Hoy takes its name from the Old Norse - 'Haey' means the High island. The second largest of the Orkney isles, Hoy differs markedly from its neighbours. The northern and western parts are a wild and inhospitable place of rugged, steep-sided hills - the highest in Orkney - fringed by some of Britain's most magnificent coastal cliffs. These culminate in the mighty bastion of St John's Head, but their fame rests on the iconic sea-stack of the Old Man of Hoy, a popular walk from the fine bay at Rackwick.
To the south and east the wildness relents into a fringe of more fertile land and small villages. South Walls - just offshore - is linked to Hoy by a road causeway; it offers a very fine coastal walk along its southern cliffs. Offshore is Flotta, the site of Orkney's oil terminal.
|Lyness Wartime Trail and Wee Fea hill, Hoy||6km||2 - 2.5 hours|
|Lyrawa Hill and Scad Head, Hoy||3.75km||1.5 - 2 hours|
|Rackwick Glen - Moaness to Rackwick, Hoy||7.25km||2 hours (one way)|
|The Old Man of Hoy from Rackwick||9.25km||2.5 - 3 hours (return)|
|Ayre to Cantick Head coastal circuit, South Walls||13km||3.5 - 4.5 hours|
|Ward Hill and the Dwarfie Stane, Hoy||12km||4 - 5.5 hours|
|Cuilags, St John's Head and the Old Man of Hoy circuit||20km||6 - 7 hours|