“My favourite UK climb is The Old Man of Hoy. A 450 feet high, isolated sea stack on the Island of Hoy, made of Orcadian sandstone and perched on a plinth of basalt.
In the summer of 2010, I somehow found myself on a tiny plane on the way to Kirkwall with my friends Paul and Rob to climb it.
It was going to be a full day, setting out first thing for the 3-4 miles walk in and would involve 5 full rope lengths of climbing in order to reach the top.
Summiting The Old Man of Hoy was a team effort, each one of us taking it in turns to lead to the next pitch. I went on the 3rd, a testing climb struggling into a chimney, bridging & thrutching. I led the next pitch then Rob was soon leading the last pitch up a corner where you can see through the sea stack.
The top was very windy & cold so we abseiled off quickly, inevitably getting our ropes stuck. The wind was gusting 40 mph and as I abseiled the last 200 foot, the wind blew me 30 feet horizontally out to sea!
By the time we got down the sun had set. Stumbling into the bothy in the dark we were greeted by a Scottish team who had climbed it just before us. A wee dram of single malt sent me off to my sleeping-bag tired & happy.
The Orkney Islands are a fascinating area and I’d recommend anyone go and explore with loads of great climbs and some of the best Neolithic ruins anywhere in Europe.”
- Pete Holtmeyer-Cole, Buying Manager