Tales o Hoy

Join the Hoy community as they take you on a circular trip around the parish. Over thirty voices, some archive recordings and many new, will accompany you as you hear about Hoy, its people and places. Explore the archaeology, folklore, flora and fauna of the area in this immersive tour of a remarkable island parish.

Five journeys for those travelling on foot or in the mind

Each episode has it’s own page full of images and links around the stories heard in the audio.

Dark enchanted isle

From Moaness Pier to Orgil

Arrive by sea and take in the impressive view of the hills of Hoy. Meet the ferryman and watch the pier being built. On this journey you will hear about the shipwrecks of Hoy and the islanders’ rescue missions. Visit the Norse farm at the Bu, pass the medieval Kirk and hear about the bullock pulled mail service, the Hoy Express.

Photographs, links, full contributors details and further information about this episode here

1 Dark enchanted isle Tales o Hoy

Rough road to Rackwick

The Old Road

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.

Photographs, links, full contributors details and further information about this episode here

2 Rough road to Rackwick Tales o Hoy

Hidden valley of light

Rackwick

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.

Photographs around the stories, links, full contributors details and further information about this episode here

3 Hidden valley of light Tales o Hoy

The Man who was never a boy

The Old Man of Hoy

This journey takes you from Rackwick to visit Hoy’s most famous resident, the sea stack known as the Old Man. Along the way meet another famous resident, composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. Avoid the dive-bombing bonxies and meet the birds who call the Old Man home. Relive the first recorded ascent of the Old Man of Hoy in 1966, or second according to local lore, and tune in for the audacious BBC televised climb the year after. 

Photographs, links, full contributors details and further information about this episode here (available from 22 May).

4 The man who was never a boy Tales o Hoy

Many things to many folk

The New Road

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.

Photographs, links, full contributors details and further information about this episode here

5 Many things to many folk Tales o Hoy

Credits and Thank yous

This project was made possible through Museums Galleries Scotland and Island of Hoy Development Trust support and through our partnership with Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA), University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

Thank you to Orkney Library & Archive / BBC Radio Orkney / The Estate of George Mackay Brown and Bellavista Publications and Scottish Book Trust for permission to use their material.

The project development and production team are: Script editor, Sound recordist and Editor Mark Jenkins, Kolekto / Consultant and Map developer Dan Lee, ORCA / and Rebecca Marr for Hoy Heritage Centre.

Most importantly we would like to thank the contributors, our valley of voices:

John Aberdein

Anne Bevan

Elizabeth Bevan

John Budge

Avril Clark

Jeff Clark

Gordon Hill

Dan Lee

Donnie MacKinnon

Rebecca Marr

Margaret Moar

Tommy Moar

Ingirid Morrison

Stevie Mowat

Tom Muir

Andrew Parkinson

Dorothy Rendall

Lee Shields

Frankie Sinclair

Pearl Sinclair

James Stockan

Iain Talbot

Marion Talbot

Sheena Taylor

Antonia Thomas

Jean Thomson

Olivia Thomson

Terry Thomson

Archive recordings

Peter Maxwell Davies

John Eccles

Jimmy Moar

Margaret Reid

Jack Rendall

Header image: Ingrid Budge