Often overlooked compared to the famous archeological sites of Mainland Orkney, the Yesnaby cliffs (including the Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack) are well worth a visit. Discover the stunning Yesnaby coastal walk in video and photos. And get tips to plan your visit.
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Yesnaby Orkney - Video
Yesnaby is an area on the west coast of Mainland Orkney island famous for its sandstone cliffs, birdlife and sea stack.
Let's start with a short video of the Yesnaby coastal walk and its cliffs:
PLANNING TIPS - Yesnaby Cliffs, Orkney
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Visiting the Yesnaby Coastal Walk
- You can park near what remains of the the old Gun battery
- There are no facilities
- Most bus tours just stop quickly so people can only see the first cliffs
- Plan 1h30 to walk at slow pace to the Yesnaby castle sea stack and stop several times to observe birds and enjoy the scenery - the walk is easy but can be slippery when wet
- Don't forget to bring binoculars to make the most of those views!!!! - Check out my guide to find the best travel binoculars for your needs.
- Wear windproof jackets 🙂 - it is very very windy
- It is possible to walk further in both directions
Where to stay on Mainland Orkney
Most Orkney accommodations are in the main towns:
- Stromness is small, close to the ferry and charming - Check out the accommodations in Stromness
- Kirkwall is bigger and more lively - Check out the accommodations in Kirkwall
- But you can also find accommodation more isolated in guesthouses and farms if you want a more peaceful experience - check out all accommodations on the Orkney islands
Yesnaby Cliff walk - Map and starting point
The road to the cliffs does not look like much but after a while you see the remains of the Gun Battery.
Next to the buildings are a few signs with explanation on the geology of the place, the flora and fauna.
You can also see a map of the Yesnaby Coastal walk with the different points of interest - here is a picture:
As you can see below, there is no difficulty to walk. Just small sections may be watery. Pay attention to your children.
Apparently in season, a rare flower grows in that area: the Primula Scotica (Scottish Primrose) . I might have seen it, but I must admit it does not look that special...
The beautiful Orkney cliffs in pictures
At first you can approach the first cliffs and see the layer of red sandstones. They create perfect area for birds to nest. I was hoping to spot puffins but did not. It is not they favorite ground but they are sometimes spotted.
If you are limited in time and cannot walk all the way to the Yesnaby Castle, you should still walk to the other side of the first cove as the views is even more impressive. See below:
Brough of Bigging
The first stop is the Brough of Bigging. The site is not fascinating but from the promontory you can see great views.
In the picture below (coming back to the parking you can see the small brough on the left
Once there you can see the high cliffs of the Isle of Hoy and even notice the Old Man of Hoy.
And on the other side you see the cliffs going on and on...
Next on the map is Qui Ayre. I am not sure exactly what it calls. Maybe the area that slipped into the water or maybe the small arches. Anyway, below are pictures around it.
Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack
But the highlight of Yesnaby Orkney is the Yesnaby Castle Sea Stack. Its height is of 115ft (35 meters) (although it might change with erosion...). It is now standing on 2 legs. It might give up in the years to come, who knows...
If you are a climber, check out the Orkney seastacks website for information on how to climb the Yesnaby Castle.
As you can see from the side, the light was great for photography but the shape of the Yesnaby Castle sea stack from this angle was unfortunate...
I did not go the other direction t walk along he cliffs. The Map indicates another point of Interest called Ramna Geo. Check out Here, a photo by another photographer, to help you decide if you want to continue walking.
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