Hoy Sound Low
Alan Stevenson, 1851. Single stage with lantern, circular-plan short tower standing within rectangular-plan court to N of single storey, 7-bay rectangular-plan symmetrical Egyptian-style keepers' accommodation block with coal- and dry stores to left (S). Tower: stugged sandstone ashlar with polished dressings. Base course; wide cavetto band course below cast-iron railings around balcony to lantern. Keepers' block: stugged sandstone ashlar. Base course; blocking course. Massive, tapered, raised door surrounds with band course below cavetto cornice; raised central panel to blocking course above.
TOWER: massive raised door surround with tapered pilasters supporting cavetto cornice with shallow pediment to S side of tower at 1st stage; part-glazed 2-leaf timber-panelled doors; window (blocked ) to N at 1st stage. Boarded door to S side of lantern; small occuli around lantern base; triangular glazing to lantern ; domed roof above.
INTERIOR: not seen, 1998.
KEEPERS' ACCOMMODATION: E (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: window in bay to centre. 2-leaf boarded doors with small-pane fanlights in raised bays flanking. Window in recessed penultimate bays flanking. Window in each raised bay to outer left and right. W (REAR) ELEVATION: window in each of 2 recessed bays to centre. Window in each raised bay to outer left and right. N AND S (SIDE) ELEVATIONS: blank. STORES: single bay dry store with boarded door to E abutting main block to S. Single storey, 2-bay coal stores with 2 evenly disposed boarded doors to N, sited at right angles to dry store, to S of main block.
12-pane timber sash and case windows. Platform roof; tall, tapered stacks with band course and cavetto cornice, grouped 2-4-2; tall cans; cast-iron rainwater goods.
INTERIOR: not seen, 1998.
BOUNDARY WALLS: court defined by low stugged ashlar sandstone wall with ridged ashlar cope; rubble wall enclosing large rectangular-plan garden around court; square-plan corniced, stugged sandstone ashlar gatepiers to E of keepers' accommodation block; store with 2-leaf boarded doors incorporated into garden wall to S; cast-iron tapered, fluted sundial base in garden.
Statement of Special Interest
Standing at the west end of the island, Hoy Low, as its name suggests, is a good deal shorter than its towering partner which stands on Graemsay's east coast. Its existence, however, is vital as it forms one of a pair of 'leading lights' which, when lined up, provide a safe course through the Sound into Stromness harbour. The light at Hoy Low is described as 'isophase' white every 3 seconds, and despite the tower's relatively low height of 12 meters at an elevation of 17 meters, its range is 15 miles. As at Hoy High, the Keepers' accommodation block is constructed from fine sandstone ashlar and is almost identical, if smaller, in plan and elevation. The east side consists of a row of 4 bedrooms with 2 kitchens flanking a visiting officer's room to the west. Stylistically it bears identical massive door surrounds with cavetto cornices and blocking courses, reminiscent of Egypt or of Assyrian temples. The tall, tapered stacks are grouped identically to those at Hoy High and achieve a similarly dramatic effect. A 2nd World War defensive battery was subsequently erected adjacent to the group. Hoy Low was automated in 1966.
Graemsay is an island in the western approaches to Scapa Flow, in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. The island has two lighthouses.
Geography and geology
Graemsay lies between Hoy and Stromness on Mainland Orkney, separated from the Mainland by Clestrain Sound. The island is 409 ha (1.58 sq mi) in area and is mainly crofted.
The island's geology is Old Red Sandstone of the Devonian period, with two volcanic faults. On the north coast there is granite-schist, a great rarity in Orkney.
Graemsay is surrounded by strong tidal races, known locally as roosts. An Orkney Ferries service, usually operated by MV Graemsay, links the island with Stromness and Moaness on Hoy.
Graemsay is sometimes referred to locally, as 'Orkney's green isle' due to its lush green vegetation cover.
Birds include oystercatchers, ringed plovers, redshank and curlew. Parts of the island are largely undeveloped and are a haven for wild plants.
As with many other Orkney Islands, there is a connection to the Celtic Church, possibly a pre-Norse one. There are the remains of two early churches, dedicated to St Bride and to St Columba., who are both saints of Irish origin.
The island has two lighthouses, Hoy High (NE) and Hoy Low (NW), both built in 1851 by Alan Stevenson for the 19th-century herring industry.
At the Point of Oxan in the far north west, in Burra Sound, are block vessels, which were scuttled deliberately during World War II. This is a common feature of the straits and former straits around Scapa Flow
The primary school closed in 1996 and the island's children travel daily by boat to school in Stromness on the ferry 'Graemsay.'
Two lighthouses are present on Graemsay: Hoy Sound Low and Hoy Sound High located at the extremities of the northern side of the island. The lights were built in 1851 on project by Alan Stevenson; both are cylindrical tower with balcony and lantern, even if of different heights, white painted with black lantern and the typical ochre trims.
The Hoy High Light, known as Graemsay Island Range Rear, is 33 meters (108 ft) high and has a white and red occulting light every 8 seconds depending on the directions.
The Hoy Low Light (Graemsay Island Range Front) is 12 meters (39 ft) high and is distinguished by a white isophase light every 3 seconds. The two Range lighthouses direct the vessels towards the Hoy Sound from the Atlantic.