Old Man of Hoy

Perhaps the most iconic and famous of all British rock climbs.

The Old Man is the largest sea stack in Britain (130m) and as such was the subject of the 1967 BBC first ever outside broadcast. When Sir Chris Bonnington, Tom Patey and  Joe Brown to name a few, climbed to the top of the stack via the Normal Route. Watch the Orange House Video.

Given HVS 5b (well wasn’t every thing given HVS in the 60’s!) it now weights in at E1 4b 5b 4b 4c. Followed by a long 3-4 pitch abseil.

Not just the Old Man! Perhaps Orkney should be renamed Stack Island! Even the front cover of the SMC guide has a picture of North Gaulton Castle on Orkney Main Island.

So if you’re going to make the effort to get there lets do these as well!

Yesaby Castle 25m E2 5b with a simo abseil descend and Tyrolean access.


North Goulton Castle 50m HVS 5a, which entails a 6om abseil, 50m swim, do the route and ab off, swim back and 60m Jumar. We’ll provide the Jumars, you provide the swim wear!


The Old Man himself, which entails, a ferry crossing, a taxi ride, 50 minutes walk in, a trouser filling walk down, climb the route, ab off, a trouser filling walk up to the head land, 50 minute walk back, taxi, ferry and then sleep!

These aren’t just rock climbs, these are some of the best adventures in Britain!

Getting there?  By air to Kirkwall airport from, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow, London, Birmingham and Southampton. We can pick you up from the airport and provide transport for the duration of your stay. By car Pentland Ferries is the quickest and cheapest option.

Where to stay?  Camping  at Stromness. Hotels at Stromness. B&B at Stromness.

When?   The next trip is being planned for summer 2014 from the 14th July.

What to bring?  Your usual harness and prefered belay device, rock shoes, chalk bag and helmet. Warm clothing and shorts. We can provide  the rest of the climbing equipment.

Book now.  Click to Email



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