The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

A ghost on the shores of Hoy

One day, long ago, Peter Mowat was making his way from his home in Rackwick after visiting Longhope.

He was walking along the cliffs and was close to the cliff known as the Geo Heads when he met two men. One of them asked him the time and so, taking his pocket watch out to see, the stranger asked him how he had come by it. Peter replied that he had bought it in Wick, when he had been there fishing.

“There is a number stamped on the inside of the back cover of the watch, and the number is 33707,” said the stranger.

Peter replied that that might be so, he had never looked but he offered to open up the watch and take a look. Sure enough, there was the number just as the man had said.

“Go to the beach at the foot of this geo, and on a ledge there you will find my remains; in the waistcoat pocket you will find the chain that belongs to your watch. It was taken from my body by a man from Longhope, and he is afraid to come back for the chain.

"He sold the watch in Wick, you bought it in good faith: go now, recover my remains; give them Christian burial, and you will never want as long as you live. But if you fail, you will have no rest by day or night.”

After these words were spoken the two men vanished into thin air.

Peter was quite rightly terrified and rushed home. He gathered some elderly fishermen about him and together they went to the spot where Peter had met the two men and then made their way down the cliff to a cleft in the rock.

There they found the skeleton and, in the tattered remains of the waistcoat, they did indeed find the watch chain.

 The bones were brought up and were given a Christian burial in the old churchyard of Hoy.

 You can read this story in Hoy, the Dark Enchanted Island by John Bremner.