Hoy Sound High and Low Lighthouses

Hoy Sound High Lighthouse
Hoy Sound High Lighthouse

Hoy Sound High and Low Lighthouses are both located on the island of Graemsay, one of the smaller islands located between Mainland Orkney and Hoy.

With the increase in the 19th century of the herring fishing industry came the need for improvements in navigational aids.  Thus both Hoy Sound High and Low Lighthouses were constructed.

The island has two low hills, East Hill and West Hill, the latter of which has Hoy Low Lighthouse on its summit.  It marks the main channel into Scapa Flow. It is on the northwestern side, at Point of Oxan.  Alongside the lighthouse, a coastal battery was built during the Second World War.

Hoy Sound Low Lighthouse
Hoy Sound Low Lighthouse

Hoy High Lighthouse is on the northeastern side of the island on the Taing of Sandside, and the Bay of Sandside is alongside.  The bay is shallow and rocky and the Skerry of Cletts is a dangerous reef just offshore.

It was built in 1851 by Alan Stevenson and has his distinctive Egyptian style within the design.

Hoy Low Lighthouse
Photo: Keith Morton

Hoy Sound Low Lighthouse was also built in 1851 by Alan Stevenson.  The keepers’ cottages were one storey high. It was automated in 1966.

The optic from Hoy Low Lighthouse was removed and is on display at Stromness Museum.

Hoy Low LighthouseEstablished: 1851 Discontinued: Engineer: Alan Stevenson Tower Height: 12 metres Light Character: Iso W 3 s Range: 12 miles Fog Signal: Elevation: 17 metres Automated:
Hoy High LighthouseEstablished: 1851 Discontinued: Engineer: Alan Stevenson Tower Height: 33 metres Light Character: Oc W R 8 s Range: W 20 miles, R 16 miles Fog Signal: Elevation: 35 metres Automated: