Yesnaby Cliffs, Stromness

4.7
#5 of 18 in Things to do in Stromness
Yesnaby is an area in Sandwick, on the west coast of Orkney Mainland, Scotland, south of Skara Brae. It is renowned for its spectacular Old Red Sandstone coastal cliff scenery which includes sea stacks, blowholes, geos and frequently boiling seas. A car park, coastal trail and interpretive panels serve visitors. The area is popular with climbers because of Yesnaby Castle, a two-legged sea stack just south of the Brough of Bigging. The stack is sometimes described as a smaller version of the Old Man of Hoy. Yesnaby is also one of the very few places where Primula scotica grows.GeologyThe coastal cliffs are formed from the Lower Devonian sandstones ascribed to the Yesnaby Sandstone Group - a set of geological formations restricted to the Yesnaby area, and to the overlying beds of the Lower Stromness Flagstones. Fossil stromatolites from 390-400 million years ago can be found in the cliffs in the latter. They are locally known as Horse Tooth Stones from a supposed resemblance.CultureOrkney folklore has it that a woman known as the "Yesnaby Healer" had the ability to stop bleeding in any person, even over a distance. The Orkney composer Peter Maxwell Davies has immortalised Yesnaby through "Yesnaby Ground", an Interlude for solo piano.
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Yesnaby Cliffs Reviews
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  • August 18, 2017
    Well worth a visit here for stunning views - including a sighting of The Old Man of Hoy which is some distance away. There are lots of opportunities for walks in this area. Well worth the visit for th...  more »
  • August 17, 2017
    Stunningly beautiful. The sea is an amazing colour, the rock formations are incredible, and there are cute nesting seagulls in some parts. Obviously be super careful of the loose stones near the edge.  more »
  • August 15, 2017
    A short walk from the car park is enough to give the wow factor. Yesnaby Castle stack is outstanding. Lots of great photos taken.  more »
Google
  • Not much to see at the car park but walk south along the cliffs a way is this fantastic stack. Well worth the walk.
  • Absolutely stunning and dramatic sea-cliffs. A must for any visit to Orkney. The neolithic sites are fantastic but definitely don't miss out Yesnaby
  • Amazing! Definitely worth the drive and the wind.
  • Breathtaking views and interesting wartime history. Good (if somewhat windswept) spot for a picnic and great for walkers.
  • Great nature, perfect for a walk!

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