“As time was precious, I decided to spend my time on Hoy in the Scapa Flow Visitors Centre. This turned out to be an excellent decision.
The Visitors Centre tell the story of Scapa Flow and Lyness (mainly through the first and second world wars). There are excellent exhibits (such as mines and torpedoes as well as informative information boards) and a short film outlining the major role of Scapa Flow in both World Wars. I found the Museum to be fascinating and incredibly it was FREE! It´s a definite ´must see`on any visit to Orkney and Hoy in particular …”
How do I get to Hoy? Loganair (part of the Flybe group) fly from Aberdeen, Barra, Belfast, Benbecula, Birmingham, Campbeltown, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Guernsey, Inverness, Islay, Isle of Man, Jersey, Leeds/Bradford, London (Gatwick), Manchester, Manston (Kent), Newquay, Norwich, Southampton, Stornoway and Sumburgh (Shetland). Most flights are via Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Inverness. Or, you could travel by Northlink ferry from the ferry terminals in Aberdeen (to Kirkwall) and Scrabster (to Stromness). Alternatively, you could travel by Pentland Ferries on the Gill´s Bay to St Margert´s Hope route. Finally, John O´ Groats passenger only ferries run from John O´Groats to South Ronaldsay. From May to September, there is a direct bus route from Inverness to John O´Groats that meets with the ferry – this is known as ´The Orkney Bus´. There are two Orkney Ferries to the island of Hoy. The first is from Stromness and lands at Moaness Pier in Northern Hoy, sometimes via the neighbouring island of Graemsay. Alternatively, there is an Orkney Ferries service from Houton on the Orkney mainland to Lyness on southern Hoy, sometimes via the island of Flotta.
How do I get around Hoy? To get around Hoy use the Hoy and Walls ‘Hail and Ride’ Community Bus Service. The service operates via Lyness Museum, the Lifeboat Museum, Longhope and Martello Tower. Tours, taxi´s and mini-buses are available from Rendall’s of Rackwick and from Hills of Hoy in Lyness. Tours are also available through Rendalls of Rackwick and Tours of Hoy. Cycle Hire is available from Orkney Cycle Hire in Stromness and Cycle Orkney in Kirkwall.
What’s worth visiting on Hoy? The most famous site on the island of Hoy is the Old Man of Hoy. It is a 450 foot sea stack. The footpath from Rackwick requires a three-hour round trip. Lyness Naval Base & Interpretation Centre (sometimes known as the Scapa Flow Visitor Centre) explains about the significance of Scapa Flow to the Royal navy over two World Wars. Longhope Lifeboat Station Museum now houses the old Longhope Lifeboat ‘Thomas McCunn’ and has information on the Longhope Lifeboat. Ward Hill, at 479 metres, affords excellent views of Hoy and the surrounding islands.
Where can I stay on Hoy? Stromabank Hotel is a small family run hotel in Longhope. Alternatively, there is Wild Heather in Lyness and Quoydale B & B´s. Also, there is self catering at Burnhouse Cottage near Ward Hill, Pools in Longhope, Cliffgate in Rackwick and Old Hall Cottage in Longhope. There is also a Hostel at the Hoy Centre. Also, a hostel and camping is available at the Rackwick Outdoor Centre in Rackwick.
Any other informationon Hoy? The Dwarfie Stane in Rackwick on the west side of Hoy, is an isolated block of red sandstone, some 8.5 metres long, which is the only prehistoric rock-cut chambered tomb in Britain. It dates from about 3000BC. For more information on Hoy, please read my article Orkney Adventure