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Yesnaby Cliffs, Stromness

(4.7/5 based on 140+ reviews on the web)
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
  • I've always loved cliffs and crashing seas and Yesnaby sure delivered. Fairly easy to get to, lots of parking, then get out and walk for miles and enjoy the incredible scenery. There can be heavy wind...  more »
  • Orkney is a super spot to get away from it all and this is a wonderful spot worthy of your efforts. The walking is particularly wonderful because you are likely to be on your own most of the time, unl...  more »
  • The Yesnaby Cliffs are genuinely worth a visit, perhaps better than some of the man-made attractions such as the Italian Chapel of which you can read about one evening in your hotel. But Yesnaby Cliff...  more »
Google
  • 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
  • Breathtaking views and interesting wartime history. Good (if somewhat windswept) spot for a picnic and great for walkers.
  • Beautiful cliffs over the Atlantic. Perfect place for a hike on a temperate day, great place to see massive waves during bad weather
  • Great coastal scenes, great photo opportunities
  • A stunning walk along the cliffs..too beautiful to be true!