North Gaulton Castle
Just off the coast of Orkney lies North Gaulton Castle. This huge sea stack balances precariously above a the crashing waves and is incredibly inaccessible. But in 2016 Andy and three other climber managed to stand atop the seasick, something only a handful of people have managed in the past. Previously helicopter had been used to drop people onto it but this time the team rigged a massive Tyrollean Traverse.
Two ropes where anchored to the top of a cliff on one side of a horse-shoe shaped bay. Then the ropes where walked around the cliff edge to be secured on the other side before being pulled tight. This left the ropes running across the mouth of the bay close to the foot of North Gaulton Castle sea-stack.
The team then climbed along the ropes, jumped onto the stack, climbed to the top, abseiled back down, jumped back on the ropes and climbed back up them to the mainland – whilst filming the whole thing along the way.
Andy was there looking at the geology of Orkney to explain how this influenced the Neolithic engineering and culture that grew up and helped explain why Orkney became a centre for innovative building techniques 5,000 years ago as the sea stack is effectively a giant rock core sample.
The film was part of the BBC series Britain’s Ancient Capital – Secrets of Orkney.