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A Scottish Daredevil’s Tight-Rope Walk Across the Old Man of Hoy

From geological wonder to circus spire.

For the first time ever, a daredevil has used the Scottish spire known as the Old Man of Hoy, as an anchor for a high-wire stunt. And it’s none too late either, since it probably won’t be around forever.

The Old Man of Hoy is a 250-year-old sea stack standing just off the coast of the Orkney island of Hoy, in northern Scotland. The delicate sandstone formation is one of the tallest rock spires in Britain, at around 450 feet tall; climbing it and then balancing on a high wire from its summit isn’t for the faint of heart. According to The Guardian, German slackliner Alexander Schulz and his team went ahead and did it anyway.

After scaling the jagged rock obelisk, the team ran a line from the top of the Old Man to a point on the mainland. Schulz then carefully walked the length of the taut line, arms out for balance against the coastal winds and the distracting movement of the sea below.

“All the time you have to be concentrated, like 100%. And then you eventually make it, to continue standing, balancing. And taking steps,” Schulz told the BBC.

Schulz’s walk may be the first and last. As The Guardian notes, due to the powerful winds that buffet and erode the tower, geologists estimate that it will collapse in the near (geologic) future.