What we’ve been up to at Hoy Kirk

It’s been a while since the last post, so you’ll be wondering what we’ve been up to at the Hoy Heritage Project.

Here’s a round-up taken from our last newsletter with a few updates…..

Jeff Clark’s exhibition of his beautiful Hoy cloud studies closes on November 7th. The exhibition looked at Cloud classification, Hoy weather statistics and included books on clouds and weather. We will soon be creating a new page on the website as a home for some of Jeff’s weather images and Hoy weather station reports.

image by Fionn Mcarthur taken when he was in Rackwick interviewing Jeff & Avril for Radio Orkney about the exhibition.

Following the end of the popular Old Man of Hoy exhibition ‘The Man who was never a Boy’, we are happy to tell you that the Old Man will live on at Hoy Kirk in a permanent display at the top of the stairs. We are currently working on text panels for the stairs and we will have a table for browsing Old Man images and a book for those who have been to the top of the stack to leave their thoughts. Thank you to Cara McLean who spent two days of her summer holidays creatively putting together a panel incorporating images from the exhibition.


Cathy Clark is working on a project to gather a photograph from every wedding at Hoy Kirk. Come in and see the wedding photographs in the folder. Did you say ‘I do’ at Hoy Kirk? Contact Cathy at the Post Office or drop into the kirk on Fridays.  Remember all photographs are scanned and handed back – we don’t keep originals.   Left: Isabella Sinclair Robb & John Malcolm Freswick in August 1922. Right: Cathy Rendall & Albert Clark in February 1953.



Hoy Kirk welcomes the Hoy Moth & Butterfly cases back to the island. These are the very same cases that once hung in the Hoy Inn. They spent a spell with Sydney Gauld at The Orkney Biodiversity Records Centre where they were restored and the moths who had become too, well, moth eaten, have been replaced with photographs of specimens from the Lepidoptera collection held at the archives.  They are now protected by a light proof cloth, so come in and lift the veil on a wonderful winged world of Hoy.

Dan Lee from ORCA led training in geophysical survey at the square barrow cemeteries at Groups, Braebuster, and a survey at the Iron Age souterrain (right) tice over the summer.  The results of the surveys are available at Hoy Kirk on the archive table. We hope to get some basic equipment to do walkover surveys of Hoy sites, such as croft sites. You can contact Dan at ORCA for more information.

A new map of Hoy for visitors will soon be appearing at Moaness & Lyness.  It details Hoy visitor venues as well as points of interest. The map has been designed by Iain Ashman and funded by the Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme (thanks to them too for the benches at Moaness Pier).  Thanks to all who have helped bring the new map to life, particular thanks to Elaine Batchelor. Free map template of Hoy (left) is available for any community use, we have colour and black & white versions – if you need a copyright free map of Hoy that you can add your own text to for your event, get in touch – it’s yours.
The poster cabinets at Moaness Pier and Hoy Kirk allow the community to update information and events. If you have any posters, including local business info, leave your posters at Hoy Kirk or give to Olivia or Fay who have keys for the cabinet.

Hoy’s got talent – share yours with the project. Thanks for all the volunteer hours that have been clocked up, every minute is valuable and helps continue the work: tea-making, transport, fixing things, collecting info – it all keeps things going.

Karl has been volunteering every week for the past few months cataloguing the photographs that have been submitted. Karl put in a remarkable performance at the last Hoy Heritage night scanning photos as they came in over the evening and having the process projected on the wall.

Another person who has been putting in the hours is Pearl Sinclair. Pearl has been carrying out a photographic census of Hoy today and creating some wonderful images. We hope to make a publication of the project next year. Soon we will have a webpage dedicated to Pearl’s photographs.


Marielle Kirsten Thomson, great-grand niece of James Sinclair of the Bu, has just graduated from Heriot-Watt University Design for Textile BA hons. Marielle was inspired by the specimens collected by James Sinclair and as she says ‘the natural beauty and rhythms of my homeland’.  We are delighted that Marielle has designed and produced a set of tablecloths for the kirk, creating energetic but contemplative flora designs by repeating Sinclair’s specimens. It is wonderful to have such a functional object represent Hoy heritage in a beautiful way.  Marielle showed more of her work during the Hoy Art & Craft Open Exhibition. If you are interested in contacting her let us know here.

The HOY ART & CRAFT OPEN EXHIBITION was very popular. Congratulations to all the exhibitors – we had over 30! The exhibition ran in tandem with art & craft workshops throughout the fortnight. Workshops were held on spinning, painting, drawing, vintage crafting and Kanzashi Flowers. Thank you to Jan Judge, Diana Leslie, Pearl Sinclair & Fiona Smith.

We hope to make the Hoy Art & Craft Open Exhibition an annual event.

Life drawing class with Diana Leslie

Thank you to our project funders LEADER.

Thanks also to The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme who funded the Hoy Art & Craft workshops and the Moth & Butterfly display restoration.

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