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Friday, 21 October 2011

Autumn on the island of Hoy

A friend, J, took these photos on a recent trip to the island of Hoy, which is a neighbouring island to Graemsay - only MUCH bigger! Hoy has a population of (I think) about 1,500 in various settlements around the island.

One of my favourite spots on Hoy is Rackwick Bay, which is surrounded by high hills (not quite mountains) and fabulous sandstone cliffs. Some of the tallest cliffs in the UK are on the island of Hoy. Graemsay, in comparison, is very low lying, only being 65ft at it's highest point.

Unfortunately I don't have the breath to climb up hills so rely on photos by friends of this perspective! And it IS a beautiful one.  So here are some photos taken from Berriedale wood. This woodland is ancient native woodland and the most northerly native woodland in the UK. Sadly I've not been able to climb up into it but I love these photos.  Trees have a fight to survive on Orkney because of the low lying land and nothing to protect them from the winds which strip them of leaves and bark. Only the hardiest of trees can survive in some areas, unless they are in protected valleys or protected by buildings or stone dykes (walls). I so admire these hardy trees - braving the elements and stoutly clinging to the earth!

Below, Berriedale wood, set in a valley between the hills.

Below the heather moorland that surrounds Berriedale wood.


  1. Always thought that Orkney was
    treeless, glad to find out, that
    this is not so.

  2. Have you ever thought about doing a calendar? That first view reminds me of my beloved Kentucky (USA). I also like the photos of Button and the hens.

    Thanks for such an enjoyabloe site!

  3. Gorgeous photos, Sian and the views remind me of our beloved Sutherland where again the only trees are in sheltered places. Sorry to be so dilatory about reading and commenting on your blog, but I am catching up - honest!

  4. These lovely photos make me feel that I must return to Orkney and visit Hoy.

  5. Pat - There are fewer trees here than many other places but there ARE trees here where they can cling to the earth and get a bit of shelter! Some woodland too.

    Karen - Thank you for your lovely comments! No organised enough to do a calendar I'm afraid! But thanks for the comments!

    Perpetua - I love Sutherland too. I'm trying to catch up with my blog reading too! Summer is a time of activity. Autumn/Winter a time to catch up with friends....

    CP - oh yes you would love Hoy! Rackwick has a special place in my heart.

  6. We had our five best holidays ever on Orkney and spent four of them on Hoy, so it was lovely to see these photos.