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The Old Man of Hoy, Hoy

Categories: Geologic Formations, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.9/5 based on 90+ reviews on the web
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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  • We were 8 days on Hoy and are every day to the old man and his cliffs for climbing. Incredible images are created and we have enjoyed the time. Wear Hat when calm wind necessarily long clothing and possibly an insects. The small beasts can drive one crazy!
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  • The weather was forecast to be sunny so we caught the first ferry from Houton, Mainland Orkney to Lyness, and drove about an hour to the trailhead in Rackwick. Note: there is nothing in Rackwick but a...  read more »
  • Walk on well marked path to spectacular cliffs and these individual rock needle. It can be very windy. Plan for about three hours back and forth.
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