SUP Safari Scotland – Orkney Islands of Hoy, Westray & Rousay

Having seen a lot of Orkney’s Mainland on previous visits we really wanted to check out some of the islands and top of our list was Hoy.  The Old Man of Hoy is a sea stack which is visible from the Northlink Ferry from Scrabster to Thurso.  Alternatively there is a spectacular walk around some stunning cliff side scenery.  We must’ve been really lucky as the weather on the day we had picked for the walk was superb. 

The Old Man of Hoy sea stack

As things were pretty foggy back on Mainland we decided to explore the ‘Queen of the Islands’ Westray.  Turns out Westry was pretty foggy too – and had been for 3 weeks!!  But there was still plenty to see.  We had a quick visit to the Westry airport to see where the shortest commercial flight in the world takes off from and because SUP Bloke loves all things aeronautical.  The flight to the Island of Papa Westry is just over one minute duration but conditions were too foggy for a joy flight, in fact we couldn’t even see across to the island through the mist.

Noltland Castle with it’s 70+ gun holes

Noltland Castle is a 16th century ruin which is still largely in tact.  It is more of a fortress than a castle and has over 70 gun holes to ward off unwelcome visitors.  One of the main rooms downstairs was an absolutely huge cavern which housed the kitchen and storage area.  It felt more like a dungeon than a kitchen and was pretty spooky.

The Westray Wife – Oldest depiction of the human form ever found in Scotland

The Links of Noltland is an archeological site dating back to 3300 BCE and shares some similarities with Scapa Brae.  The site is over 3 hectares and contains remains of a Neolithic village and Bronze Age dwellings.  It’s most famous find is the Westray Wife a neolithic carving which is believed to be the earliest representation of a human ever found in Scotland.  The Westray Wife now lives in the Westry Heritage Centre along with another archeological find – the intricately carved Westray Stone both of which we visited.

The Westray Stone with it’s beautiful spiral carvings

Island number 3 was on our list was Rousay.  There are approximately 15 chambered cairns on Roussay, 3 of them signposted but are currently closed to visitors however there are some pretty cool 3D models which can be viewed online.  We were able to visit Midhowe Cairn which has been preserved in a large hangar like building.  It is a burial chambered cairn which housed the remains of 24 people and is older than the Egyptian pyramids.  Next to Midhowe Cairn is Midhow Broch – and you know how much we love a good Broch!!

Midhowe Broch from above

When we got back to Orkney’s Mainland the weather had warmed up and calmed down so it was time for a SUP!  We chose to paddle at Evie Beach again as the prevailing wind was favourable and it was pretty cool to be able to view the ruins at Midhowe from across the water.

Join us next week as we return to the mainland and head east into Moray and Aberdeenshire.

If you missed part one of our SUP Safari Scotland to the Isle of Arran you can read about it here.

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