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Saturday 29 October 2016

Around Stromness - the pier head

Rooftops of Stromness
I love the wee town of Stromness, as I say frequently!  So some random photos taken around the pier head last month....

This is the sign to the Graemsay (and Hoy) Ferry.  However someone has inked out "North" Hoy....  and thereby hangs a tale.  There is no "North Hoy".  Hoy is an island, but is actually two parishes of Hoy and Walls (North and South Walls, of which Longhope and Lyness are part).  The north end is Hoy the parish.  So it's OK to say the North end of Hoy but not North Hoy. Years ago the RSPB set up a reserve on Hoy and called it North Hoy and thereafter anyone NOT living on the island has called it "North Hoy" much to the incandescent indignation of the inhabitants of Hoy and Walls. A centuries old name changed by the RSPB and then followed by the rest of the world..... Tread carefully when referring to Hoy.... ;-)

There are sheds on the pier used by fishermen, usually tanks for partans (crabs). Boxes are often arranged around the pier. Judging by the legend on the box, this one is from Loch Roag on the Orkney island of Sanday.

And near the pier head is the square, facing the Stromness Hotel. During WWII the hotel was commandeered as a military command centre.  Nowadays it's a busy hotel, with restaurant and bars and also forms part of many festivals, like the Folk Festival.

I love this trough with the horses hooves.  It has quite a history itself.

Gulls love the "crow stepped" rooflines.....

They stand on chimneys and lamp posts, screeching and calling. Hoping for scraps from the creel boats.

Also at the pier head is a statue of Orkney's own Arctic Explorer, John Rae.  The statue was created by Ian Scott of North Ronaldsay.  John Rae's story is fascinating and a synopsis can be read here

The town itself winds along the shore of "Hamnavoe", a sheltered harbour.  Houses and commercial buildings alike have piers onto the harbour.  The two nearest buildings on the right show the Pier Arts Centre (the stone one and red one).  A wonderful gallery space with regular visiting art exhibitions and those of local artists too. The Hoy hills in the background......

And as you sail into Stromness harbour you get a wonderful view of the Hoy hills....

Looking to the Kame of Hoy.  A beacon marking out the skerries. Often there are seals hauled out on the rocks.

So I hope you enjoyed your wander around the Pier head at Stromness!


  1. Stromness is a precious little town, as I can judge by photos. I like the waterfront, the skyline, the rooftops and the alleys, the colors or its absence, mainly in late sunlight. And the Arts Centre.
    I wrote a post in Ultima Thule:

  2. I've visited Stromness twice. The first time we stayed in the Stromness Hotel, the second time we ate there - but I've never noticed the horses' hooves! Shows how observant I am. I agree Stromness is lovely.

  3. I just can't get enough of Orkney. I've gone on Google Earth to check out the islands, and will now read about your John Rae. I like the look of Stromness. Cheers

    1. Me too Bonnie.

      Perhaps we should just pack our bags and turn up on Sian's doorstep. ;-)

  4. I'm with Bonnie. I love your area of the world too.

  5. Wow, I feel like I have visited too. What a wonderful post :-)