Lighthouse Beacons from Scotland

Graemsay (Hoy)

Graemsay's Two Lighthouses - Hoy High on the left and Hoy Low on the right.
Photo by Bob Jones via Wikimedia.

Graemsay lies between Hoy and Stromness on Mainland Orkney, separated from the Mainland by Clestrain Sound. The island is under two square miles in area and the local school closed in 1996 so the island's children travel daily by boat to school in Stromness on a ferry.

At the Point of Oxan in the far north west, in Burra Sound, are block ships, which were scuttled deliberately during World War II to protect the naval base at Scapa Flow.

On the island, the most visible landmarks are its two lighthouses known as Hoy High and Hoy Low. Both structures are clearly visible from Stromness and along the southwest facing coastlines of the Mainland parishes of Stenness and Orphir.

Hoy High lighthouse was built in 1851 and the engineer was Alan Stevenson. It's night characteristic is occulting white and red every 8 seconds. The tower is 115 feet tall and has a nominal range on white of 20 miles and on red the range is 16 miles. It was automated in 1978. The graphic is by Annette Flottwell, via Wikimedia.

Hoy Low is located on the northwest of the island on the Taing of Oxan. Hoy Low has a white tower 40 feet high. The night character of the light is isophase white every 3 seconds.

Hoy Low is also called Oxan Point lighthouse. Like Hoy High it was also established in 1851 and the engineer was Alan Stevenson. A pair of leading lights are located so a ship's captain when he has them lined up correctly can pass safely through a treacherous part of the sea. The Hoy lights protect the way to Stromness and the anchorage of Scapa Flow. These lights were extremely important during World War II - much less so in recent times. The blockhouse is a World War II addition.

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