The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

Anecdotes from Hoy


Many years ago, a man was drowned at sea near the estate of Melsetter.

A grave was dug for him at the top end of the churchyard at Osmundwall (Longhope) but it completely filled with water, as it had been dug over a spring. As the funeral company came out of the kirk, the grave was frantically being baled out by the grave digger.

The last working oxen in Orkney

It is thought that the last working oxen in Orkney was used by Alexander Barnett of Lythes. This farm is situated between Brims and the hotel and still used oxen in the 1950s.

Barnett died when he was 82, and two years earlier had cut his six acres of oats and three acres of hay with the scythe.

An old postcard showing harvesting on Hoy. Oxen were often used to work the land and were sometimes teamed with horses © Orkney Library & Archive