Hoy Listening – A valley of voices

Hoy Heritage Centre is delighted to have been awarded Museums and Galleries Scotland funding to undertake a community project to produce a series of podcasts celebrating the culture and heritage of Hoy.

The podcasts will be a landscape of stories and a valley of voices packaged almost like radio programmes. Five audio journeys will take in different areas in Hoy and feature landmarks, local lore, archaeology, and flora and fauna. The Hoy community will be involved in the gathering, generation and recording of the content, which will include archive and newly made audio recordings together with specially commissioned music. The downloadable podcasts will add to the experience of visitors to Hoy whilst virtual remote listeners can journey through imagined landscapes. 

The five connected audio journeys will comprise: Moaness Pier to Hoy Kirk Heritage Centre; the old road to Rackwick through the valley; the road via the Dwarfie Stone; Rackwick; the Old Man of Hoy. Each podcast will be approximately 10 minutes. They will be available to download from the Hoy Heritage website, supported by an interactive map and links to discover more about particular topics.

Hoy Heritage Centre will be working with Dan Lee, Lifelong learning and Outreach Archaeologist with ORCA (Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute). Dan has worked with the community in Hoy over a number of years and his knowledge of the area has added greatly to the resources at Hoy Heritage Centre.

Dan said: ‘Hoy is full of stories, and with the community we plan to let the landscape speak. Archaeology can be about the Dwarfie Stone, but it can also be about more recent activity such as the audacious 1967 BBC outside broadcast of the Old Man of Hoy climb. It is the layers of time that we will be building up in this creative audio project’.

Filmmaker and editor Mark Jenkins will be making new recordings with the community and weaving the audio journeys together, whilst musician and composer James Watson, who has strong family links with Hoy, will compose and play new music for the project. Mark and James have worked together on many film projects including a series of Hoy films a decade ago.

Hoy heritage officer Rebecca Marr said: ‘Like many visitor centres this past year, Hoy Heritage Centre has had to close to the public. This has had a significant impact on us, but this is a great opportunity during these difficult times to lift spirits and allow people to experience the magic that is Hoy. Whether people use the podcasts to accompany their walks in Hoy or whether they travel from their armchair, sharing heritage by hearing local stories from local voices will make their journey a real experience’.

Hoy residents living in the parish, or those who have homes in the parish, are invited to get involved by telling their stories, sharing tales or voicing up newspaper clippings.

Contact us here

6 thoughts on “Hoy Listening – A valley of voices

  1. I am very much looking forward to hearing this series from our home here in Canada. I have ancestral links to Hoy (including my great great grandfather) and have been there. Please let me know when the series will be available for downloading. In the meantime, enjoy the process of recording and producing it!

  2. I’m also from Canada & have ancestors from the 1400’s from Orkney (Henry Sinclair 1422 2nd Earl of Orkney). I’ve visited several times and love the islands, especially Hoy. So I’m very much looking forward to the ‘Valley of Voices’-sounds like a great project!!

  3. I am really looking forward to this amazing project and will be listening from Utah. I also have ancestry connected to Hoy but am still looking for actual records. Family history is that my great great grandfather William Hoy, was from Hoy and probably left the island around 1830. I am also looking forward to my first trip there at the end of May (fingers crossed!). Thank you for all the great information in your newsletters and the upcoming project.

  4. What an exciting project, and I very much look forward to listening! Although I do not have ancestral roots to Hoy, I lived in Stromness for a year as George Mackay Brown Writing Fellow (2009-10), a life-changing experience; with many visits since my return to Glasgow. I too look forward to visiting again in the spring (fingers crossed!) and in the meantime, it will be a pleasure to hear these stories unfolding. Congratulations on receiving funding for this excellent project, which I’m sure you will enjoy!

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