view is taken from the cliff edge above Runnarto, looking... more

HY1700 : Runnarto by Anne Burgess
Runnarto
This is a really strange topographic feature. It looks as if a large bite has been... more

HY1700 : The Old Man of Hoy by Anne Burgess
The Old Man of Hoy
Thee view of the Old Man through a cleft in the south wall of Runnarto

HY1700 : Old Man of Hoy by Anne Burgess
Old Man of Hoy
From the south edge of Runnarto.

HY1700 : Shattered Sandstone by Anne Burgess
Shattered Sandstone
Frost, wind and rain have worked away at the sandstone, shattering and cracking it... more

HY1700 : Old Man of Hoy by Anne Burgess
Old Man of Hoy
We had set off for the walk back to Rackwick when we heard an engine, and I ran... more

HY1800 : Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata) by Anne Burgess
Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata)
One of the commonest orchids of northern Scotland.

ND1799 : Looking towards Rora Head by Anne Burgess
Looking towards Rora Head
The cliffs east of Rora head are close to vertical for the best part of a mile.

ND1899 : Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica) by Anne Burgess
Lousewort (Pedicularis sylvatica)
A common plant of damp places, though it doesn't normally form a clump quite like... more

ND1898 : Path to the Old Man of Hoy by Anne Burgess
Path to the Old Man of Hoy
The path is quite rough, so you have to watch where you put your feet, but it's... more

ND1999 : Course of Unnamed Burn by Anne Burgess
Course of Unnamed Burn
The burn has clearly carved a gentle valley, and it is marked on the map. It runs... more

ND1999 : Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) by Anne Burgess
Tormentil (Potentilla erecta)
One of the commonest plants of moors and rough grassland, easily recognised... more

ND1999 : Craa's Nest by Anne Burgess
Craa's Nest
This trio of buildings is part of the Rackwick Museum.

ND1999 : Old School by Anne Burgess
Old School
The former school is now part of the Rackwick Museum, with exhibits showing what... more

ND2099 : Ruined Cottage by Anne Burgess
Ruined Cottage
A traditional stone cottage left derelict after a new house was built nearby. In... more

ND2099 : Rackwick by Anne Burgess
Rackwick
Rackwick's population has increased since its lowest point, and several new houses... more

ND2099 : Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella) by Anne Burgess
Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella)
There was a great profusion of orchids at Rackwick when we visited. This was one... more

ND2099 : Restored Cottage by Anne Burgess
Restored Cottage
This cottage with walls and roof of flagstones seems to have been restored to a... more

ND2099 : Traditional Building by Anne Burgess
Traditional Building
The walls and roof are of flagstones, and there is a sheltering dyke at the end of... more

ND2098 : Rackwick Bay by Anne Burgess
Rackwick Bay
The north end of the beach is covered with large boulders, reflecting the... more

ND1998 : Rackwick Bay by Anne Burgess
Rackwick Bay
The north end of Rackwick Bay is a boulder beach running some way along under the cliffs.

HY2000 : Rackwick Burn by Anne Burgess
Rackwick Burn
The burn drains the Glens of Kinnaird between Ward Hill and Cuilags.

HY2100 : Rackwick Road by Anne Burgess
Rackwick Road
Travelling away from Rackwick, with the steep and rather featureless slope of Ward... more

HY2200 : Peat Workings by Anne Burgess
Peat Workings
It looks as if it is some time since these peat banks below Ward Hill beside the... more

HY2200 : Woodland on Ward Hill by Anne Burgess
Woodland on Ward Hill
The map shows a small woodland here, and the line of the surrounding fence matches... more

HY2300 : Looking towards Nowt Bield by Anne Burgess
Looking towards Nowt Bield
Nowt Bield is Scots and means something along the lines of 'cattle shelter' and... more

HY2300 : Assing Place by Anne Burgess
Assing Place
No, I don't know what assing is either, though I believe that, with a capital A,... more

HY2400 : Dwarfie Hamars by Anne Burgess
Dwarfie Hamars
The cliffs are known as Dwarfie Hamars, and the path you can see snaking across... more

HY2401 : Whaness Burn by Anne Burgess
Whaness Burn
The Whaness Burn is actually meandering over the valley floor, invisible among the... more

HY2402 : Whiteglen by Anne Burgess
Whiteglen
This is where the Rackwick road emerges from the glen and enters the gentler... more

HY2404 : Foreshore at Linksness by Anne Burgess
Foreshore at Linksness
Weed-covered sand a low tide near the pier at Moaness. In the background is the... more

HY2403 : Beneth'ill Café by Anne Burgess
Beneth'ill Café
Not just a café but an oasis. We had breakfasted at an ungodly hour to get... more

HY2304 : Sands of Klebreck by Anne Burgess
Sands of Klebreck
This is one of two splendid sandy beaches in north-east Hoy. I'm not a fan of... more

HY2304 : Bay of Creekland by Anne Burgess
Bay of Creekland
The bay has one name, and the sandy beach has its own separate name, Sands of... more

HY2304 : An Unusual Gravestone by Anne Burgess
An Unusual Gravestone
I like the idea of using a local boulder instead of a slab of alien rock imported... more

HY2304 : Sands of Klebreck by Anne Burgess
Sands of Klebreck
The view from inside the dyke surrounding the old kirkyard is quite stunning. At... more

HY2105 : Fields at Head, Gloup and Murra by Anne Burgess
Fields at Head, Gloup and Murra
These are the names of the three farms, all out of sight to the left. I have no... more

HY2105 : Flashes by Anne Burgess
Flashes
The map names the fringe of rocks as the Flashes. They are an excellent example of... more

HY2104 : Looking towards Bridgend by Anne Burgess
Looking towards Bridgend
The ruined farm of Bridgend is in the next square, but all the foreground is in... more

HY2104 : Murra and Cuilags by Anne Burgess
Murra and Cuilags
Cuilags is the hill of which Murra enjoys a very fine view.

HY2104 : Slack of Braebuster by Anne Burgess
Slack of Braebuster
The 1:25,000 map is a little ambiguous in naming this croft by the road. In the... more

HY2104 : Braebuster Burn by Anne Burgess
Braebuster Burn
The burn isn't visible as it meanders through the vegetation on the valley floor.... more

HY2204 : Bailie Breck by Anne Burgess
Bailie Breck
A fairly featureless square, rising gently to Bailie Breck, which is a southward... more

HY2203 : Minor Road by Anne Burgess
Minor Road
Interestingly, this road is not shown on the first edition of the six-inch map,... more

HY2203 : Glen of Greor by Anne Burgess
Glen of Greor
Glen of Greor is the prominent gully coming straight down from the top of Ward... more

HY2203 : Hoy Lodge by Anne Burgess
Hoy Lodge
Hoy Lodge was probably built in the 18th century, but was reconstructed in about... more

HY2303 : Kirk and Outdoor Centre by Anne Burgess
Kirk and Outdoor Centre
The kirk must have been built between 1880 and 1900, because it appears on the... more

ND2995 : Chalupa by Anne Burgess
Chalupa
Chalupa, is a Mexican dish, but I have been unable, so far, to find out why a... more

ND3094 : Lyness Naval Cemetery by Anne Burgess
Lyness Naval Cemetery
The cemetery contains the remains of naval personnel who died in both the First... more

ND3094 : Ramshackle Hut by Anne Burgess
Ramshackle Hut
There are some pretty unsightly buildings on the way to the pier at Lyness. Some... more

ND3094 : Dilapidated Sheds by Anne Burgess
Dilapidated Sheds
There are some pretty unsightly buildings on the way to the pier at Lyness. Some... more

ND3194 : Lyness Pier by Anne Burgess
Lyness Pier
The South Isles ferry 'Hoy Head' docking at Lyness.

ND3194 : Information for the Unobservant by Anne Burgess
Information for the Unobservant
The sign tells passers-by that this is a ferry. I imagine that the droves of... more

ND3195 : The Point by Anne Burgess
The Point
The Point is the headland that shelters Ore Bay on the north. Photographer... more

ND3195 : Coast of Fara by Anne Burgess
Coast of Fara
Taken from the ferry from Lyness to Houton. Photographer location from in-camera GPS.

ND3195 : Fish Farm by Anne Burgess
Fish Farm
The floating building and associated cages are in Gutter Sound between Hoy and... more

ND3196 : Island of Fara by Anne Burgess
Island of Fara
Or, to be precise, part of the island. Note the gently dipping strata of the Old... more

ND3196 : Island of Fara by Anne Burgess
Island of Fara
Only a small part of this square is land. The ruin is Park, which is in the next... more

ND3197 : Rysa Little by Anne Burgess
Rysa Little
The north-eastern point of the islet of Rysa Little. Photographer location from... more

HY3200 : Calf of Cava by Anne Burgess
Calf of Cava
The lighthouse on the northern point of Cava, seen from the ferry from Lyness to... more

HY3203 : Midland Ness by Anne Burgess
Midland Ness
Seen from the ferry approaching Houton. At extreme left is [[[1076817]]].... more

HY3204 : House at Midland by Anne Burgess
House at Midland
This house is a bit of a curiosity. It looks very traditional, but it doesn't... more

HY3304 : Church of St Nicholas by Anne Burgess
Church of St Nicholas
The remains of a circular kirk built in 1122 by Earl Haakon as penance for the... more

HY3304 : Earl's Bu by Anne Burgess
Earl's Bu
These may be the foundations of the hall lived in by Earl Thorfinn the Mighty, and... more

HY4309 : Don't Drink and Drive by Anne Burgess
Don't Drink and Drive
A slightly unorthodox road sign greets visitors entering the Scapa Distillery.... more

HY4308 : Scapa Distillery by Anne Burgess
Scapa Distillery
Buildings in the courtyard of Scapa Distillery.

HY2918 : Loch of Harray by Anne Burgess
Loch of Harray
This shallow loch is the largest loch on Orkney, and renowned for its trout... more

HY2919 : Houses on Russland Road by Anne Burgess
Houses on Russland Road
Modern houses dot the countryside east of the Loch of Harray. As well as being a... more

HY2919 : Boats at the Merkister Hotel by Anne Burgess
Boats at the Merkister Hotel
Boats provided by the Merkister Hotel for its fishing guests on the Loch of Harray.

HY2919 : Merkister Hotel by Anne Burgess
Merkister Hotel
A traditional and popular hotel catering for anglers on the Loch of Harray. It's... more

HY2919 : Loch of Harray by Anne Burgess
Loch of Harray
The inlet south of the promontory where the Merkister Hotel stands. Across the... more

HY2913 : Ring of Brodgar by Anne Burgess
Ring of Brodgar
Part of the Ring shortly before sunset. See See... more

HY2913 : Ring of Brodgar by Anne Burgess
Ring of Brodgar
See https://canmore.org.uk/site/1696/ring-of-brodgar for all the details.

HY2913 : Ring of Brodgar by Anne Burgess
Ring of Brodgar
Somehow even this extended image doesn't do it justice. See... more

HY3012 : Standing Stones of Stenness by Anne Burgess
Standing Stones of Stenness
Only a few stones of this ring still stand. See... more

HY3012 : Standing Stones of Stenness by Anne Burgess
Standing Stones of Stenness
See https://canmore.org.uk/site/2105/stones-of-stenness for details.

ND1998 : Too of the Head by Anne Burgess
Too of the Head
Looking along the cliffs towards Too of the Head on the north side or Rackwick Bay.

ND1999 : Ruins at Rackwick by Anne Burgess
Ruins at Rackwick
A row of cottages, all in ruins, in a fine site close to Rackwick Beach.

All images © Anne Burgess and available under a Creative Commons licence external link.

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