Date: Summer 1986
Just getting to this stunning location is an adventure in itself. Situated in the Orkney Islands in the North Atlantic, one has first to travel to the very far North of Scotland and take a ferry from Thurso to Stromness, taking in the amazing sunken German warships in Skarpa Flow. Then on by a smaller boat to Hoy itself. And then a hike across the Island to a VERY basic bothy where you can stay for free. From the bothy you can see the top of the iconic and perhaps most famous sea stack in the British Isles. Standing at 460 feet high it’s a truly stunning location and as you can see from the photos the weather was extraordinarily kind to us.
Together with my good friend Pete and my sister we climbed the Original Route which is graded at E1 5b. One of the most tricky and exciting aspects of the climb is actually during the descent when the abseil takes you over a large overhang leaving you hanging free a couple of hundred feet above the waves below!
Back in 1986 we found this reassuring sign close to the place where we were dropped on the Island by the boat. I wonder if it’s still there? Don’t forget this was in the days before GPS and mobile phones, it was a pretty remote location.
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