Isle of Hoy

Continuing with the Orkney adventure, the day after I came back from Westray & Papay I feel so nervous, I needed to explore more and more although the weather was awful. At 9 am since my Orcades Hostel room it looks like this:

But the previous day I’d seen the Hill of Ward from Stromness and I felt bewitched, I had to go.

Knap of Trowieglen from Stromness

Hill of Ward from Stromness

I got the bus in Kirkwall to Stromness and halfway in Finstown the bus got trapped 5 min due to the snow in the road. I took the ferry (I was the only passanger) at 12 am and in 40 minutes (with a litlle stop in Graemsay) I arrived at North Hoy. The snow storm had not arrived yet, but it was extremely windy and chilly.

The storm coming up

The storm coming up

Only 10 minutes later the storm came up.

But I was decided and so rude to give up, I kept on move despite the bad weather. However, a mile before reaching Rackwick Bay it was impossible: the visibility was nil and the wind stronger and stronger. I came across with a little hut and I was there for 3 hours, until the storm stopped.

After the storm

After the storm

It tooks me a while to reach Rackwick Bay and run out of breath: I’d never seen before such a awe-inspiring landscape.

Rackwick Bay cliffs

Rackwick Bay cliffs

Rackwick Bay

Rackwick Bay

I haven’t any words to describe this place. You can find a lot of pictures of this site in the next link http://http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/rackwick/interesting/

In Hoy there is a little village, Lyness with some hotels, post offices, a shop, a pub even a theatre. Despite having a high diversity of landscapes, the most well known attractive on Hoy (even in Orkney) is The Old Man of Hoy, a superb 480 foot sea stack, first climbed in 1967. Also it has the highest vertical cliff in Britain, St. John’s Head, and the most northerly native woodland in Britain, the Berriedale Wood.

The Old Man of Hoy

The Old Man of Hoy

St. John's Head

St. John’s Head

Berriedale Wood

Berriedale Wood

As you see, Hoy is a land with high contrast, a microcosmos, simply perfect.

I let you a pair of videos, enjoy it!

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Orkney Islands (Scotland)

Only a few days ago, I’ve been so lucky to stay a couple of weeks in one of these places that I’ve in my personal-remote places-agenda, the Orkney Islands.

Orkney are an 70 islands archipelago (only 20 inhabited) situated at the NE of mainland Scotland, accessible by boat from Aberdeen or Thurso, or flying from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen or Inverness.

I chose the 6 and a half hour boat from Aberdeen to Kirkwall, and it was really fairy. I spent maybe halfway into the deck, seeing the clear firmament and feeling the North Sea vacuum. When I arrived (although it was 23:30) I felt the desolation and peace that characterise these islands, and of course, the extreme kindness of its people.

I established my base-camp in Kirkwall, the main town of Orkney with a population of 7000 inhabitants. I slept in a really awesome hostel, The Orcades Hostel (http://www.orcadeshostel.com), extremely fair and comfortable, with such a helpful stuff.

In Kirkwall you can find most services you might need, such as supermarkets (Lidl, Tesco & Scotmid Cooperative), hotels, bar, a couple of pubs, a swimming pool, etc. The centre of the town keeps up 1 main street with shops, finished by St. Magnus Cathedral.

The other large town of Orkney is Stromness (2000 inhabitants), accessible from Kirkwall with a 35 min. bus route. In my opinion Stromness is most beautiful than Kirkwall: this preserves lovely streets with stone-made houses combined with a special charm.

But, if you are looking for the Orkney core, you’ll have to visit the small Islands… Daily there are ferry connections between Kirkwall and Stromness to the other islands. I’ve came over Isle of Hoy, Isle of Shapinsay, Isle of Westray and Isle of Papa Westray (also known as Papay), and trust me, I NEVER HAD FELT THIS LONELY IN MY WHOLE LIFE (above all in Hoy, Papa and Papay).

Due to the large extension of the story, I’ll publish two posts talking about these small islands.

And to get an idea, I’ll let one video (in the next posts I’ll upload videos of myself). Enjoy it!