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SS Hoy Head visits Cava. restored
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SS Hoy Head visits Cava. restored

An attempt today to 'restore' Willie Watters' badly damaged picture #25656. It was a tough nut indeed, and viewers may well think this is no improvement. But the original was so interesting I had to have a try.
The folk on the rocks have lots of heavy baggage, and it seems a single small dinghy (with one oarsman) is ferrying them out - possibly just one at a time. It'll need a few trips! Trying to bring out detail, I've overcooked the photoshoppery quite a bit, but it was worth a try.
It seems hardly possible that I was a passenger myself on SS Hoy Head a time or two. Must be getting old.
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Picture added on 24 January 2012 at 18:43
Comments:
Well done Ian. Would you like to take the original and have a go with it? There is no sign of the photographer. I think it might have been a wedding. I must go to the registrar office soon and see if there was a wedding in Cava.
Added by W Watters on 24 January 2012
I too wondered if a wedding might be involved. (That thing on the left-hand man's lapel might be a nosegay, though the left lapel is usually used for that, and the 'thing' could equally well be part of the water damage.) I'm certainly willing to have a go at the original, Willie, but how are you proposing to get it to me if it's still behind glass? A high-resolution email? It might be worth checking first whether the Orkney Archive has a copy. My wild guess would be that the photographer might be Ellison; I've seen a few pics by him that had something of the same 'feel' about them.
Added by Ian Hourston on 24 January 2012
Easy, come and collect it. Just click on my name and we can arrange it.
Added by W Watters on 25 January 2012
Having now, thanks to Willie, seen the original photo I can add a little (more accurate) detail. The small dinghy is not ferrying passengers one at a time; on the contrary it seems to be almost dangerously overloaded. People are being helped aboard the ship while a few are still in the dinghy. The thing on the man's lapel is water damage, not a nosegay, but I'm still sure this is a wedding party leaving the island. The object on top of the suitcases looks like a floral spray, and the Hoy Head is liberally bedecked with Union Flags, half-a-dozen being visible in this view, not counting the 'Pilot Jack' at her bow. (Surely she can't really be calling for a pilot?) I no longer think it likely that George Ellison was the photographer - as a visitor fae sooth, albeit a regular one, he is hardly likely to have been the official wedding photographer, an invited guest, or just lurking about on Cava on the off-chance someone might get married.
Added by Ian Hourston on 26 January 2012
I think I was wrong about being a passenger on this vessel. There must have been at least one steam-powered Hoy Head after this one. The one I was on would be the vessel bought by the company at the end of WW2. She had an enclosed wheelhouse I'm sure.
Added by Ian Hourston on 08 February 2012
I think it would have been this one Ian, she only had a wheelhouse put on her later in life, unless you might be thinking of the Orcadia, she came after the Hoyhead and was also steam...
Added by Jimmy Hamilton on 09 February 2012
No Ian, there was no steam powered " Hoy Head" after this one although there was an ex Admiralty MFV which was re named the " Hoy Head" much later on. The " Hoy Head" in the picture served the South Isles from 1896 until 1956 under the ownership of R. Garden, W.J. Garden, Robert Garden LTD., Stromness & South Shipping Co., Swanson & Towers and Bremner & Co.

The " Hoy Head" was relieved on the South Isles run by the "S.S Orcadia" ex " Playfair"( I think that this will be the ship you are referring to) . She was built in 1905, but only lasted on the South Isles run until 1958. Between 1947 and 1956 the " Hoy Head " was used as back up
Added by Fred Johnston on 09 February 2012
Thanks Fred and Jimmy. As a teenager I was a passenger on both the Hoy Head and the Orcadia, so, given that the Hoy Head's wheelhouse would have been added by then, I was right the first time! I remember looking down into her engine-room, as the engineer came up for air, and thinking it wouldn't be my first choice of working environment.
Added by Ian Hourston on 09 February 2012
Having stumbled onto picture #15139 more or less by accident, I now wonder if my original guess that George Ellison might have taken this one isn't correct after all.
Added by Ian Hourston on 06 March 2014
The photographer was in fact Robert H. Robertson and the original glass plate negative is part of his collection held at Orkney Library & Archive. Another photograph of this same group is also in the collection and has the title "S.S. Hoy Head at Hoy" on the plate, so perhaps not Cava. Is that not Graemsay in the near background and the Orphir hills behind? The original plate has a wider view which perhaps makes it easier to place.
Added by David Mackie on 17 January 2015
Interesting input David. Was there no suitable pier on Hoy at that time?
Added by Ian Hourston on 19 January 2015
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