In the rugged and equally breathtaking landscape off the west coast of Orkney Mainland, Scotland, there is a remarkable natural wonder. It is The Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack that stands in the rough ocean. This iconic landmark has captured the imaginations of all adventurers and nature enthusiasts. A team of four adventurers climbed up to the top of this dangerous rock in 2017. They carefully overcame the rough ocean to get to the rock where even a boat couldn’t reach. Dave Cuthbertson, a famous Scottish climber captured some stunning pictures of these daredevil climbers’ achievements. Let’s learn more about this fascinating Climb Up the Castle Sea Stack In Scotland.
The Castle Sea Stack: An Iconic Landmark
The Castle Sea Stack, a monolithic rock formation, stands tall and proud in the waters of Orkney. This two-legged, geological marvel has become famous for its imposing presence and unique beauty. Its sheer cliffs rise dramatically from the surrounding ocean, creating a sight that leaves visitors in awe. The stack became famous with Joe Brown and his mates. They made the first climb up this giant rock in 1967.
The Castle Sea Stack is approximately 30 meters tall, making it a towering structure amid the North Atlantic Ocean. There’s so much more adding to this landmark in the rough seas. An anti-aircraft battery was built on the top of this cliff during the Second World War. Royal Navy base at Scapa Flow stood as part of the defenses and some traces of the wartime buildings still remain.
Dangerous Climb Up the Castle Sea Stack In Scotland
In an adventure captured by former international climber Dave Cuthbertson, a group of four climbers successfully scaled a prominent stack of rocks known as “The Castle” on Orkney’s west coast. This expedition was conducted in collaboration with the BBC series Britain’s Ancient Capital: Secrets of Orkney. It shows the technical challenges and unique considerations faced by the climbers.
The climbers initiated their ascent by rigging a rope between two points on the mainland. This has allowed them to lower themselves onto a rocky ledge. The strategic approach has given access to the formidable mass of rocks. It has also offered a distinct vantage point as waves crashed into the narrow base below.
Dave Cuthbertson is now a mountain guide. He has expertise in safety and rigging for film and TV crews. Dave shared insights into the technical aspects of the climb. He emphasized the challenges posed by the region’s unpredictable weather and the presence of fulmars. Fulmars are sea birds known for defending themselves and their chicks by projecting vomit.
The chosen method for accessing “The Castle” involved a Tyrolean traverse, necessitated by the rough sea conditions during the expedition. This technique required establishing anchor points at the outer extremities of the inlet. It is with a rope spanning the cliff edge and to the stack. Special pulleys were also used to traverse along the rope, allowing climbers to reach the summit.
Cuthbertson explained the careful calculations required for adjusting the rope’s tension. They have factored in variables such as the climber’s weight, rope stretch, and the challenging 200-meter distance. The team faced complications, including high winds that led to the abandonment of one attempt.
History Of The Orkney Archipelago
The Orkney Islands, a group of more than 70 islands and islets located approximately 20 miles north of the Scottish mainland, offer a fascinating journey through time and history. With only about 20 of these islands inhabited, the archipelago boasts a unique blend of natural beauty and rich historical significance.
Originally known as the Orcades in ancient classical literature, the Orkney Islands show substantial evidence of prehistoric occupation. Various archaeological sites, including underground houses, circles, standing stones, and earth houses, showcase the island’s history. Notably, Skara Brae, an underground village on the west coast of the island of Mainland, stands as one of the most complete relics of the late Neolithic Period in Europe. Recognizing its historical importance, Skara Brae and several other locations on the island were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
The arrival of Norse raiders in the late 8th century marked a significant chapter in the islands’ history, leading to their colonization in the 9th century under the rule of Norway and Denmark. While Celtic missionaries had reached the islands in the 7th century, the Norsemen’s conversion to Christianity occurred much later. A testament to this era is Kirkwall’s cathedral, dedicated to St. Magnus, primarily constructed by Norsemen during the 12th century.
In 1472, the Orkney and Shetland Islands transitioned to Scottish rule as compensation for the unpaid dowry of Margaret of Denmark, queen of James III. This historical shift further shaped the islands’ cultural and political landscape.
Orkney Islands Today
Today, the Orkney Islands stand as a living testament to their diverse and layered past. Visitors can explore ancient archaeological sites, marvel at the well-preserved Skara Brae, and appreciate the architectural legacy left by Norse settlers in Kirkwall. As we step onto these islands, we not only witness their natural beauty but also immerse ourselves in the rich tapestry of history that has shaped the Orkney Islands over the centuries.
Tragedy Strikes: Recorded Deaths
Jamie Shannon, a 23-year-old geography graduate from Dundee University, was fulfilling his passion for tourism while working with Edinburgh-based company Haggis Adventures. While leading a group through the scenic Yesnaby Cliffs, Jamie slipped, resulting in a fatal fall. The young tourists were sent back to Edinburgh after the tragic incident. Emergency services, including coastguards and lifeboats, played a crucial role in recovering Jamie’s body.
Haggis Adventures, in a statement released following the incident, expressed their deep sorrow at the loss of Jamie Shannon. The statement mentioned that Jamie’s impact on both passengers and staff was significant.
The story of the team’s climb up The Castle Sea Stack is a testament to human determination. It also serves as a stark reminder of the dangers that come with such endeavors. Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack stands as an awe-inspiring natural wonder. While it beckons the adventurous, it demands the utmost respect and caution. The article explores not just the marvelous rock formation, but also the four individuals’ Climb Up the Castle Sea Stack In Scotland.