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Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr

Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr


Postby Musicfinder » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:12 pm

Route description: The Storr - ascent

Grahams included on this walk: The Storr

Date walked: 28/05/2013

Time taken: 4 hours

Distance: 8 km

Ascent: 517m

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The alarm was set for 3AM, but it wasn’t needed as my internal clock had me up minutes earlier. My internal clock is usually worthless if it is a normal working day, today is something entirely different though. Today I hope to be watching the sunrise while overlooking the Old Man of Storr. Down the stairs as quietly as possible, get the water bottle and an apple, lace up the boots, grab the backpack I packed last night and head out to the car.

Car starts, lights on and I’m on my way. I head down the gravel road from our holiday house in Staffin and pull out onto a very empty A855. It was minutes after 3AM and there was already some light in the sky. I didn’t see any lights on in any of the houses along the road, never met another vehicle on the road, I was the only person up and moving the entire way to the Storr parking area. I was the only car in the lot as I parked out of the way for the later walkers that were sleeping in.

Gaiters on just in case, chinch the backpack, turn the headlight on even though there is a bit of light already, check the watch and see that I have over an hour to be in place before sunrise and I’m off on the path. The path is the same as two years ago through the pine trees, except the trees are gone. It is strange walking on a path that seems familiar, same turns and rocks, but now glancing with the headlight and seeing stumps as far as the light would project. I would look back on the A855, but never saw another vehicle’s lights in the early morning light.

It was about 30 minutes and I was through the former pine woods and at the gate leading to the climb to the Old Man. A quick glance at the watch and then the horizon and I could see I still had three quarters of an hour before the sunrise. A bank of clouds was on the horizon but there appeared to be a few breaks where the sun could break through. Fingers crossed I pressed on up the hill. When I came even with the Old Man I cut up behind the needle to the higher path as the one I was on appeared to dip down before continuing the ascent.

Once to the fence I worked my way to the end and used the rocks to ease my way around the fence post. Once past, I kept myself close to the base of the cliff wall wondering to myself why the trail was so narrow, steep and covered with loose scree if it was so well travelled. Glancing down I noticed just twenty or so feet below my present position a very nice and proper path. Looking ahead I could see where my “path” would soon merge with the proper path as it began its ascent. Rather than backtrack and gain the proper path I pressed on carefully to the merge point.

Once around the corner the proper path led to the short scramble area which was quickly accomplished. Another glance to the watch and ever lightening horizon let me know I could relax, wander along the edge for views of the Old Man of Storr and wait for the sunrise. When toward the edge the wind was blowing quite briskly so to maintain warmth I ducked behind a boulder to get out of the wind.

As I enjoyed a crisp Pink Lady apple I stood and took in everything before me as the horizon began to lighten as the sun began to rise and work its light through the clouds. To my right, in the distance, the mainland while closer was the Isles of Rona and Raasay sitting in a serene sea of blue. Directly below me in the Sound of Raasay I watched as a fishing boat slowly make its way north for a day of fishing. To my left was the Carn Liath of the Trotternish ridge. Looking toward the horizon over Loch Scamadal I could see past Staffin Bay toward the Isle of Lewis.

I really don’t know how to put in words the feelings that I had as I watched everything before me change as the sun was coming up. Nothing was traveling on the roads, I couldn’t see any lights of civilization, the fishing boat as it silently moved below me was the only indication there was anyone else present. Watching the sunrise unfold before me, alone in all respects, I felt, for the lack of a better word, at peace. I have hiked in the Rockies, the German, Austrian and Swiss Alps and other walks in Scotland but I had never experienced what I was experiencing this morning.

Rather than hiking over The Storr I opted to reverse my route and return the way I came. I was alone as I wandered around the Old Man of Storr and through the Sanctuary taking photographs and continuing to enjoy the solitude. In several hours the area would be teeming with people but for now I was alone. As I walked down the hill I passed through the gate and entered the former pine woods. Personally I preferred the walk in the dark rather than the daylight path through the stumps of the former woods.

I reached the car to discover I was so early the parking area was still empty. There were only a few vehicles on the road as I drove back to the house to brew a pot of coffee, describe my walk to those who decided to sleep a little long and decide what walk I want to do next.
Last edited by Musicfinder on Mon Aug 04, 2014 2:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr

Postby Lenore » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:39 pm

Waaaah some pictures!!! Spectacular.
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Re: Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr

Postby wilkiemurray » Mon Jun 10, 2013 9:41 pm

Amazing piccies :clap:
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Re: Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr

Postby Musicfinder » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:23 pm

Lenore wrote:Waaaah some pictures!!! Spectacular.


Lenore, thanks for the compliment. Hope you have a great time doing the ridge, be it from the north or the south. You will have some spectacular views.
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Re: Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr

Postby BlackPanther » Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:59 pm

Beautiful :D :D I'm never tired of Skye and this particular spot is one of my favourites.
Such a shame that the trees have been cut. I remember climbing the path to The Storr for the first time, waiting for the great view to be revealed... Sadly, some of the magic of the spot has been lost with the forest :(
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Re: Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr

Postby Priscilla » Tue Jun 11, 2013 2:44 pm

Beautiful pictures,hopefully i will get to climb the old man of storr pretty soon,thanks for sharing :D :D
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Re: Sunrise at The Old Man of Storr

Postby Musicfinder » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:26 pm

BlackPanther wrote:Beautiful :D :D I'm never tired of Skye and this particular spot is one of my favourites.
Such a shame that the trees have been cut. I remember climbing the path to The Storr for the first time, waiting for the great view to be revealed... Sadly, some of the magic of the spot has been lost with the forest :(


I think that is why I preferred the walk up in the dark. The walk should improve with time as the land that was harvested recovers and is hopefully replanted with trees native to Skye.
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