Loop of Crooie




Cliff evolution

Classic models of the evolution of rocky coasts, like the one below, do not generally reflect the complexity of form on the rocky shorelines on Orkney. This is a reflection of the dominance of hydraulic action over abrasion in coastal erosion and also the variety of coastal configuration on Orkney.

Each of the main landform elements is locally well-developed but the assemblage of all these features is rarely seen. The main types of cliffed coast on Orkney are:

1. high, vertical cliffs, with occasional stacks, which plunge into deep water, indented with geos and honey-combed with caves. Examples include The Nev and Quoy Geo.

2. high, vertical cliffs with narrow boulder-strewn shore platforms, as around the Old Man of Hoy.

3. low, drift-capped cliffs with geos and wide shore platforms but lacking stacks.