The Old Men of Hoy I

May 21, 2014

The day before we left Orkney for Scotland we took a trip to Hoy, an island in the south of the Orkneys. Hoy is famous for its massive cliffs and a large red sandstone stack. This stack is called the Old Man of Hoy and stands on the north side of the island, greeting the ferries on their way to and fro Scotland.

In the morning we took the bus over the mainland to Stromness from where a small ferry departs for Hoy. We were not really sure how we would go further after our arrival, but we were confident of the public transport of the islands since our Shetland experiences. So together with about 10 other tourists we headed through the foggy morning for Hoy. 

When we arrived after the short passage we weren't disappointed: a small red bus waited for us on the quay ready to drive us through the Mars-like landscapes of the island. The bus driver was a very communicative old man with a Sherlock-Holmes-hat who entertained us with stories, sayings and jokes about Hoy and its people (of whom we didn't see any). The small group of people cramped into the old bus driving through the deserted hills that were without any trace of human life apart from our little red bus ... that's what films are made of ...

The tour ended in Rackwick, a deserted settlement that is situated in a bay and surrounded by huge cliffs. The decayed houses were deserted and there was nobody apart from sheep and a large yellow tent on the beach. The fog rolled in from behind the mountains and hung over the cliffs, as if teasing the sea and I could not get rid of the feeling of being an extra in a film set.

Our cheerful busdriver left us, telling us he would be back at 3pm to pick us up and drive us back to the ferry. I didn't want to imagine what you would do in Rackwick when you missed the bus and the night would come over the hills. A mixture of adventuresomeness and panic...  I tried to push the thought aside.

Our old new friend was surely experienced with tourists getting lost in Hoy - although he made some very disconcerting jokes about it ...

The cliffs are among the largest in Britain with about 400m height at their highest point. The ascent to the Old Man of Hoy starts in Rackwick and leads up to a fantastic view over the bay.

To be continued.


  1. Oh wow! I have no idea if you know the Skyrim PC game but those views look like taken straight from the game - amazing. :)

  2. What an atmosphere! Fantastic photographs!

  3. So beautiful and inspiring… these are amazing!

  4. Lovely, mist shrouded photos - some so reminiscent of Ireland. Eager for your next installment.

  5. Lady, you always leave me with the worst case of wanderlust!

  6. oh, I always love your pics, but these are even more mindblowing than usually. especially the first one. breathtaking!!! xo

  7. Fantastic landscapes! The fog and the purple heather give your photographs a special atmosphere.

  8. These are just absolutely AMAZING! Looks like an amazing place to visit! I absolutely love a foggy day. Probably because it is never foggy here and we always want what we cant have! haha