Visited: The island of Hoy, ferry £4.30 pp, bus £6 pp (both return).
Stayed: Stromness, long term car-park at the port (2nd night), free with toilet. N58.96712, W03.29482
Hoy is Orkney’s second largest island, it has the highest hills as well. The northern part of the island is a reserve for breeding seabirds. Walking to the Old Man of Hoy is a highly recommended activity on Orkney and today’s our day.
Looking across Hoy Sound from the port car-park in Stromness. Unfortunatley this photo was taken the evening before our planned walk.
We wake a little dusty after a later than usual evening at the Ferry Inn with Ian and Jo. It’s a grey cold morning but the forecast shows no rain as the four of us walk down to the ferry. You don’t come to Scotland for the weather.
Soon enough we are on the ferry with about 40 other souls. The passage across Hoy Sound takes about 30 minutes. There is a bit of rock’n’roll but we are made of sturdy stuff.
That’s Hoy in the distance. The big ferry from the mainland making for Stromness on the right. Our little ferry drops us at the pier in Moaness. A couple of houses nearby and a small shed adjoining the pier is Moaness.
But just as it states in the Lonely Planet, a couple of local buses are waiting in Moaness. We ask if this bus goes to Rackwick?, the driver points into the little bus. The bus fills he gestures again to those still waiting and drives off up the valley. We stop again after 10 minutes and he points across the valley and says Dwarfie Stane.
So we follow the path across the floor of the valley of peat to Dwarfie Stane. This 5000 year old burial chamber is the only example of a rock cut tomb in Scotland. I wouldn’t fancy excavating this with modern tools, let alone a flint axe.
The actual tomb is inside, then to the right. The locking stone, which now sits outside, would have slide into the main opening.
Our bus continues on to Rackwick, at the other end of the valley. He stops outside a small hostel and points up the hill. ‘I’ll be back at 3pm, best be back at 3pm’, he says and drives off. Our driver is a man of few words.
The walk is steep in sections, but generally not too hard. The trail is well marked, Pam loves a ‘Dangerous Cliifs’ sign.
Almost there. The path to the Old Man of Hoy is just less than 5 kilometres long, which takes us about an hour.
This 137 metre high rock stack, standing like a sentinel is the Old Man of Hoy.
The coastline is rugged and the views spectacular.