The reflecting sun at Hoy, Orkney
As described in my article in the 3rd Stone Magazine
, the sun has been seen reflecting from the top of Ward Hill
of Hoy as described by Sir Walter Scot in The Pirate (1821). Sir
Walter Scot got this information possibly from several other sources and
distorted it a little bit (changed midday in midnight):
"At the west of this stone [the Dwarfie Stone] stands an exceeding
high mountain of a steep ascent, called the Ward Hill of Hoy, near the
top of which in the month of May, June and July, about midday [changed
by VR: in original text midnight], is seen something which shines
and sparkles admirably, and which is often seen a long way off. It has
shined more brightly before than it does now, and though many have climbed
the hill, and attempted to search for it, yet they could find nothing.
The vulgar talk of it as being some sort of enchanted carbuncle, but I
take it rather to be some water, sliding down the face of some smooth rock,
which, when the sun at times shines, on, the reflection, causeth that admirable
There is also an other intriguing tale that relates to the death of
Orkney Mainland trows/fairies told by Sigurd
"When the preaching of Christianity became too much for the trows/faries,
they decided to abandon Orkney Mainland and head out to Hoy. To do this,
they strung a straw rope from the Black Craig (HY221110) to Ward Hill of
Hoy and began to climb across. Unfortunately, however, the rope snapped
and they fell to their deaths. The one trow who was waiting for them on
Ward Hill, upon seeing the others die, howled in anguish before casting
himself into the sea."
Could the rope be seen as the sun rays and the one trow at Ward Hill
as the sun???
Otherwise recorded instances of reflecting light are not available (to
my knowledge, if wrong, let me
know). One interesting option was mentioned by Martin
Byrne: Light could be reflected by surfaces of lakes or sea's.
Thinking about this all, could there be a relation between the reflecting
sun at Ward Hill of Hoy and the reappearing sun
seen within Maeshowe and its environment?
Overlooking all of this, I decided to ask other Orcadians also for
their help. As a result I had an interviews in The
Orcadian (Jan 11th , 2001) and on Radio
Orkney (Jan 9th, 2001).
Reflecting seen in 17th and 19th century
My article in 3rd Stone, stimulated Jeremy Harte to report [in the 3rd
stone Magazine, 33, 1999] on his findings in literature by Alfred Johnston,
Stone of Hoy, Orkney, The Reliquary 2, 1896:
"Mackaile first recorded in 1664 the experiences of proprietor of the
Bu of Hoy and after that it was again recordered now by Wallace (circa
1684). Moodie Heddle, a man living in Hoy, wrote in 1895 that he had seen
it and told also that many people of Hoy knew about this phenomena."
Reflecting seen in 1990's.
The sun is reflecting from the following two locations and this has been
seen by Terry Thomson at the Bu of Hoy (BU-1 and BU-2 in below picture)
in the summer of 1990's:
Near the Howes of Quoyawa (QUOYAW in below picture)
Here the sun reflects back to the Bu of Hoy when the sun is standing
almost above this location (approximately 13:15 over a period of a few
days around summer solstice day, possibly between June 14th
and June 26th).
According to Terry Thomson the reflection was visible for not more
than a few minutes, but because he never expected such phenomena he was
to startled (which I can imagine) and thus was not able to write things
done. This will be checked in the future.
Near Glen of Greor (GREOR1 in below picture)
Here the sun reflects back to the Bu of Hoy when it is descending (so
when the sun is above the Cuilag mountain). The precise date when this
was seen, is not clear anymore (it was though in the afternoon of a summer
day), but this will be check in future.
Reflecting seen in 2001
As with most light phenomena, this is of course not visible at one location.
As soon as a better understanding is known when it can be seen at the Bu
of Hoy, calculations will be done to determine when it can be seen at other
locations (and thus linking it with my other research).
No reflecting sun has been witnessed (even eyes were focused every
day on Ward Hill). Perhaps a dry season and bad weather around summer solstice
were the cause of this. Hopefully Terry Thomson will be able to spot it
in 2002, so watch this space then!
If you have more information, let
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