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The Old Man of Hoy, Hoy

4.9
#3 of 12 in Parks in Orkney Islands
The Old Man of Hoy is a 449-foot sea stack on the island of Hoy, part of the Orkney archipelago off the north coast of Scotland. Formed from Old Red Sandstone, it is one of the tallest stacks in Britain. The Old Man is popular with climbers, and was first climbed in 1966. Created by the erosion of a cliff through hydraulic action some time after 1750, the stack is no more than a few hundred years old, and may soon collapse into the sea.GeographyThe Old Man stands close to Rackwick Bay on the west coast of the island of Hoy, in the Orkney Islands, Scotland, and can be seen from the Scrabster to Stromness ferry. From certain angles it is said to resemble a human figure.Winds are faster than 8m/s for nearly a third of the time, and gales occur on average for 29 days a year. Combined with the depth of the sea, which quickly falls to, high-energy waves on the western side of Hoy lead to rapid erosion of the coast.GeologyThe Old Man of Hoy is a red sandstone stack, perched on a plinth of basalt rock, and currently the tallest sea stack in Britain. It is separated from the mainland by a 60-metre (200 ft) chasm strewn with debris, and has nearly vertical sides with a top just a few metres wide. The rock is composed of layers of soft, sandy and pebbly sandstone and harder flagstones of Old Red Sandstone, giving the sides a notched and slab-like profile.
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The Old Man of Hoy Reviews
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  • August 14, 2017
    Park at Rackwick bay and take the 3 mile walk to see the old man. Great walk with stunning views. The tip of the old man comes into view as you approach but nothing can prepare you for the breathtakin...  more »
  • August 4, 2017
    Great walk, it's easy and doesn't take the three hours they say. The heritage museum at the end is well worth a look. Take the walk back on the post route to the ferry too.  more »
  • July 26, 2017
    The drive up to Rackwick Bay is glorious enough in itself but walking around the beach and then seeing it from the cliff top walk is something else. If you take the ferry between Scrabster and Stromne...  more »

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