Having a guest means lots of outings. No sooner were we back from our mainlaind tour than we booked a much neeeded visit – with car – to Hoy. This meant we would be able to see both Rackwick Bay at the top left-hand side of the island as well as Longhope in the south. for me it was the 'hoylight' (grind your teeth) of the week.
Just look at this little loch!
Situated half way up one of Hoy's hills, it's called the Water of Hoy on the Ordnance Survey map. It's right Betty Corrigal's grave,
which has a very touching story (which you can read here).
This is a non-linear approach to the trip, purely in order to be able to have one of my favourite photos of the day appear as the thumbnail to this post. The journey began, of course, with the ferry ride to Hoy. We were in luck, as usual, and the light was superb.
(I sometimes even take pictures of people!)
We passed this uninhabited islet
and, once in Lyness, made for its beautiful war cemetery, the Lyness Royal Naval Cemetery, which you can read about here.
The massive concrete structure half way up the hill and just to the left of the Cross of Sacrifice is the Wee Fea Naval Communications And Operational Centre, a massive structure of indestructible concrete. For info see here and here.
I think the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is a wonderful organisation.
After visiting the cemetery, we set off for Rackwick Bay, stopping only for this lovely burn (Pegal Burn), with its peaty and tasty water,
and Betty's grave which I mentioned above.
For us it was on to Rackwick Bay, the only beach on the seaward side of Hoy, and a beauty spot among beauty spots. The Old Man of Hoy and St John's Head, the highest vertical cliff in the UK, are just a few miles away, but can only be reached by a long walk which we did not do.
It is reached by this road
which winds between Hoy's highest hills, the highest of which is Ward Hill (479m). Here it is:
It doesn't take long to reach Rackwick by car. We made for the beach
And what a beach it is! How does the sea make round boulders specifically for this one?
The Old Man and St John's end are several miles up beyond this headland.
I actually like the view back inland from the bay just as much
More about Rackwick here
We spent longer than we should enjoying Rackwick (and we still didn't get enough of it).
Still, we also planned to go to Longhope at the other end of the island, so we had to make a move. It was a fair drive – at least 10 miles! – but well worth it. A quiet hamlet with a very pretty port, a single shop that sellls everything, with a port and a lifeboat station – and a hotel.
We went on to Cantick Head, the end point of the island, from where we could look across the southern entrance to Scapa Flow and see our own South Ronaldsay, a mere 4 miles distant.
After which, we set off for home. Getting from A to B required a rather different route and rather more time!