The Needle is situated on this south west coast of Hoy at the southern end of the great wall of cliffs that guard this coast line. (GR 243902)
ACCESS: The rotten sandstone cliffs which overlook this stack rise from 50 meters in the south to over 150 meters to the north. Fortunately over looking the stack to the north is a 70 meter high 50 meter long finger of rock which has a very reassuring abseil stake at it's sea end. for the faint hearted there is another abseil stake at the land end. From the sea end simply abseil 70 meters into the sea and swim to the sea level ledge at the south side of the stack.
ASCENT: The only known route/ascent was by Mick Fowler and his crew on one of there well documented stack bagging forays. (Read Mick Fowlers book, vertical Pleasure.) The route begins on the land ward corner on the south face, from here climb leftward and then back right over a set of overhangs to a good ledge. From here climb through a band of overhangs near the center of the south face, trend right to a shallow depression to another good ledge. A mosterous pitch! From this ledge climb the seaward face to the summit. Extremely serious, 5C (55m)
For your return you have the option of a long prussik back up your abseil rope or a long swim out to the south.
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