Wee Fea Wartime Heritage Trail
- Visit Hoy - Climb Wee Fea - Enjoy spectacular views across Scapa Flow - Discover how one small island in the north of Scotland contributed to the Second World War -
The Island of Hoy is host to one of the best preserved and least disturbed World War Two defence landscapes in the United Kingdom and can comfortably claim to have the densest concentration of well preserved wartime archaeological sites in Orkney.
As the second largest island in the Orkney archipelago at around 10 miles in length by 5 miles in width, Hoy forms the west and southwest sides of the 120-160 square mile natural harbour of Scapa Flow. With substantial upland areas of high ground rising to 479m above sea level in the north, it is not surprising that the inner north eastern shores of the island have served as a welcome shelter to seagoing war vessels from the worst of the prevailing North Atlantic gales for hundreds of years. Hoy has had a long affiliation with global conflict and especially maritime warfare which can be traced from Norse activity in the 1st century AD, through the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century to the First and Second World Wars of the 20th century. In January 1939 Scapa Flow was designated Main Fleet Base for the British Home Fleet and the full land-based organisational, supply and defence infrastructure required for such a hub of Naval operations was established on Hoy. The island was transformed by World War Two (WWII) and many of the buildings and defence sites survive to this day as a lasting legacy to the impact of past global conflict on even small, relatively remote islands such as Hoy.
About the Trail
This multi-cache forms a trail that will take you on a journey of discovery across Wee Fea hill, offering an introduction to some of the sites and stories that form part of the incredible World War Two heritage that can be found across the length and breadth of the Island of Hoy. The trail visits 7 locations where WWII sites can be seen and explored with each cache box containing information to help explain what took place on Wee Fea during the war. Find each cache box to unlock the coordinates to the next trail point
The trail is also part of an outdoor education activity designed to encourage the next generation to learn more about past conflict through archaeology. Activity instructions and resources suitable for ages 11+ can be found in each of the cache boxes along the trail route. You are most welcome to join in and carry out the activities yourself, in fact we would warmly encourage you to do so we just ask that you return the activity instructions and resources to the cache boxes when you are finished.
The Wee Fea Wartime Heritage Trail was installed as part of the Legacies of Conflict: Hoy and Walls Wartime Heritage Project which ran between 2013 and 2014. It is the first of its kind in Orkney so we would welcome any feedback on your experience. Please do not take away any of the contents of the cache boxes when you leave. We know that for many other caches you are encouraged to take something but this multi-cache is different because it is part of a trail and an educational resource. Thank You.If the contents of this cache needs to be replaced or the containers repaired or removed for any reason then please let us know using the log/comments section of this page or by email. Thank you!
Navigating the Trail
- You can begin the trail either from the car park of the Hoy Hotel (where you can find toilets and hot & cold refreshments) or from one of the two car parking areas half way up the hill (if you are feeling less energetic or would prefer a shorter expedition)
- The trail can be carried out as two smaller circuits or one large one
- At each cache location you will find a set of coordinates and a clue to help you find the next point of interest
- The first cache box contains two sets of coordinates which will direct you along route A or route B. Both routes will take you to 3 cache locations before returning you to the beginning
- To complete the trail as a single circuit, make a note of the route B coordinates from the first cache box and after finding the three caches of route A, navigate to the route B coordinates instead of returning to the beginning
Please be careful!
This trail crosses rough, open terrain containing a variety of natural and man-made hazards such as steep cuttings, drops and obscured holes. Please be respectful of wildlife, grazing livestock and property. Keep dogs and children under close observation at all times.