Hoy Post Office

Hoy Post Office has moved premises a few times over the years. Latterly before its closure Cathy Clark ran the Hoy Post Office from Garson.

The history of Hoy Post Office has been gathered by pupil Magnus Mackay for his Fereday project. His interest arises from a family contact, Isaac Moar, postmaster, was Magnus’ great grandfather.

There is a copy of ‘The History of Hoy Post Office’ to enjoy at the archive at Hoy Kirk. Congratulations to Magnus on his study.

You can see the Hoy Post Office stamps at the Hoy Kirk.

Photo of Cathy in the last Post Office is part of Pearl Sinclair’s Photographic Census, see here.


Isaac Moar and others outside the Hoy Post Office in the 1950s.

photograph by W Hourston, Orkney Library & Archive


Post Office and Ward Hill, Hoy, 1934. You can see Hoy Kirk behind and Hoy School, now Hoy Centre.

photograph by John Peterson, Orkney Library & Archive

‘The Hoy Express’, the mail cart service, became the subject of a popular postcard at the turn of last century. Find out more about the Hoy Express here.


5 thoughts on “Hoy Post Office

  1. I came to Hoy in 1970 at age 21 from Canada, having seen a magazine article about Hoy & being captivated by it. I hitch-hiked from London where I had relatives, up to Hoy as a kind of pilgrimage, being drawn to it by some mysterious force. At the pier I was met by Issac Moar, the postmaster who was in charge of the hostel which was in the old school. He was a wonderful man full of charm, the king of Hoy, someone told me. I had a great time there and returned a couple of times, renting a cottage owned by Isaac, which was just a wee bit down the road from the old school. It cost ten pounds for a whole week. (Those were the days) I’m not sure if it was what is known as Orgal Cottage on google earth. I think I remember Issac calling it Kings cottage, but I’m not sure. Does anyone know what cottage that might have been? On one return visit I brought my wife and we stayed at that cottage. Isaac’s son, Jimmy Moar lived a little further down the road. We never met him but I was told he worked on the oil rigs. I had a great time hiking up Ward Hill (& being dive-bombed by Skuas), & walking on top of Ward Hill ending up in Rackwick. One time my wife and I were in the cottage and noticed Issac out in the rain fixing a fence around the cottage. We said “Mr. Moar, aren’t you soaked??!!” He calmly replied ” Och, only to the skin laddie, only to the skin” My wife & I have very fond memories of Hoy and Issac Moar!!

  2. Hello Jim
    What marvellous memories!
    That would be Kings Cottage right beside the old school now Hoy Centre (which is next to Hoy Kirk). Jimmy Moar’s house down the road from that indeed. Send me your email through the contacts page and I will send you a scan from a book made by Pearl Sinclair about all the houses in the parish with text by everyone who lives there now. Thanks for getting in touch, Regards Rebecca

  3. Hi Rebecca,
    Were you able to scan that page of Hoy houses?
    Also my wife and I looked closer at the streetview image and we are wondering if the cottage right next the the old school is Kings cottage. It seems closer than I remember, but then I wondered if it was because they added to the old school when they made it the Hoy Center?
    All the best!

  4. I visited The Isle of Hoy in I think 1971. I was also met off the boat from the mainland by Isaac Moar in his Morris Minor. The doors kept opening as this wonderful character swung round the bends, telling stories of the little folk beneath the ancient stones that had to be respected. The ancient provenance of this island was already working its magic on me. Once at the Youth Hostel I was asked if I could cook as a party of climbers were coming next day. Isaac brought at least one plucked chicken and somehow a meal for the evening using the large kitchen range was made. I was fairly used to being given a “chore” in previous Youth Hostels but this was something else! It was straight away like being enveloped into a flexible family.
    I met an Afghan doctor and his partner.(the first Afghan I had met. These days in Lancaster I work with asylum seekers and many are delightful Afghans;lovely people ) Another medical student became a good friend that holiday who reassured me when we were scrambling up rocks that he had enough medical knowledge after working on a corpse, to save me if I got into difficulties! Reassuring or what!
    I have such wonderful memories of this mysterious island, crawling on my tummy at daybreak to watch the seals and on the treeless island, the terrain was open and beautiful. It still remains one of the most memorable holidays in my life.Isaac Moar was full of stories.Not just the postmaster, but preacher out in the open air Sunday service, obviously Youth Hostel warden and JP on the mainland. He bought a new car in Kirkwall and driving it to get it registered was noticed by the new eagle eyed policeman. Isaac said he had to read his own summons out in court!
    Meeting the colourful character as Isaac Moar was a rare experience and I regret not returning. My round Scotland ticket had well expired and the journey back to the South of England was going to be daunting but my gallant medical friend , Kelvin , from Sheffield whom I never properly thanked, escorted me hitchhiking safely home all the way. How fortunate was I.
    This was such a wonderful Orkney experience and I hope to return after all these years -although Isaac Moar is long gone, it was heartening to see this link.

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