The island of Hoy is usually the first island that outdoor enthusiasts think about when Orkney is mentioned, especially among climbers seeking to conquer the Old Man of Hoy. This 450 foot sandstone sea stack now attracts hundreds of climbers every year but was first climbed in 1966 by Chris Bonington and broadcast live by the BBC. There is no doubt the sheer scale of the Old Man is best appreciated from the sea!
St Johns Head, the U.K’s highest vertical cliff, is only 3 km north of the stack and is equally awe inspiring standing at 1,128 feet. believe me when I say it makes you feel very small you are when you sit under it in a kayak!
The entire coast of Hoy is an absolute delight to explore and an overnight camp in Rackwick Bay is almost essential with its cozy stone bothy and spectacular surf beach nestled amongst the hills.
It is quite common to see whales, dolphins, porpoise and basking sharks along this coast so keep a camera to hand!
A circumnavigation of the spectacular island can be a fantastic weekend trip, alternatively it could be broken down into several day trips.
A return trip from Stromness to The Old Man of Hoy is manageable in a long day trip for the more experienced paddler and favorable tides.