MV Hoy Head

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Hoy Head.jpg
MV Hoy Head at Lyness, Hoy.
Civil Ensign of the United Kingdom.svgUnited Kingdom
Name: MV Hoy Head
Owner: Orkney Islands Council
Operator: Orkney Ferries
Port of registry: Kirkwall
Builder: Appledore Shipbuilders, Devon
Completed: 1994
General characteristics
Class and type: MCA Class IV
Type: Ro-Ro Vehicle & Passenger Ferry
Tonnage: 358 GT (before lengthening)
Length: 53.5 m (175.5 ft)
Beam: 9.8 m (32.2 ft)
Draft: 2.5 m (8.2 ft)
Ramps: bow/stern
Installed power: 2   Volvos (2 × 370 kW)
Speed: 11 knots (20 km/h; 13 mph)
Capacity: 125 passengers; 24 cars or approximately 100 tonnes
Crew: 5
Notes: [2][3]

MV Hoy Head is a Ro-Ro vehicle ferry operated by Orkney Ferries.


MV Hoy Head was built by Appledore Shipbuilders in North Devon in 1994.[2] In 2013, the ferry entered Cammell Laird shipyard to be lengthened to increase her capacity. The work involved cutting the ferry in half and inserting a newly built section amidships, as well as a general overhaul which included upgraded passenger and crew spaces, uprated engines, replacement of the steering/propulsion units and the addition of a second bow thruster.[3]

She is the fourth vessel of the same name. An earlier one was a former naval ferry (originally MFV 1258) operating from Houton to Lyness.[4] She was fitted with a 150 hp Gardener engine, but now lies derelict in Irvine harbour.[5]

Hoy Head (III) was built in the Faroe Islands in 1973 for Shetland Islands Council, operating as Geira, between Yell and Unst. She was sold to the Orkney Island Shipping Company in 1986 and superseded in 1991 by Thorsvoe, remaining as the secondary ferry to the South Isles until the introduction of Hoy Head (IV) in 1994.[6]

Steamship Hoy Head, built by Abercorn Shipbuilding Co. of Paisley, was launched on 18 October 1883 and sank off Cornwall on 12 November 1887.[7]


Hoy Head has one passenger lounge below the vehicle deck. These have no external windows and in favourable weather passengers, particularly tourists during summer season, often use the high-level open side decks.[8]

The vessel is fitted with two Rolls Royce azimuth thrusters fitted during her lengthening, replacing the previously fitted Schottel units.[3]


MV Hoy Head operates the South Isles Service in Orkney, between Houton and Lyness on Hoy.[9] She also serves Flotta and South Walls.

During the summer months Hoy Head was joined by Orkney Ferries spare vessel MV Thorsvoe to supplement the increased volume in tourist traffic, however this practice was abandoned after summer 2012.


  1. ^ "Hoy Head". Marine Traffic. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  2. ^ a b "MV Hoy Head" (PDF). Orkney Ferries. Retrieved 19 February 2010.
  3. ^ a b c "MV Hoy Head". Cammell Laird. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  4. ^ "No: 1157 Hoy Head coming in to Lyness in 1975". Orkney Image Library. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  5. ^ "No: 1482 Hoy Head nowadays". Orkney Image Library. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  6. ^ Neil F King. "MV Hoy Head (III), 1989". Flickr. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  7. ^ "No: 24 Hoy Head at Scapa". Orkney Image Library. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Flotta & Hoy Ferry". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  9. ^ "Internal Ferries". Orkney Islands Council. Retrieved 19 February 2010.

External links[edit]

Media related to Hoy Head (ship, 1994) at Wikimedia Commons