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Yesnaby Cliffs, Stromness

4.7
#5 of 9 in Sightseeing in Stromness
Landmark Tourist Spot
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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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
161 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Gorgeous!! This is Orkney. If you have a car - GO - GO - GO! The people I was with said I didn't sell it enough. It was a big surprise for them, they LOVED IT!  more »
  • Great views especially on a nice day. You need to walk to see the cliffs, stacks, sea caves but it is worth it. Care needs to be taken as the cliff edges are crumbly. There is a small car park sited o...  more »
  • These cliffs are as you imagine cliffs should be in the Orkney islands. They are probably more beautiful on a sunny day but when we were there it was blowing a gale and freezing but that just added to...  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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