December news from the Hoy Archive



Creels & Crofts The Hoy heritage project newsletter
December 2011

ST JOHN’S HEAD FILM COMES TO HOY KIRK – get your home brew on! FEBRUARY date to follow

Hoy Folk always knew that the island was one of the best places in the world and now the National Geographic agrees!

St John’s Head has made it into the World’s Top Ten Ocean Views – see here.

St John’s Head will be celebrated in the film of Dave MacLeod & Andy Turner’s historic ascent earlier this year. The film, The Long Hope: the story behind the hardest sea cliff in the world, will be showing at the kirk in February.

Dave will be up to introduce the film and answer your questions.
A trailer of the film can be seen here.

The evening will begin with a sampling of local Home brew. Get yours on the go. And what about non-alcoholic thirst quenchers? Do you make lemonade or barley water? Bring some along.  Homebakes and bannocks, oatcakes and jam –
if it’s homemade in Hoy, we want to try it!

We are keen for stories & recipes for a Food & Drink of Hoy archive feature.
EXHIBITION NEWS – opens same night as film DATE TO FOLLOW

We can keep him waiting no longer. The postponed Old Man exhibition will be opening at the Hoy Kirk at the beginning of February. The show will take the format of an ongoing exhibition- items, photographs and stories can be submitted to the exhibition throughout its run.

There is a shed being built behind the Kirk. This will give us the storage space the Kirk needs and will free up the vestry for heritage exhibitions and the forthcoming RSPB room.

Contact us here if you have Old Man Of Hoy items for the show

Old Man of Hoy Whisky label from the Commercial Hotel, Stromness, courtesy of the Stromness Museum collection.

These photographs of Clydesdales came in from Jean Thomson.
The Spence family bred horses at the Bu and Jean remembers there always being horses around.
She recalls going to the top of Ward Hill on the back of a clydesdale when she was five.
There is still a smiddy building at the farm.




Barry Curley left these photographs of a dive on the Inverlane with the Hoy archive.  She was a blockship in WW2 and only recently slipped from view. Do you have a story about the day she finally sunk? It must have been strange to see her for so long then have her disappear. We’d like to have a Diving and Shipwrecks theme in the archive.

WEATHER MAN – Do you know of any Hoy weather lore?
In the 18thC, the Rev George Low gave his description of Orkney weather – tempestuous winds, damaging rains, frequent thunder and gloom relieving auroras. Rackwick’s own weather watcher
Jeff Clark was recorder for the Meteorological Office, he still takes the readings and can tell you the rainfall of any given month. Jeff is building up a Hoy Weather theme for the archive and we hope to show some of Jeff’s cloud photographs (left) next year.  We are looking for old weather sayings, weather predictions and local weather indicators – such as observing sea state.

Rackwick enjoys a slightly milder climate than the rest of the island and it has been said – if you leave Rackwick, take a cardigan with you and put it on when you see the Dwarfie Stane.

So here we have the Rackwick weather statistics for the past few months, thanks to Jeff.

AUGUST – rainfall: 204.44mm  highest rainfall on the 27th (73.5mm) average temp 12.78°C  hottest day 13th – 20.1°C and coldest 22nd – 5.6°C.

SEPTEMBER –  rainfall: 126.8mm  highest rainfall on the 18th (17.2mm) average temp 12.86°C  hottest day of the year!! 28th – 21.1°C and coldest 17th – 3.1°C.

OCTOBER –  rainfall: 108.7mm  highest rainfall on the 5th (12.2mm) average temp 10.2°C  hottest day 31st  -16.4°C and coldest 19th – 3.1°C.

NOVEMBER – rainfall: 76.7mm  highest rainfall on the 25th (20.8mm) average temp 9.74°C  hottest day 7th  -15.5°C and coldest 24th – 1.6°C.

Cloud photographs by Jeff Clark.

Well done to Cathy Clark who has managed to gather the names of almost everyone (except a few elusive or hidden characters) at the dance at the Hoy hall. The photograph has now been dated to 1951. The list of names is now at the Hoy Kirk. There are 101 people in the photograph.

The Wild Heather Café was in the safe hands of Pat while Helen & Derek were away.
The café is open on Fridays from 11 am to 3pm for tea and cakes and soup.

The café will open again in 2012 on January 6th.

Did you know that you can now access wifi at the Hoy Centre next door to the Hoy Kirk on Fridays? That means you can take your laptop up to the centre and log on to


A word from Rebecca

image from the Talbot postcard collection
Happy Christmas and a Good New Year to everyone. Here’s to a busy time in the Hoy archive in 2012. There’s lots to get done and lots of topics for people to research.

We need you! The archive relies on local knowledge and enthusiasm. There are particular themes that we need researched. People are invited to gather all the information they can about these topics and we will be housing a small display all about the kirk in the door recess to the left of the pulpit. We plan to get a cabinet for the old communion plates to go there. This will be an archive area for everything that relates to Hoy Kirk history, are you interested in researching any of these?

List of all the ministers
Church records
The building of the Hoy Kirk
History of the manse
History of kirks in Hoy
Weddings and Christenings at the Kirk
Records for the Kirkyard

We are looking for people to take these things on as their own projects. Don’t worry about typing things up – the archive can help with all that. Each topic will have a folder and the information can be built up. If you want to discuss any of this contact us here.

Everything that you do for the archive benefits the community. Not only do you build up the archive but every hour you spend working on anything related to the Hoy archive counts, so keep a note of all the work you do.

Creative Hoy
Lastly a question – is there an art or craft activity that you would like to do a workshop on?
Or is there an activity that you can teach people? Is there something that the young people would like to learn?

If you have Hoy heritage news for the next newsletter, contact us here.

You can get this newsletter direct to your email by following this blog – see home page.


The Friends of Hoy Kirk Crofts and Creels heritage project has been funded by LEADER, Heritage Lottery Fund, Orkney Islands Council Community Development Fund, The Hoy Trust and Graemsay, Hoy and Walls Community Council.

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