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Dr. Who, The Sea Devils and The Berry
by litljortindan » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:19 pm
Date walked: 03/03/2017
Time taken: 5.5 hours
Distance: 13 km
Ascent: 200m1 person thinks this report is great. Register or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
"Classification: Serco Internal
Good morning Mr Little,
Thank you for your email dated 1st February.
There are many factors along with wind speed that can disrupt a sailing – sea state, wind direction, berthing conditions, tides and swell conditions.
There are no set rules, it is always the Master’s decision."
My blood ran cold as my eyes caught sight of that last statement. The Master was alive. Not only alive, but running around in Scrabster and disrupting ferry sailings, no doubt in cahoots with his web footed nefarious sidekicks:
I had, of course, simply been trying to ascertain what sort of weather might mean ferry cancellation so that I didn't make the long drive north in vain. I had certainly not factored in the notion that a supposedly fictional Dr Who character would cause me problems.
Thus forewarned, I opted to switch from Northlink/Scrabster to Gills Bay as the latter certainly claim to be less vulnerable to the vagaries of "the weather" (probably got some sort of Unit hotline). It is also a bit cheaper.
The cliffs south of Rackwick Bay first caught my eye in 2014 on the way up to The Old Man. My return to Hoy was with a view to visiting those cliffs but I chickened out of the necessary burn crossing and headed to the southern end of the same line of cliffs instead. No great hardship -had a lovely walk along Rackwick Bay (with the occasional glance left, right and over my shoulder in case of Sea Devilry) and only a half hour journey to get to a starting point for The Berry.
DSCN7378 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7404 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7406 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7411 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7412 by John Little, on Flickr
I was struggling to find a parking spot when I noticed a guy doing something gardening so I stopped to ask his advice. He then very kindly said I could park in front of his house and even gave me route advice including a suggestion that it would be best to avoid the "caws".
Started off up through the fields to the farm track behind the house, aiming for the coast but some way along the farm track I encountered said "caws" who did indeed seem a bit too keen on saying hello so took the precaution of skipping over to the neighbouring field.
With the sun beating down (well relatively!) I elected to zig zag up through the fields rather than trying to regain the coast -just to conserve energy and water.
Some interesting smaller cliffs and geos on the way up backed by a towering red sandstone cliff behind which in turn stands beside The Needle sea stack.
A little bit exposed covering the steeper ground before the clifftop so I stayed away from the edge as far as I could.
Soon reached the high point of The Berry cliffs which yields a stupendous view north along more or less the full length of the cliff line.
I began a slow descent, aiming to time my arrival at a low point ion the cliffs, and turning point for the return route, in time for sunset. This worked out not bad though the sunset itself was a bit of a damp squib.
Set off for the moorland trudge east and promptly lost my footing on the greasy surface. No damage done, just muddy knees and arms. Still, would've been nice to avoid this.
Made it from the coast to the road in about two hours so not bad going for me. Then set off to find Stromnabank Hotel. Narrowly missed it first time round but got directions at the pub in Longhope as well as the pub dog slobbering over my hand whilst I stood chatting to the barman.
Just as well I chose to stay at the hotel and not the bothy at Rackwick as the hotelier seemed to think the bothy had been closed due to vandalism. I had been there earlier in the day but didn't think to look inside. Oh well, worked out anyway. But not before I had a few minutes' panic at the sight of an unlit hotel. The folks inside sprang into action though once I'd chapped gently on their sitting room window and they soon had me fed with fish and chips.
DSCN7359 by John Little, on Flickr
Giant concrete spangles seem to serve as sea defences at Gills Bay or are they art? Here they frame the view of a distant Berry on Hoy.
DSCN7360 by John Little, on Flickr
Zoom to The Berry.
DSCN7415 by John Little, on Flickr
I was advised to follow the coast but also to avoid the "caws" so I elected to take a zig zag route up through the fields.
DSCN7425 by John Little, on Flickr
One of many stunning cliff faces along the way.
DSCN7433 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7434 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7435 by John Little, on Flickr
A lot of surface water lower down.
DSCN7477 by John Little, on Flickr
First view north to the double waterfall in the distance which brought to mind the words "remarkable double waterfall" which I was sure I'd read somewhere. Checked my books but can't find any such reference.
DSCN7478 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7479 by John Little, on Flickr
Such a beautiful coastline.
DSCN7481 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7483 by John Little, on Flickr
Very happy to be here.
DSCN7484 by John Little, on Flickr
South to Tor Ness.
DSCN7485 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7486 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7490 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7500 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7502 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7504 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7505 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7511 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7513 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7517 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7520 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7523 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7528 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7533 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7535 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7551 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7554 by John Little, on Flickr
Looping back east via Hoglinns Water.
DSCN7555 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7556 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7558 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7559 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7560 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7561 by John Little, on Flickr
DSCN7564 by John Little, on Flickr
Ending the day with a cup of Wild Berry tea!
by litljortindan » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:22 pm
by Mal Grey » Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:49 pm
Thanks for sharing.
by Cairngorm creeper » Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:40 pm
by litljortindan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:48 pm
Mal Grey wrote:Amazing coast, those cliffs are huge, and they're not even the biggest on Hoy! The waterfall is cool.
Thanks for sharing.
Haven't been able to find a description of the walk between the Berry and Rackwick Bay which makes that coast even more intriguing I think. There are some photos with brief descriptions on geography.org.uk though.
The waterfall presents a dilemma -would love to see it in full flow but that would mean burns in spate and soggy ground. Can't have everything I suppose...
by litljortindan » Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:04 pm
Cairngorm creeper wrote:We have not visited any of the Islands and I have wondere where to start but your pictures of the Hoy cliffs is making me think this would be a good place. It looks amazing, really enjoyed your report.
The walk from The Old Man to St John's Head is pretty amazing too. But I think it is the colours of The Berry that is the most memorable aspect of this walk.
The Northern Isles were the last islands for me (apart form Hirta / St Kilda) but only because I hadn't really appreciated what there was to see in Orkney and Shetland before. Haven't been to Foula (which I believe is pretty impressive) but that aside I can vouch for Hoy being a wonderful place to visit. Still have to go to Eigg but Skye, Rum, Western Isles and Mull vy for my affection though I do like Arran and Jura too. Surely though for scramblers it must be Skye, Arran and Rum that call loudest.
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