Rackwick Bay

Nestled among the Hoy Hills is beautiful Rackwick Bay.  This crofting township is considered one of the most beautiful places in Orkney. Bounded by towering 200m cliffs and steep heathery hills, Rackwick Valley rests beside a fine sand and boulder strewn beach. It has a beauty and climate all of its own. The walk to the Old Man of Hoy starts here. Rackwick is a good place for campers with a traditional bothy building open to the use of the public.




by George Mackay Brown

Let no tongue idly whisper here
Between those strong red cliffs,
Under that great mild sky
Lies Orkney’s last enchantment,
The hidden valley of light
Sweetness from the clouds pouring
Songs from the surging sea
Fenceless fields, Fishermen with ploughs and old heroes
Endlessly sleepingin
Rackwick’s compassionate hills.


The kind of life lead by people in the isolated valley has been captured in one of the old crofts, which has been restored to its ‘original’ condition and is now open as a museum called the Cra’as (Crow’s) Nest. Cra’as Nest Museum is a traditional Croft house and Steading dating from the early 18th century. The house has two box beds and a dresser, the steading includes a byre and a barn with a kiln used for drying oats.

You will find Cra’as Nest on the way down from the Old Man or walk up from Rackwick Hostel.


8 thoughts on “Rackwick Bay

  1. Yes, Rackwick Bay is very special. My wife and I visited on September 22nd and were blessed with blue skies, sunshine and no wind! A most beautiful and inspirational spot which will indeed live long in the memory..

    • Lovely picture; thanks for uploading it.
      Did you do any painting while you were there – I see you are a painter from the link to your website!

  2. We where there eastertime 17 and we had some beautiful days with sunshine blue sky,visiting Old Man of Hoy we had also a great time visiting the historic warmuseum in Lynnes All together, a very nice Island,and spesiall Rackwick bay.A very nice place for recreation.

  3. We found Rackwick by chance in early Spring 2004, mooching round Orkney in our camper van. We both (and also our springer spaniel) loved it there, and it has remained a magical, wonderful and happy memory for me. Also found (again by chance) the Dwarfie Stane and found it incredible to crawl in, and sit in something created by people before the pyramids in Egypt were built.

  4. I was looking on Google Earth and dropped onto Rackwick Bay by mistake. Glad I did because it surprised me a lot with those huge cliffs towering over the clean beach and blue seas I’ll put this place on my wishlist and visit it when I can.

  5. A place of true wonderment and pondering, even from the pictures alone — as perceived by a foreigner who is unlikely to visit it physically.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.