The Old Man of Hoy is a sandstone rock stack rising close to the sea about 450 feet high, and is considered to challenge the most experienced climbers. The first successful ascent was televised in 1966 and featured Sir Chris Bonington, along with Tom Patey and Rusty Baillie. Since then.
The Old Man of Hoy has become famous around the world as a "must do" climb. Modern techniques and equipment, however, have made the challenge available to slightly less experienced climbers and it has now been conquered many times. As the Old Man of Hoy is susceptible to erosion and takes an annual battering from the winter elements, nobody knows how much longer it will stand before being claimed by the sea.
In addition, each time it is climbed, it would appear that individuals find it hard to resist taking a small piece of the old man as a memento. Evidently, each piece that is removed enables rain to penetrate deeper. As soon as the winter temperature plummets to below freezing, the rain turns to ice and expands fracturing the rock more each time, which speeds up the erosion and shortens the life of the famous rock stack. Therefore, we respectfully ask that future climbers resist the urge to take a memento - no matter how small.
The Dwarfie Stane is said to be the only rock-hewn ancient tomb in the UK, estimated to be over 3,000 years old. Considering its isolated location at the north end of Hoy nestled beneath the Dwarfie Hammers and the work involved in cutting small rooms out of solid rock, one has to wonder at the achievement.
Controversially, however, some would argue that it might be a bit too simplistic to assume its purpose was that of a tomb and not ancient living quarters. Certainly, it would have been well suited for such a purpose. Most wind directions would ensure any smoke from a fire lit within Dwarfie Stane would be liberated through a Venturi action. The slight traces of indentations on the roof of the monolith would have facilitated drying fish and perhaps other meat. Nobody will ever know. Nevertheless, it is the only example of its kind in Britain and remains a testament to human ingenuity of ancient times.