Old Man of Storr
29th July 2016
We continued our journey northwards through the Highlands after leaving Glen Coe, arriving at Eileen Donan Castle in the late afternoon. I’ve been looking forward to visiting the castle for a while now, and it’s definitely somewhere I’ll be going back to. Its location on a tidal loch means that the landscape around it changes dramatically throughout the day, so the on the next visit it could look completely different. I excitedly took photos, but our time at Eilean Donan was brief, and we were soon crossing the Skye Bridge and looking for a place to camp for the night.
Our general plan was to take the entire trip as we go; in that sense, I guess that we didn’t really have a plan. Heading out of Broadford, the first town on Skye, we stopped at the next car park we found at the side of the road. Spread across the reasonably small dirt ground there were several motorhome and tents, with people using the park benches and tables to cook and eat. Parking the car, we went for a short recce walk around the bay, walking round the shore and finding a perfect location in a small outcrop of pine trees overlooking the water. I’ve never understood why people choose not to camp in the most picturesque location. As with our previous camp in Glen Coe, the majority of other campers pitched their tents close to the entrance, staying close to the car park. Part of what I love about camping, and wild camping in particular, is getting away from everything; feeling like your on your own, undisturbed and at one with nature. Being in the wild, surrounded by complete silence, gathered around a campfire and watching the sun go down.
We dropped camp early the following morning and continued our journey along the coast, heading north. After passing through Portree, The Storr came into view on the horizon, dominating the landscape and commanding attention. Part of a giant landslip that runs through most of the northern half of the island, its feature point is The Old Man, with large pillars and needle like spires of rock..
As we climbed up to the rocky pinnacles, I couldn’t help think of the comparisons Alport Castles, another geological product of a large landslip. In both locations a large rock towers stand in the shadow of the cliff face to which they were once attached, with a boulder field between them littered in debris. Although in contrast to its Peak District relative, Storr was on a much larger scale, with the cliff face standing hundreds of feet tall. We walked a loop around the Old Man, heading away from the main path and crowds of people, finishing up atop a hill commanding the best views looking beyond Storr and onto the Black Cuillin.
My two companions were both geologists, which helped to add another level of intrigue and learning to the trip. Both having an avid interest in the formation of the world around us, they would regularly stop to discuss certain aspects of a rock face, boulder field or valley. Experiencing and learning new things really helps to develop you as a person, so I was really pleased to gain an extra understanding about the area as we walked through it.
Using our sense of adventure as our main guide, we left the Storr, stopping occasionally at points of interest, or those moments where the beauty of the landscape hits you and leaves you breathless. One such location was Kilt Rock on the eastern side of the island. A seemingly endless coastal cliff, stacked with layers of different lava flows, stretched into the distance. Waterfalls ran off the elevated plateau and over the 150 foot drop onto the rocky shoreline and the turquoise waters of the Sound of Raasay