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Holiday Travel Guide

Walk along the scenic trail leading to this iconic sea stack, which is among the tallest in Britain.

An imposing 450-foot (137-meter) high rock stack located off the island’s western coast, the Old Man of Hoy is one of Orkney’s most recognizable landmarks and a popular challenge for experienced climbers. The stack can also be viewed by following the pleasant footpath from nearby Rackwick. Stroll along this picturesque path and enjoy spellbinding views over Rackwick Bay.

Set on an old lava flow about 197 feet (60 meters) away from the cliffs, the Old Man of Hoy was gradually carved by the sea over the centuries. The red sandstone rock is shown in early 19th-century depictions as a stack and arch, a two-legged appearance that gave the landmark its name. A powerful storm later washed away one of the stack’s “legs,” leaving only the pillar that you see today. Examine the formation closely and you might be able to spot a 131-foot (40-meter) crack running down from the top of stack, a sign that the pillar is likely to collapse completely one day.

Wander along the 3-mile (4.8-kilometer) trail leading to the stack, which begins from the Rackwick Hostel. A round trip along this well-marked trail takes around 3 hours to complete. It offers spectacular views of Rackwick Bay and its surrounding cliffs, eventually leading you through an open hillside covered with heather, which blooms in early summer and fall, creating a carpet of pinkish-purple hue.

Look for sea birds, such as puffin, razorbill and guillemot, which often nest in the cliffs surrounding the stack. In the summer, you may notice climbers attempting to ascend the stack’s rocky face. The Old Man was successfully climbed for the first time in 1966 during an expedition led by Chris Bonington. The event is remembered for being the first televised climb in Britain. There are seven routes up the stack, but the east face route is the most popular with climbers.

The quickest way to reach the Old Man of Hoy is to fly into Orkney’s Kirkwall Airport, which offers daily flights from Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness and London. Alternatively, take the ferry from Scrabster to Stromness, where connections are available to Hoy’s Moaness Port. Don’t miss the chance to see this unique site before it disappears forever.

Top Trending Hotels Near Old Man of Hoy

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
2 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £64 per night from 10 Nov to 10 Nov
Situated in Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Mainland, Standing Stones of Stenness and Piers Art Centre. Stromness Ferry Terminal and Stromness Museum ...
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
Ferry Inn Stromness
Ferry Inn Stromness
3 out of 5
10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £130 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Located in the heart of Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Standing Stones of Stenness and Piers Art Centre. Stromness Museum and Maes Howe are also within ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (89 reviews)
"Convenient location right next to ferry. There is public parking next door which is free from 5pm to 9am, but actually there is one hour free parking, so in effect it is free from 4pm to 9am or 5pm to 10am. Staff were nice and room was clean and comfortable. Breakfast was amazing (particularly the ..."

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2021

Ferry Inn Stromness
The Stromness Hotel
The Stromness Hotel
3 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
Situated in Stromness, this hotel is steps away from Standing Stones of Stenness and Mainland. Piers Art Centre and Stromness Ferry Terminal are also within ...
3.1/5 (7 reviews)
Good Location that’s about it
"The hotel is in a great location. Unfortunately the hotel in its self is a bit tired and could do with a make over. The guy at check in was a bit scary.!!"

Reviewed on 3 Aug 2018

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The Stromness Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Hotel Deals

The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
2 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £64 per night from 10 Nov to 10 Nov
The Stromness Hotel by Paymán Club
Ferry Inn Stromness
Ferry Inn Stromness
3 out of 5
10 John Street, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £130 per night from 17 Oct to 17 Oct
Ferry Inn Stromness
The Stromness Hotel
The Stromness Hotel
3 out of 5
The Pierhead, Stromness, Scotland
The Stromness Hotel
The Royal Hotel Stromness
The Royal Hotel Stromness
3 out of 5
55-57 Victoria St, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £110 per night from 28 Oct to 28 Oct
The Royal Hotel Stromness
Harbour Cottage
Harbour Cottage
3.5 out of 5
Ferry Road, Stromness, Scotland
Harbour Cottage
Stromness Apartments
Stromness Apartments
3.5 out of 5
Milldam, Cauldhame Road, Orkney, Stromness, Scotland
Stromness Apartments
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
3 out of 5
Lindisfarne, Stromness, Scotland
The price is £80 per night from 1 Nov to 1 Nov
Lindisfarne Bed & Breakfast
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Bu Road, Stromness, SCT
Charming 3 bedroom family home close to Stromness
Orkneylodge
Orkneylodge
3 out of 5
Houton Bay, Orkney Isles, Orphir, Scotland
Orkneylodge
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.