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Bang bang birthday celebrations in Hoy

10 September 2008

Big birthday celebrations are taking place at Hackness Battery and Martello Tower this weekend for a very special resident.

Long-term occupant Johnny Cload has lived there all his life and Historic Scotland is organising a special day to mark his 88th birthday. And the occasion is sure to go out with a bang with the firing of the gun on the top of Martello Tower.

Having spent his life at Hackness Battery, Johnny is quite a character. He has witnessed at first hand the flow of history into the area from the battery being a military base to a self-sufficient working croft.

The area was purchased from the war department in 1922 by Mr Cload’s grandfather and having lived on the croft and looked after the land for so long he certainly has a lot of stories to tell.

To mark Johnny’s special birthday, Historic Scotland is holding a lively and fun event at the Hackness Battery and Martello Tower on Saturday 13 September.

Kirkwall City Pipe Band are kicking off the event which will be followed by a parade by the local territorial army. During the day games will be organised for children and adults by the Orkney World Heritage Rangers.

The highlight of the day will be the firing of the gun on top of the Martello Tower. This will then be followed by a living history tour of the site. The event is open to everyone and is sure to be a day to remember.

Ann Marwick, local visitor services manager, said:

“Historic Scotland is delighted to honor Johnny Cload on his birthday with the firing of the gun at Hackness.

“Johnny has lived  at Hackness for many years and visitors have found his knowledge and stories of the past fascinating.

“We are very grateful to him for his personal commitment to this particular property and we look forward to him welcoming visitors for many years to come. Historic Scotland staff and I are devoted to celebrating his story.”

Speaking from his home, Johnny, said:

“I’m thrilled to be celebrating my birthday here at the Hackness Battery.

“I’ve lived here for most of my life and the Hackness Battery and Martello Tower has served me well; it was a fine place to live as a boy. We spent most of our school holidays in the sea. I have very fond memories of growing up here.

“It is great that we can celebrate my birthday party and I am looking forward to hearing the big gun being fired on top of Martello Tower!”


Notes to Editors

  • The event takes place on Saturday 13 September between 11am and 3pm at Hackness Battery and Martello Tower in Longhope in Hoy.

  • Johnny Cload will be available for interviews/photographs on the day and in advance. A jpg picture of Johnny is available on request

  • Free transport will be provided from Lyness ferry and refreshments and food will be provided by RNLI Longhope Ladies Lifeboat guild.

  • There will be an educational visit on 12 September by North Walls Junior High School. Children and parents from the school are invited to the event on the 13 September free of charge as part of their educational visit. The usual monument charges will apply to all other visitors on the day.

  • Hackness Battery is an early 19th century military monument on the island of Hoy in the Orkney Islands. The battery came into care of Historic Scotland in 1995.

  • Hackness Battery and the two Martello towers were initially built between 1813 and 1815 to provide defense against French and American privateers for British Conveys assembling in the Longhope Sound.

  • Historic Scotland has 345 outstanding historic properties and sites in its care. These include some of the leading tourism attractions in the country, including Edinburgh, Stirling and Urquhart Castles , Fort George, Linlithgow Palace, the Border Abbeys and Skara Brae.

For further information

Laura Varney
PR Executive
Marketing and Media
0131 668 8959