The Old Man of Hoy
The Old Man of Hoy
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  • Jon D
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great day out without the car
    Staying on top of the cliff was a challenge but the views of the Old Man were amazing. We had no transport but got ferry to Linksness and had booked a taxi with Mr Clark (because walking not easy after 2 hope replacements).Albert showed up in his blue minibus and we had a very enjoyable ride to Rackwick and later he returned to take us to ferry. Offered some diversions to other places of interest. Font of knowledge because he and his family have lived on Hoy all their lives. Very reasonable fare, so much so that we gave a 50 per cent tip
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 July 2023
  • Jaymie A
    31 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Spectacular place to visit and to camp over night.
    Absolutely amazing place to visit. We parked in Rackwick Bay Car Park. We walked up to the Old Man of Hoy from there. Took us around three hours to complete the trip. All clearly signposted. Just make sure you have a good pair of walking boots and plenty of water and snacks as there’s no shop in Rackwick. We then camped for the night in the Bothy (field) …. Again a nice nice place to stay - it has a public toilet that can be used - a bit unsavoury but essential when needed. If you’re going to camp ensure you bring plenty of drinking water - there is a tap you can use but it advises to boil before drinking. On the whole a beautiful place to visit and stay.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 10 August 2023
  • ilovewhisky
    Manchester, United Kingdom48 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great day out
    Well worth making the effort if you're visiting Orkney and like this kind of thing. We got the ferry from Stromness to Linksness and booked Mr Clark's minibus to take us over to Rackwick to start the walk (paid £5 per person each way and he was very prompt and reliable). There's an interesting little exhibition room by the hostel with some history about Hoy and the Old Man, and you can look inside the old schoolhouse. The walk was an easy one with the kids (ours are 7 and 9) and a very clear path. Had lunch and an ogle at the two climbers who were halfway up the Old Man and then went back and waited on the beach for our pick-up time to go back to Linksness. There's a great little cafe there for while you wait for the ferry which was very friendly and had nice cakes. All in all a great day out :O)
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 30 August 2023
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ilovewhisky
Manchester, UK48 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
Well worth making the effort if you're visiting Orkney and like this kind of thing. We got the ferry from Stromness to Linksness and booked Mr Clark's minibus to take us over to Rackwick to start the walk (paid £5 per person each way and he was very prompt and reliable). There's an interesting little exhibition room by the hostel with some history about Hoy and the Old Man, and you can look inside the old schoolhouse. The walk was an easy one with the kids (ours are 7 and 9) and a very clear path. Had lunch and an ogle at the two climbers who were halfway up the Old Man and then went back and waited on the beach for our pick-up time to go back to Linksness. There's a great little cafe there for while you wait for the ferry which was very friendly and had nice cakes. All in all a great day out :O)
Written 30 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

empathology
Rotterdam, The Netherlands542 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
The Old Man of Hoy is undoubtedly a must-see if you’re in Orkney. It stands majestic and proud against the battering Atlantic waves - but who knows for how long?
The challenge is how best to see it as it’s a little off the beaten track and having just returned, below are some tips I learnt on how to do this in a day...

Hoy is a (beautiful) island off the Orkney mainland. The only way to get there is 2 ferries both run by Orkney Ferries:
1) Car & passenger from Houton to Lyness on the south-east of the island
2) Passenger only from Stromness to North Hoy (also called Moaness or Linksness) on the north-east
The Old Man is in the north-west, nearest village is Rackwick and approx 5 miles from Moaness, 13 miles from Lyness. Then it’s a 3 mile walk up the cliffs to get to the Old Man itself.

If you’re taking a car, you’ll need to book a spot on the Houton-Lyness ferry well in advance, especially during the summer season. And it’ll be expensive.
Better to take the Stromness-North Hoy ferry. Book this in advance as we found a few people being turned away (booking the day before should be OK). The 10am out and 4:30pm return gives you plenty of time.
Note: The website doesn’t email a ticket, the guys on the ferry have a list of booked passengers so they tick you off their list.

There’s a ridiculously cheap local taxi (actually a mini-bus) that will pick you (and others) up from the quayside and take you to Rackwick, then pick you up later for the return. Again, booking essential though a day or two before should work. +44 (0)1856 791315, cash-only, but do tip heavily, he’s a lovey guy!

Once there, it’s a well sign-posted 3-mile walk to the Old Man. As others have said, the first third is moderately steep up a stoney (not gravel) path. So walking boots or shoes strongly recommended. The rest is a gentle stroll. We saw some people with bikes, but I suspect they pushed the first third. Less well sign-posted on the return, so get your bearings as you go up (we got a bit lost as we approached Rackwick but a local helped us!).

It’s possible to walk there and back but that’s tough in the time available (unless you get the first & last ferries). Some of our fellow travellers got the mini-bus out and returned back over the hill on a reasonable path (approx 4-miles).

There’s a very good cafe 2-minutes from the quayside (summer only).
Toilets only at the quayside or cafe.
Suggestion: Go on a sunny day as the blue sky and white sandy beach below you at Rackwick will do wonders for your photos!

Do go - you won’t regret it!
Written 29 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jaymie A
31 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Absolutely amazing place to visit. We parked in Rackwick Bay Car Park. We walked up to the Old Man of Hoy from there.
Took us around three hours to complete the trip. All clearly signposted. Just make sure you have a good pair of walking boots and plenty of water and snacks as there’s no shop in Rackwick.
We then camped for the night in the Bothy (field) …. Again a nice nice place to stay - it has a public toilet that can be used - a bit unsavoury but essential when needed. If you’re going to camp ensure you bring plenty of drinking water - there is a tap you can use but it advises to boil before drinking.
On the whole a beautiful place to visit and stay.
Written 10 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ron F
North Finchley, UK260 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Couples
Top walk. Allow 3 hours there and back from Rackwick car park. Steep at first but then more level and slightly downhill. Wonderful view at the end!
Written 8 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jon D
2 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2023 • Couples
Staying on top of the cliff was a challenge but the views of the Old Man were amazing.
We had no transport but got ferry to Linksness and had booked a taxi with Mr Clark (because walking not easy after 2 hope replacements).Albert showed up in his blue minibus and we had a very enjoyable ride to Rackwick and later he returned to take us to ferry. Offered some diversions to other places of interest. Font of knowledge because he and his family have lived on Hoy all their lives. Very reasonable fare, so much so that we gave a 50 per cent tip
Written 19 July 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Paul Davison
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2022
A stunning sea stack. Amazing to get so close to this magnificent structure.
Well worth the long walk along the cliffs. The walk would have been easier in summer than on the very windy November day we did it however - although we did see a waterfall being blown uphill on the way!
Written 26 November 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JulesA73
St Just, UK182 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Family
We were slightly anxious about this walk as we had read it was challenging. However, I think it would be more accurate to say its a moderate hike. It took us about an hour with our 10yr old.... Who hates walking....and we all really enjoyed it.

The views are stunning and a must see.
Written 29 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Benjamin S
80 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022 • Couples
It’s a beautiful walk on a beautiful remote island. You can do the roundtrip in 2h if you walk briskly. I recommend allowing yourself 3h for the roundtrip which allows for a slower pace and hence you have time to look around. Also give yourself 30 minutes to just be at the old man and to take in the sights. The path is well established and easy to follow. I’d recommend some good hacking boots because on some parts of the path you have a lot of loose rocks laying around. And some sturdy boots will make it that much easier to walk on/over them.

The walk starts at the free Rackwick car park. There is also a Toilet nearby.

How to get there? From what I could gather, the following options are available (August 2022) from Orkney:
If you travel on foot, take the orkneyferries from either “Stromness to Nord Hoy” or “Houton to Lyness”. Nord Hoy and Moaness seem to be the same harbour. From there you can take a Taxi (pre book at least 24h in advanced) to Rackwick (I can’t confirm that since I didn’t take a Taxi). From “Nord Hoy” you can also take the “Rackwick Glen Walk” (app. 2h one way) to Rackwick.

Traveling by car you must take the ferry from “Houton to Lyness”. From there it’s a app. 20-30 min drive depending on fast you can go. Be aware that the streets on Hoy are quite bumpy, often single lane and not that manageable.
If you fancy an even longer walk you can head out to St John's Head as a roundtrip or walk on till you reach Nord Hoy / Moaness from where you can take the ferry back to Stromness, Orkney.

We went on a Saturday and took the 0950 am ferry from Houton and the lates available ferry at 0330 pm which gave us 4.5 h on Hoy. We were pressing for time on our way to the old man and managed to get there in 1h. After 30 min we started our journey back and reached the car park in under 90 minutes. So, forth, and back in 3h with a half hour break but with a speed run on the way up. We both are accustomed to long walks (dog) but not most the experienced hikers.
From what we have seen of Hoy, we’d like to encourage you to stay one or two days on Hoy.
Written 30 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Geoffrey R
Hawick, UK37 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022 • Couples
Awesome! Three climbers ascending. Made it to the top. Walk to Rackwick or take bus with Albert.£5 each way. Worth it. About a 14 ,mile walking trip if you don't. Fool museum in Rackwick quaint.visit to Benth'ill cafe at end to finish off a super day.
Written 23 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jean O
Plymouth, MA32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022
A goal for me was hiking to the Old Man of Hoy. I have to write that this was challenging for me. I'm in decent shape for an old gal but I also have an unstable knee and this caused problems on the hike to the Old Man. The trail was not smooth or even close to smooth. Lots of rocks and stones scattered across the trail. I used trekking poles but had to tread carefully in order to not stumble or blow out my knee. I did make it and felt good about it, but it was slow going. I met a young man who was from Hoy and he stated that for some reason the trail has not been maintained. For someone young and in good shape, not a problem, but for anyone with mobility issues or knee issues, it's tough going. So, just a warning....
Written 19 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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THE OLD MAN OF HOY: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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