Monday, September 23, 2013

Britain Day 5 - Hoy Island

On a cool, misty morning, we drove onto the car ferry at Houton which took us to Lyness on Hoy.  It was cold and windy outside, so I didn't stay on the deck long and missed seeing the dolphins.  But I guess you can't see everything.

Right from the pier is the Scapa Flow Visitor Center.  We poked around a little in the museum, there is a lot to see there.  We left and decided to drive northwards first.

Up in the northeast part of Hoy is Beneth'll Cafe.  It's a little place with great views over the sea.  Hubby had the special, I had a sandwich and hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream.  The lady was glad we stopped in, she didn't think there would be anyone about since it was a rainy day.  We might have been the only ones to order her special!

There is a little walk from the road to the Dwarfie Stane, which means a Dwarf Stone.  It's actually an ancient hollowed out rock that was believed to be a burial place.

Path to the Dwarfie Stane

Another couple from southern California that were staying at Brinkie's took the same ferry over and said they were going to see the stone too.  But we found out later that they thought the weather was too bad to go out in.  It pays to be a Minnesotan - a little rain and wind makes for good hiking weather.

Almost to the Dwarfie Stane
Visibility was low so we weren't able to see the top of the hills around us very well.  But it gave the hike and the stone an ancient sort of feeling.  We could barely see the road and heard no cars, in fact we saw only 2-3 on the road the entire time we were on Hoy.

Looking back towards our car
 After the hike we headed southward since we had the time to see the Hackness Tower and Battery.  The drive from top to bottom took about 20 minutes.
Other islands off of Hoy
The landscape of Hoy had different textures from the Mainland.  The peat heather was almost everywhere on the hills.  I was surprised at how open it was, but shouldn't have been.  When I hear the words "peat bog" I think of  swampy places.  But this was just a bit of purple heather on the ground and no trees.  There were never very many trees to see in the Orkneys, they haven't a chance in the wind and storms.
Scenery along the coast
 There was only a couple other people at the Hackness Tower and they were about to leave when we arrived.  The rain continued and I belatedly remembered how quickly tennis shoes get wet in wet grass.  The guide was very talkative and was glad to see us since he wasn't very busy.  We toured inside the buildings then walked around the grounds.

Ironically, the tower was originally built for the war of 1812 to keep Americans out.  It didn't work very well the day we visited.

We climbed the steep ladders to the tower, during which I was glad I had on my tennis shoes.  At the top was the cannon which was never fired "in anger" or as we would say, "at war."  We could barely make out the tower at the other side of the bay, on a clear day the views must be quite lovely.

One of the things i had wanted see was a seal before we left the Orkneys.  But with the talkative guide (he was interesting just very talkative), we didn't have much time to look.  As I was watching out of the car window on the way back to the ferry, I spotted something dark in the water.  I had found a selkie.

Back on the Mainland, we dined at the Merkister Hotel.  While deciding what to eat, I saw the people at the next table with what looked like a pot pie with a large fluffy crust.  I asked them what it was.  The parents said "meat pie."  Their son, who was college aged must have realized we were tourists, clarified by saying, "kidney pie."  I thanked them politely and looked back to the menu for something else to eat.

Of course their lemonade was "on tap" meaning a lemon flavored soda.  So the answer to the question that I wondered before I left for Britain, "do they serve Arnold Palmers?" and if so, what do they call them?  Probably was no.

To view larger pictures, click on the photos.
To view all the posts for Britain 2013, click here.

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