Out & About …

… on the North York Moors, or wherever I happen to be.

The Chimney Stack

One of them there must-see spots on Skye is that famous Kilt Rock, named after its basalt columns that supposedly resemble a pleated kilt. Now, if you use your imagination just a tad more, you’ll notice that the sandstone base upon which these columns perch bears an uncanny resemblance to a proper tartan.

The best viewpoint to take in this spectacle is about a kilometre away. There’s no shortage of photos available online if you’re itching to get a glimpse. Now, I’ve seen it all before, so I wasn’t terribly let down when I discovered that the car park was shut and going through some grand upgrade. They’ve gone and erected industrial fencing, making sure no cheeky visitors are tempted to park on the road and skirt their way around. So, even on a bike, that coveted viewpoint was well and truly off-limits.

Abandoned abseil gear on the top.

But there’s nothing stopping you from strolling along the coast from Staffin and making your way in. Up close, I must admit, the rock is a smidge over-hyped. I found myself more impressed by this sea-stack just a few hundred metres to the north. This stack is the narrowest one I’ve ever laid eyes upon and has been dubbed ‘The Chimney Stack’ by the climbing fraternity.

Just like the Kilt Rock, it boasts those very same basalt columns, but what sets it apart from other stacks I’ve seen is its utter lack of horizontal bedding planes, which makes it look all the more formidable, if you ask me. And believe it or not, some brave souls have actually scaled its treacherous heights. There are two routes graded E5: ‘Sheer Sear’ on the south face and ‘Over The Rainbow’ on the seaward side. I can’t help but admire the sheer guts and dogged determination of these rock athletes, but it did dampen my spirits a little to see their abandoned abseiling gear littering the summit.







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