One foot in Eden

The British Film Institute have released the 1978 film One Foot in Eden free to view on YouTube. The film is a portrait of Sir Peter Maxwell Davies and of Orkney.

The poetry of George Mackay Brown, Robert Rendall and Edwin Muir features, as does the ferry to Moaness, the cliffs of Hoy and Rackwick.

Throughout the film, Davies’ often sparse, experimental music accompanies the majestic island landscapes, giving a sense of both their ancient beauty and their danger. 

Davies worked across many styles of music, and the film includes extracts from Ave Maris Stella, O Magnum Mysterium and the final scene of his opera The Martyrdom of Saint Magnus. We also hear George Mackay Brown reading his own verse, as well as quotations from the works of Edwin Muir, Robert Rendell and the ancient Orkneyinga Saga.

– from BFI website

You can find out more about Max and Hoy here.

And you can catch Max and George in the Tales o Hoy episode ‘Hidden Valley of Light’ here.

Tales o Hoy Episode 5: Many things to many folk

This final journey completes our circle taking the new road (if you count a century old as new!). Meet the road builders and hitch a ride on the first motor car.

Beware the supernatural creatures of Trowie Glen and stop at the enigmatic Dwarfie Stone where Hugh Miller carved his name. Welcome the return of the Sea eagles, play with the children at the old school and end up back with us at Hoy Kirk Heritage Centre.

Listen to the audio, see photographs, links, full contributors details and further information about this episode here

Tales o Hoy Episode 4 ‘The man who was never a boy’

Join us again for the latest episode of Tales o Hoy. On this, our penultimate journey, we visit the Old Man of Hoy and hear the adventures of Orkney’s most famous sea stack including becoming a TV sensation and being wooed by mermaids.

Click here to hear the audio and visit the interactive map and a wealth of photographs and information from this episode.

Narrator: Marion Clark

Contributors: James Stockan / Gordon Hill / Lee Shields / Dan Lee / Margaret Reid / Jack Rendall / Tom Muir / Sheena Taylor / Jimmy Moar / John Aberdein (reads Tom Patey) / Iain Talbot (reads Dave Lockwood) 

Music: James Watson, Wooden Sole Music

Credits: The Orcadian / Orkney Library & Archive / Tom Patey One Man’s Mountains published by Gollanz 1971

Tales o Hoy Episode 3: Hidden valley of light

Episode 3 is here!

Wander through the township of Rackwick with its many crofts and pink bouldered beach. Haul your boat up at the nousts and listen to a fisherman’s tales. Meet the crofters, descendants of Covenanters, who eeked out a living from land and sea.

Join the artists who found something special in the valley. Survey The House That Was Built In A Day and read the sky at the Rackwick Weather station.

5 Many things to many folk Tales o Hoy

Lots of photographs and links to the stories on the dedicated Episode 3 page here.

Houses, Rackwick, Hoy, c. early 1920s. Photographed by J. Peterson.

Narrator: John Budge

Contributors: James Stockan / Elizabeth Bevan / Dan Lee / Jack Rendall / Pearl Sinclair / Olivia Thomson / Frankie Sinclair / John Eccles / Gordon Hill / Jimmy Moar / Dorothy Rendall / Anne Bevan / Andrew Parkinson / Peter Maxwell Davies / Jeff Clark / Avril Clark 

Music: James Watson, Wooden Sole Music

Credits: The Orcadian / Orkney Library & Archive / BBC Radio Orkney / George Mackay Brown Estate

Portrait of Pegal

Artist Laura Drever has kindly gifted the Hoy Heritage Centre her evocative oil painting ‘Pegal 2’. We are working out the right place for it so you can come and enjoy it when we re-open. Thank you Laura!

Laura often makes work about Hoy. Back in 2012 Laura joined us on a walk in the footsteps of botanist James Sinclair of the Bu.

Recently Laura has made a new painting called Bu. You can read about it here. Laura mentions the Triangle Trust artist workshops when a group of artists gathered in Hoy as part of a 3 islands project with Tanera Mhor and North Uist. We have the book published about the artists’ work on our shelves at the Heritage Centre.

Some of you may have seen the paper birds at Burnmouth, the bothy at Rackwick beach? Well, they were made by Laura during that residency over a dozen years ago.

‘The stone shape represented here, reminds me of the walk I took quietly every day while in Hoy – down at The Bu drawing in the sand, making marks as I followed the birds in flight, racing against the tide and watching as my drawings were no longer. Left as a memory.’

Many artists have found Hoy good for the soul. If you want to hear more about artists and Hoy, read Andrew Parkinson of the Pier Arts Centre‘s article ‘Hoy in Mind’ here. Andrew joins us for episode 3 of our audio series Tales of Hoy when we visit Rackwick, Hidden valley of light. The podcast episode will be available from this Saturday here.

photographs: Laura Drever

Tales o Hoy Episode 2: Rough Road to Rackwick

Join us on the Old Road for episode 2 of Tales o Hoy

Trace an ancient hill dyke then travel the old peat track between the hills, find Heath spotted orchids and watch mountain hares. Climb up the Cuilags to a crash site that shook the hill, then mount neighbouring Ward Hill on horseback. Linger in Britain’s northernmost native woodland at Berriedale and pass the place where a greedy witch stashed her loot.

Listen to the latest episode and see images from the stories and visit the interactive map here

Photographed by Robert H. Robertson c. 1900 image: Orkney Library & Archive.

Can you join our team?



The committee of the Friends of the Hoy Kirk are looking for someone to join the team of staff and volunteers at Hoy Heritage Centre, Hoy Kirk.

CARETAKER:  Duties will include:

  • Checking the Kirk to ensure it is presentable
  • Checking the fabric and maintenance of the building
  • Preparing the Kirk for events (ie: setting chairs out)
  • Maintaining the good order of displays
  • Cleaning all areas of the Kirk: Kitchen / toilets / entrance vestibule / vestry at rear / upstairs research room / stairway and the main body of the Kirk
  • Ordering any cleaning materials or items required for Kirk maintenance
  • The above duties will be performed on an average of three days per week (the frequency will be dictated by the number of visitors and timing of events)
  • The hours will be, on average, 4 hours per week and can be timed to suit the candidate
  • The position is between 1st June and 31st October 2021
  • The position will be paid at £8.50 per hour
  • The successful applicant will be responsible for fulfilling their own arrangements for tax

Applications for the above position to be submitted in writing please.  The final date for submission of applications is May 21st 2021.  Applications should be submitted to:  Jeff Clark, Chairman, Friends of the Hoy Kirk, Sandybraes, Rackwick, Hoy KW16 3NJ