Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Old Man of Storr: a real-life, ancient and "alien" landscape...or the thumb of a giant?

It's an "alien" landscape and topography...but in a most magical, mysterious, and completely enchanting way. Located on the Trottornish Ridge of the Isle of Skye, the Old Man of Storr is a 50-metre high geological formation that defies the imagination. A very, very long time ago, the land around it began to "slip" away towards the sea.

The more durable composition of the "Old Man's" geology (and the other vertical pinnacles and spires) have allowed it to remain, still resisting the massive forces of time and erosion. 

Driving north, from Portree, we could see the formations from the highway, still at some distance away. 

By the time Joan, Linda, and I arrived at the trailhead, rain and cloud had begun to envelop the landscape. 

Reaching the "Old Man", after 45 minutes of climbing, "he" had almost vanished in the clouds, and frequent squalls of horizontal rain.

Other hikers would come and go, suddenly materialising out of the swirling mists, and disappearing just as quickly.

But we'd seen him, the legendary "Old Man", and even taken shelter in the lee of his ancient body.

The geologist's reasoning makes sense...but there's another explanation for the Old Man's presence. Local folklore includes many stories of giants, fairies, goddesses, and spirits. Could it have been that it was the giants who moved into place the massive Standing Stones, and created the timeless and haunting Stone Circles? 

Perhaps, as one legend suggests, the "Old Man" is the thumb of a giant who fell dead, and was buried in the earth, here on the Isle of Skye? Ah, not so "alien", after all.

Maybe...yes, just maybe. This is, after all, a country that is truly a place of magic, mystery, and completely believable stories and tales. ;)


  1. What happened to the "Blue Sky Scotland" that you keep telling us all about??
    We all know now that you also have a "story and tales" to tell once your "journal" has been accessed.
    Hope the weather picks up for the three of you.

    1. Ah Mike, Blue Sky Scotland did, indeed, take a wee break from its usual faithful presence. I still maintain that this is one of the "sunniest" places in the world. ;) Now, as for my "journal", I have triple encrypted it to ensure its "treasures" remain one of Scotland's best kept secrets. Haha! Many thanks and warm wishes to you.

  2. Great Skye weather there Duncan!.....

    There are various "old men" of differing rock types and origins around Scotland, and the naming in Gaelic (often "Bod" or "Bodach") gives a bit of a clue as to an alternative bodily appendage that they were named for!


    Warm wishes

    1. As I'm beginning to understand, the weather we experienced was not the LEAST bit unusual on Skye! Oh dear, I'd better take a serious look at a Gaelic lexicon before next winter, or at least consult with you, Ian. It may well keep me from putting the proverbial foot in the mouth! Haha! Warm wishes to you.