We went on a walk out to the sea stacks at Yesnaby a few days ago. As we were walking back I pointed out one to Ian that he hadn’t noticed on the way there because it was pouring with rain by the time he got there (having dawdled unnecessarily on the way, but that’s a different story). I, on the other hand, passed in the sunshine and was able to see that it was a sea stack that was attached to the nearby cliff in just one tiny place by a narrow bridge of rock just a couple of meters from the top of the sea stack. As I photographed it with a sleeping Lukie in the sling I thought to myself that I would go over there and investigate climbing over to the top of the sea stack if it weren’t for the fact that Lukie is strapped to me when asleep and, when awake, would never let me go over there without trying to follow me and freaking out if he was stopped.
So I showed this to Ian, who is quite afraid of heights. He is forever pulling us back from cliffs and the edges of piers and the like. He’ll even sound panicky if Eloïse is 15 feet from the edge of a cliff and holding my hand if the cliff is pretty high and there’s wind.
Ian asked me with an incredulous voice, “You think people actually climb over there?” I responded that yes, of course they must because it’s just too obvious a thing to do. I told him that I would go climb it myself if it weren’t for Lukie. So then he said, “Do you think I should go try?” which was very surprising given his attitude towards heights so I just decided to stay out of it and let him decide for himself.
Long story short, he went over there and walked across the short bridge section and stood with his hand against the edge of the sea stack. I was videoing and kept yelling “ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT?” but he couldn’t hear a word so I finally just concluded that he had decided that it was too difficult (once I saw him there it did look like it would be quite awkward to climb up the necessary meter and a half or so to clamber onto the sea stack) and wasn’t going to go further. So I took his picture and he came back.
When he got back and realized that I had been talking about actually climbing onto the sea stack, not just standing on the bridge, he nearly shat himself at the idea. As far as he was concerned we were never talking about anything other than going onto the bridge portion.
For the rest of the day he acted noticeably different: he was clearly feeling extremely proud and was walking around with his chest puffed out like a peacock. Knowing how afraid of heights he is it was a big achievement, indeed.
We have pictures of Ian on the bridge with our real camera but with my phone camera which is more convenient for putting putting up photos at this moment I only have the photo that I took on the way out to the sea stacks, before Ian had caught up with me. Stay tuned for further photos and the video of the brave man himself once we return home.