Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Old Man Of Storr

After my early morning ride I set about fixing my van and drying my kit.  Good old duck tape to the rescue for my roof and luckily the camp site had a tumble drier for my wet kit.  Rather than risk the van again I pitch my tent only to snap one of my poles, the van it is then.  Could anything else go wrong.

For the rest of the day it was a slight improvement on the weather front, W/NW force 4-5 gusting 8.  My dad has wanted to get up on the Storr the last few times we've been up here but never got around to it.  With all the calamities last night I wasn't in the mood to plan anything on the water so decide to join him.
For now the sun was out and this is the first time the tops have been clear, and what a view.  It wouldn't last long so we head straight for the car park and make our way up the muddy path.  
The path leading up under the Old Man was full of tourists, most in jeans and trainers, some in trousers and shoes...unbelievable!  
Up until this point the path followed a gentle meandering slope but from here on it got a little tricky.
We follow a group of Japanese youngsters just ahead of us in trainers jeans and what my wife would call 'uggs', essentially slippers.  The path ends and turns into steep scree and slippery volcanic rock.  I overtake them as they slide and fall in their unsuitable footwear as it starts to rain making footing treacherous.
Needle Rock
Thankfully they turned back along with many others and the path ahead is somewhat quieter.  I reach the Old Man of Storr just as it starts to snow, that's right snow.  
 My dad climbing the assent to the Old Man of Storr.
My Dad under the Old Man of Storr and Needle Rock in the background
From the Old Man the only way down seemed to be this steep scree slope or back the way we came, and that would be silly.
Safely down and we join the path again.  The Storr and the entire Trotternish ridge is the result of a series of huge landslides unrivalled in Britain.  Heavy basalt lavas rest on relatively weak sedimentary rock, which with the march of time gave way under the heavier volcanic rock sliding seaward. 
Taking in the view of Raasay and Rona beyond the Storr.
From this small summit the views were great but the weather soon moved in and put off any ideas of climbing to the summit of the Storr, now hidden in a vale of black cloud.
We take shelter in a hollow next to a small lake for some lunch.  I'm sure my dad will thank me for this picture.  We follow the path back to the van as the heavens open again.
Once back in the van we follow the road north and stop off at Kilt Rock, long enough for a quick photo before running back into the dry.  The sea state looked easily do-able if you had the wind at your back but not not much fun.
We carry on up to Staffin but remain in the van, the weather starting to get the better of us.  We notice three kayaks hauled up on the grass and the owners came to collect them shortly afterwards.  They were one half of a group circumnavigating the island.  They had remained here stormbound yesterday and pulled out due to an injury and conditions.  The other half had continued on today northwards, I don't envy them.  We call it a day and head back to camp to wash and dry off and head into Portree for dinner. 

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