Report on Old man of Hoy "activation" in January 2016 radcom magazine

While not actually a SOTA summit, the Old Man of Hoy stack climb earlier this year by SOTA stallwart Colwyn MM0YCJ and Adrian MM0DHY had several SOTA like attributes - lightweight gear, some climbing (in this case a LOT of climbing) and contacts with SOTA chasers.

Colwyn wrote up his adventure and this is featured with some very impressive pictures in the latest RSGB Magazine “Radcom”.

Well worth a read if you have access to the magazine.

73 Ed DD5LP.


It is a shame that this well-known feature does not qualify for SOTA, although when you see it balanced on its wave platform it seems remarkable that it has resisted the storms for so long! A terrific effort, can I suggest some SOTA stacks in the St Kilda group need attention now…? :wink:


It certainly was a good read (and a tremendous achievement). I’m just kicking myself that I didn’t remember it was Colwyn who wrote this when I worked him earlier today. Doh!

Hi Ed

Bet you only looked at the pictures. Adrian’s callsign is MM0DHY, correctly quoted in the text but wrong on the picture captions :wink:

Wonderful expedition, wish I was up to that sort of stuff :-s

73 de Paul G4MD

Thanks Paul - corrected.

I agree with you, I wish I was capable of such a climb aswell!

73 Ed.

Hi, thanks for all of the kind comments about the RadCom article and for Adrian’s corrected call sign. I am just back from a week in France and some of the chasers on the 4 summits I managed to reach were kind enough to mention the article.

Radioing from the top of The Old Man of Hoy was a truly great adventure and seemed worthy of a report. Sadly it is short of being a SOTA summit; even when the tide is out it does not drop 13 metres for the stack to qualify. Two weeks beforehand MM0FMF had organised a trip to GM/SS-246 (Ailsa Craig) all part of the preparation, although it was not certain we would go ahead with the climb at that stage.

As Brian (G8ADD) mentions, the sandstone stack sits precariously on some harder bedrock, basalt I think, and on the final rope length before reaching the top, there is a widening crack big enough to see through to the approaching Scrabster ferry. So I am also not sure how long the Old Man of Hoy will remain upright!




Minor correction: Neil 2M0NCM organised our Ailsa Craig trip. I simply enjoyed the activation and everyone’s company.

An old painting shows that in 1819 the Old Man was twice as wide with an archway through its base. In 1750 there was no Old Man, just a slim headland. It is obviously a temporary feature and a major storm could demolish it at any time, so anybody with an ascent of it on their bucket list should hurry…

It’s a good thing that the use of pitons is now regarded as unsporting, they are good at widening cracks!