There’s a place on the north easterly tip of the Isle of Skye, where the rocks of the earth have been chiseled and carved into astonishing peaks and crags. Nature had been practising and improving as she moved ever northwards, chipping the stone into increasingly sharp peaks, and here she has created a masterpiece.
As the sun drops mist swirls onto the lower slopes, creating sharp lines and shadows in the air behind the rocks. An otherworldly feel rises from the ground, and the rocks themselves seem to dissolve in receding layers towards the light filled sky.
Golden light illuminates a staircase thrown into being from roots and rocks. Seemingly from nowhere the path ahead unfolds around the hills, and up towards the mist brushed crags. Anything could be watching us as we climb higher and higher away from the known world and into the land of blue shadows and unearthly shapes.
The air cools and fades, and as we walk deeper into the shadowy stillness our pounding hearts pushing us onwards. The sound and light play tricks in our minds, drawing shapes and shades to mirror the mountains and their hidden gods. The shadows of doubt and uncertainty are given flesh, and almost turn us back. Even the sky seems unreal in its impossible emptiness. We let go, realising that we know nothing, surrendering to this masterpiece of stone.
A jagged pyramid worships the falling sun, and the landscape below us is revealed in golden light. We know at least where we have come from.
Laid out like the promised land, milk and honey pour through the gaps, nourishing the soft blanket of earth. From here we can see shapes and patterns hidden when we walk among them. Knowledge floods unbidden into our minds, and our souls and hearts are lifted in praise.
There ahead of us is the perfect pinnacle, the final flourish of this rock art masterpiece. The Old Man, silhouetted against heavenly blue. He watches us unmoved by our efforts, his magnetic pull leaves us yearning to touch him with our hands, and we are drawn up the last steps of this mystery. From here we are sure we could fly…..
The Old Man of Storr is on the Trotternish peninsula on the Isle of Skye, in the Scottish Hebrides. In Gaelic it’s called Bodach an Storr, and is the highest point on the ridge, rising to 719m. It feels far removed from man and his small creations, a masterpiece of nature, which shifts and changes with every visit. The sky, the wind and the light play in eternal combinations around the jagged rocks. These photos were taken late on a stunningly clear and warm day at the very end of June 2013.
There are many stories and myths about this otherworldly place, but my favorite is that the Old Man Pinnacle is the petrified thumb of a long fallen Giant, whose bones lie beneath this landscape.
You can look at more masterpieces by clicking on the weekly photo challenge link.
Find out about walking the whole Trotternish Ridge here
Read about the myths and legends here