Old Man of Stoer

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The Old Man of Stoer

The Old Man of Stoer is a 60-metre-high (200 ft) sea stack of Torridonian sandstone in Sutherland, Scotland, close to villages of Culkein and Stoer and the nearby Stoer Head Lighthouse. It is a popular climbing route.


The stack is composed of Torridonian sandstone, and is 60 metres (200 ft) high.[1] It is in The Minch, a strait in north-west Scotland, separating the north-west Highlands and the northern Inner Hebrides from Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides.[2]

Access is normally from the Stoer Head Lighthouse, which is within walking distance of the stack.[1] The lighthouse is on the B869 Lochinver to Unapool road.[3]

The seas around the Old Man of Stoer have claimed a number of vessels. There is believed to be the wreck of a fishing boat in the vicinity of the stack, which sank on 17 February 1953.[4]


On a rocky outcrop, the top of the stack, is a tangle of ropes and carabiners.
Climbing equipment left at the top of the stack.

The Old Man of Stoer is popular with climbers due to its height and approachability.[5] It was first climbed in 1966 by Brian Henderson, Paul Nunn, Tom Patey, and Brian Robertson.[6] Along with Am Buachaille and the Old Man of Hoy, it has become something of a legend among climbers.[7]

To gain access to the foot of the stack, a Tyrolean traverse is necessary, which may require a swimmer to put it in place.[8] There are a number of routes of varying levels of difficulty.[8]

In the Channel 4 television programme Hidden Talent, 45-year-old Maggie Reenan climbed the stack after 18 days of intensive training, after her natural aptitude for climbing was discovered.[9][10]


Northern fulmars (Fulmarus glacialis) inhabit the stack and nearby sea cliffs.[1] Other wildlife in the area includes the great skua (also known by its Norse name "bonxie") peregrines, pinnipeds and cetaceans.[11]

Seabirds which can be seen include bonxies, guillemots, fulmars, razorbills and other birds including twite, skylarks, and dunlin.[12][13]


  1. ^ a b c Ross, David. "Old Man of Stoer". Britain Express. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  2. ^ "North West Highlands" (PDF). Island of Hoy Development Trust. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  3. ^ "The Old Man of Stoer and the Point of Stoer". Walking Britain. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  4. ^ "Grateful: Old Man of Stoer, North Minch". Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  5. ^ Mellor, Chris. "Stack Rock" (PDF). UKClimbing Limited. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 February 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Grylls, Bear (2009). Bear Grylls Great Outdoor Adventures. p. 155. ISBN 9781905026524.
  8. ^ a b "Old Man of Stoer". UKClimbing Limited. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Hidden Talent". Channel 4. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  10. ^ Heritage, Stuart (24 April 2012). "Hidden Talent: my quest to find one". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  11. ^ "Assynt Events 2011" (PDF). Assynt Leisure Centre. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 December 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  12. ^ "Seabirds at Stoer". Crafty Green Poet. 4 July 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  13. ^ "Seabirds at Stoer". Pelagic Birder. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2013.

Coordinates: 58°15′39.51″N 5°22′57.76″W / 58.2609750°N 5.3827111°W / 58.2609750; -5.3827111