Yesnaby Castle.

Yesnaby Castle. south view Yesnaby Castle (landward face)

Yesnaby Castle is found just south of the Brough of Bigging in Yesnaby on the west coast of Orkney mainland. (GR 218154) The stack was made famous by Joe Brown and his mates who made the first ascent in 1967, subsequently this stack and the Old Man of Hoy are the only two stacks in Orkney who regularly receive assaults by visiting climbers.

ACCESS: The easiest approach is from the roadend car park at Yesnaby about a kilometer to the north of the stack. To reach the base of the stack an abseil down the surrounding cliffs is required. Reliable anchors on the cliff tops are few, the fence posts and the small stone cairns in the field have been used by previous parties. If you walk past the stack heading south for about 100 meters, where the cliff turns through 90 degrees, (where the photo above left was taken) you will find a sheltered wee platform just below the top of the cliff. There are lots of good anchor points here and a very short abseil to a huge sea level platform. once on the sea level platform walk to as close to the stack as possible and swim. Have a look at Yesnaby Castle area for further details of the routes on this stack and the surrounding cliffs.

ASCENT: The Original Route is on the south face, starting to the right of the cave, climb up and onto a good ledge and follow a series of horizontal breaks directly up to an ancient piton, continue past it to a second piton. (same vintage) From here traverse left (crux) to the bottom of a prominent left trending crack. Follow this crack to the summit, the rock is quite loose in the last few meters. (30m) E1 5B.

A direct finish to the above route, from the second piton continue up on good holds to the top. This route is slightly more strenuous than the previous and again it is loose towards the end. (25m) E2 5B.

A more direct version of the original route with the same start and finish. Climb on to the ledge at the right of the cave from here climb direct (diagonally left) to the bottom of the left trending crack at the top left of this face. Meditation (25m) E2 5C.

The landward face is climbed direct, belay at the extreme right of the south face. climb the arete and onto the large ledge at about 1/4 height. Continue up on the blunt corner between the south and landward faces to a small stance on a loose block at the bottom of the leaning head wall. Clip the peg and make a couple of hard moves to a good ledge just below the summit. Carefully climb the loose stuff to the top. (25m) E2 5B.

The seaward face is a considerably more strenuous outing, it follows the obvious hand/ finger crack up this leaning face. See the picture below right, an awesome route!. Yes, Please, (25m) E3 6A.

DESCENT: To descend the stack it is easiest to abseil down the landward face, use the nose of rock overhanging the seaward face as anchors and run your abseil tat across the top of the stack to the top of the landward face.

Yesnaby Castle (north face) Yesnaby Castle. seaward face.

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