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Old Man of Hoy: Statement and survey results

Wednesday 17th April 2024, 9:00am


Our recent survey around the proposal to clean-up the Old Man of Hoy generated not only a large initial response in terms of both results and comments on social media, but also lengthy discussions in UKC Forums following the announcement of a film project and crowdfunding page.

In response, UKC asked Sam Percival, the volunteer behind the clean-up proposal, along with Scottish climber Grant Farquhar, to write two opinion pieces on the subject, while filmmaker Christina Shaw and Mountaineering Scotland were also given the opportunity to provide a statement.

The full article can be viewed on the UKC website, while our statement can be seen below. We have also included a link to the full results of the survey and the comments which were submitted, illustrating the diverse range of views and opinions expressed by the climbing community on this project.

Mountaineering Scotlandís statement

When Sam Percival approached Mountaineering Scotland about his project to clean up the Old Man of Hoy, we were delighted to hear such an inspiring idea from someone who is clearly passionate about trad climbing, wanted to give something back to the community, and was willing to take on quite an involved project in a voluntary and self-funded capacity.

Mountaineering Scotland offered to facilitate a consultation with the climbing community through an online survey which went live in October 2023 and was open for two weeks. This was communicated through our own channels and more widely in the climbing community.

The survey received 937 responses in total. 906 people answered the question about whether they agree with the proposal, of which 846 (93.4%) were positive and 60 (6.6%) responded to say they were not supportive. 457 respondents who agreed with the proposal provided additional comments, 46 comments were submitted by those not in favour of the proposal. A summary of the results was published on the Mountaineering Scotland website in January 2024 and the full data set with all of the responses was passed on to Sam for consideration (available to view using the link below.) 

We understand that this project has provoked some strong opinions and much debate, but we believe that Sam has taken a sound approach in consulting with key stakeholders and the climbing community, taking on board their views and making informed decisions about how to proceed. The production of the film and crowdfunding page are separate projects and Mountaineering Scotland is not involved in either initiative. 

In relation to the placement of bolts, our policy statement Climbing in Scotland continues to provide a point of guidance for the climbing community in Scotland. We continue to support Sam and wish him and his team of volunteers all the best with the project.