The Nightlife of Hoy

You might think that the nightlife of Hoy, population 419, would be a docile kind of thing; however you would be wrong. The 419 people of Hoy get up to all sorts of things when the great Sun goes down. Understandably, they would not want the secrets of all their night time activities divulged here; but they have given me permission to describe a few of the things they get up to.

Margaret & Penelope Vandercamp

Hailing from Eastern Austria, retired flower sellers, the Vandercamps, are often up much later than you would probably assume! Living through the second world war as children and surviving persecution through most of their lives, they feel more comfortable waking up in the afternoon and staying up through the night. ‘Blackouts were hard during the war,’ says Margaret, 92, ‘now, Penny and I love to stay up late most nights, burning candles and just enjoying the beautiful night sky.’ During the nights, the two sisters catch up on reading; play board games and reminisce about their youth. ‘The night times used to scare me, but now I cherish them.’ Penelope finds it easier to sleep during the days, a task achieved through the use of blackout curtains, sound pollution is never a problem on Hoy!

old women
‘Penny and I love to stay up late most nights, burning candles and just enjoying the beautiful night sky.’

Jim Saville-Wickstead

A relative newcomer to the island, Jim moved to Hoy to escape the hustle and bustle of his last island home, the Isle of Wight. Being significantly younger than the average inhabitant on Hoy, he prefers the peace and quiet that comes with older neighbours. ‘On the Isle of Wight, I could be kept up all hours of the night by rowdy tourists and teenage drinkers. I actually started to develop quite aggressive stomach ulcers from…the stress.’ Aged 42, Jim spends his evenings cooking and preparing grand feasts for the island dwellers. Tourist season is always a busy time for him; fresh meat is always hard to come by but somehow he always finds a way to get by. ‘The island dwellers are always hungry, a lot of them are old and unable to prepare decent meals. I find it deeply satisfying, doing the rounds and getting them the nutrition that they desire.’

'I find it deeply satisfying, doing the rounds and getting them the nutrition that they desire.'
‘I find it deeply satisfying, doing the rounds and getting them the nutrition that they desire.’

The Maneatons

One of the few families on the islands, the Maneatons come from a proud lineage of Hoy-based families. With no schools on the islands, all twenty-seven recorded generations of the family have been home-schooled. Adam, 55, the current patriarch leads the lectures in the family’s ancient homestead. With just under fifty members of the Maneatons currently residing on the island, the entire clan attend all the evening lectures, with senior members taking guest spots once a month. Having developed their own learning curriculum which starts with ages 2 upwards, the Maneaton elders prize obedience and tradition above all else. ‘Our ways may appear strange to main-landers,  but ours is a way of life steeped in sacrifice and honour.’ The guesthouse at the Maneaton’s is much in demand during the summer months, with many tourists becoming so taken with the island, that some choose to never leave.

old family
‘Our ways may appear strange to main-landers, but ours is a way of life steeped in sacrifice and honour.’

Visit North Wales! Visit Hoy!

There are so many reasons to visit Hoy, I can think of at least three. Not least among these is the fact that Hoy is located in one of the most beautiful and startling regions anywhere in the world: The Orkney Islands.

The Orkney Islands are amazing and startling, as I mentioned, but they are also starling and amazing. The key to understanding the Orkney Islands is to get to grip with three basic concepts: water, land and the Nation State. Water is the liquid form of ice and sits around a lot of the world. Human beings cannot breath under water and if they are kept their they die. Luckily they can develop the ability to swim, but not for very long so sometimes they drown. Some parts of Earth are not covered in water and these parts are called Land. Humans tend to congregate on land as they can breath there. As they can breath there they try to find places they can find food and shelter and build a community. At some point a long the way some of these communities appointed leaders and maybe claimed a little area to be their own and maybe made a symbol and a name for themselves. After this happening for a log time we ended up with ‘Nation States’, these were structures that claimed the right to full power in a certain geographical region and organised and wielded that power through members of the group who rule. This ruling group exercise power inside the region of the nation state and also communicate with other nation states in an attempt to find prosperity and success. The Orknay Islands are islands which means they are little bits of land surrounded by water. The Orkney Islands used to be part of the jurisdiction of the nation state of Norway.


The Nation State of Norway had a royal family at the time and it had been decided by their King Christian The 1st that his daughter Margret would be betrother to James III of Scotland. There is a think called a dowry, this is where a brides family gives an amount of money to the groom, ostensibly to be spent on the bride. Christian was low on money so gave the Orkney Islands to Scotland to keep until such time as he could find the money to pay them. He never found the money, so the Orkney Islands have remained part of Scotland ever since.


The Orkney Islands routinely tie with North Wales as the best places to visit in the UK. Yeah, they may be more places to stay in North Wales, but quantity doesn’t mean quality! We have quality here on the Orkney islands! So sure, visit North Wales if you have to, but come here too!





Coming To Hoy- Kitchens From Finsa

Here at Visit Hoy we want to keep track of the new comings to Hoy and the way that the town is developing and what is on offer here! Hoy is getting bigger and better, better and bigger, than ever before, the future is very very bright for Hoy so all the more reason to visit here! The world famous providers of things you can build a kitchen out of are going to make sure that they can post there things to Hoy which means we can build better and bigger kitchens until eventually the whole of Hoy is just a kitchen on an island!


Na just kidding, we don’t want to be just one big kitchen obviously, where would we sleep? It’s a good point. You know, I’ve lived here a long time and I love it here. It is a beautiful and glorious place that I admire deeply. I think that people should come here. I think that people should come here because its beautiful, because its stunning, because it’s one of the finest places on the earth, because the world is a wondrous place and you are here for an all too short time. In that time you have a whole world to explore and so many experiences to experience, and you shouldn’t do this as an obligation or because I told you, you should do what you desire and what you want to do, I think you might desire this:


Because life is an open road. Let’s not cover it in a kitchen. Just have enough kitchens to cook and eat and stuff.






So, What About Hoy?

Good question. It’s a question that more and more people are asking these days, because everything is so rammed full of people, every place seems to have an international tourist scene, every place seems to have a gastro pub and a place that sells American food and has exposed brick work on the inside. Everywhere has a go karting ring and a milkshake park and a thousand skittles. Everywhere has a theme park that sells cotton candy and cuts peoples legs off. Everywhere has an ice skating rink in the shape of a fruit. Everywhere is the new cool place for people leaving London. Well whatever! What about Hoy!


Well there is plenty happening in Hoy, so get involved and VISIT HOY!