Stac Biorach

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The St Kilda archipelago
Stac Biorach
Gaelic nameStac Biorach
Meaning of name"pointed stack"
Stac Biorach is located in Outer Hebrides
Stac Biorach
Stac Biorach
Stac Biorach shown within the Outer Hebrides
OS grid referenceNA071013
Coordinates57°49′44″N 8°37′19″W / 57.829°N 8.622°W / 57.829; -8.622
Physical geography
Island groupSt Kilda
Highest elevation73 m (240 ft)
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Council areaOuter Hebrides
Stac Biorach (at left) and Stac Soay

Stac Biorach (Scottish Gaelic: "the pointed stack") is a sea stack, 73 metres tall, situated between Hirta and Soay (in the "Sound of Soay") in the St Kilda archipelago of Scotland. It lies west of Stac Shoaigh (Soay Stac) (61 metres).[3]

Coordinates: 57°49′44″N 8°37′18″W / 57.82889°N 8.62167°W / 57.82889; -8.62167


The stack has never been permanently inhabited, but has contributed considerably to the local economy by supplying the St Kildans with sea birds and their eggs. Rev. Neil MacKenzie, a Church of Scotland minister who resided on St Kilda from 1830 to 1844, observed the islanders collecting eggs from here in baskets like flat-bottomed bee hives, each basket holding about 400 eggs.[citation needed]

Like the other islands in the St Kilda archipelago, Stac Biorach is extraordinarily rich in birdlife, and boasts the highest colony of guillemots in the archipelago.[4]

Recreational climbing on the stack seems to have started in the early 1880s. It appears that the first non-St Kildan to climb the stack was Richard Manliffe Barrington; he ascended Stac Biorach in 1890,[5][6][7] calling it the most dangerous climb he ever undertook.[8] Today climbing in all of the St Kilda archipelago is subject to the permission of the National Trust for Scotland[9] (which rarely, if ever, grants it), The stack is quite difficult to climb, "one which only a few of the natives could lead."[10][11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2001 UK Census per List of islands of Scotland
  2. ^ Haswell-Smith, Hamish (2004). The Scottish Islands. Edinburgh: Canongate. ISBN 978-1-84195-454-7.
  3. ^ a b Ordnance Survey
  4. ^ Maclean, Charles (1992). St. Kilda: Island on the Edge of the World. Canongate Press. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-86241-388-0.
  5. ^ Barrington, R.M. "The Ascent of Stack na Biorach". Alpine Journal. 27: 195.
  6. ^ St Kilda Management Plan 2003-2008 (PDF). National Trust for Scotland. 2003. p. 102.
  7. ^ The following account seems less reliable: Mellor, Chris (2002). Stack Rock: An Illustrated Guide to Sea Stack Climbing in the UK and Ireland (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-12. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ Heathcote, Norman (1901). "Climbing in St Kilda". Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal. Scottish Mountaineering Club. 6: 146–151. Retrieved 8 February 2009. p. 148.
  9. ^ St Kilda Management Plan 2003-2008 (PDF). National Trust for Scotland. 2003. p. 103.
  10. ^ Steven, Campbell Rodger (1975). The Story of Scotland's Hills. R. Hale. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-7091-4975-0.
  11. ^ According to one source, the stack was climbed by an "outsider," R.M. Barrington, only once, in 1929. Maclean, St. Kilda: Island on the Edge of the World, 103.