Mountainous Masterpiece

Storr Ridge, Isle of Skye

Storr Ridge, Isle of Skye

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.

Fading Light, Storr Ridge, Trotternish

Fading Light, Storr Ridge, Trotternish

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 Steps, Storr Ridge, Skye

Golden Steps, Storr Ridge, Skye

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.

Halo Hill, Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

Halo Hill, Storr, Isle of Skye

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.

Summer View from Old Man of Storr, Skye

Summer View from Old Man of Storr, Skye

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.

Across Skye and Wester Ross from the Old Man of Storr

Across Skye and Wester Ross from the Old Man of Storr

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.

Summer Evening at the Old Man of Storr, Skye

Evening at the Old Man of Storr, Skye

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…..

Towards the Coulins from the Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

Towards the Coulins from the Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye

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

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About greenmackenzie

Hi, I'm Seonaid, and I share my home with my husband, my son and a collection of cats and dogs. I am forever snapping shots of things which catch my eye. I love art which is here now and gone tomorrow...like food and nature...but also have a passion for vintage and the ancient past! Nature is my favourite muse, with her wild ever shifting seasons. I have been using and teaching mindfulness and relaxation for over 12 years, and have yet to become any sort of expert :-) I'm a Psychotherapist, and run the Maggies Highlands Cancer Centre, in Inverness, Scotland.
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67 Responses to Mountainous Masterpiece

  1. Your side of the world is stunning. These views are breathtaking ad your writing is so subtle. Lovely!

    • What a gorgeous comment, thank you….the words are inspired by the wonder of the natural world around me๐Ÿ˜Š

      • I find my adventure in WP fulfilling whenever I met real,passionate person like you. Thank you for being so open & natural.. I am more flattered that you belong to my circle.Looking forward to know more about you through your posts.

      • Openness is so refreshing when we meet it in others, and of course offers us the change to learn about the way someone else sees the world๐Ÿ’•Thank you for your lovely open honesty๐Ÿ˜Š

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge – Masterpiece | Joe's Musings

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  4. themofman says:

    Great landscapes to wander through.

  5. Suzanne says:

    Your words capture the wonder and primordial magic of the place. It looks like a wonderful place to visit.

    • It’s really incredible, it feels so otherworldly, harsh and jagged far above the soft earth earth below. It’s a terrible effort to reach the old man, as its pretty much a two mile vertical climb….but the views and the peace are so worth it. Usually there are clouds drifting around, so it looked especially different on this utterly cloudless day ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Carl Milner says:

    Stunning imagery Seonaid, I can see why Directors like Ridley Scott chose this place for his movie prometheus

    Carl ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Indeed, we worked out where they shot the opening scene…but they added the cave!
      I loved how clear the sky was on the evening we climbed, but I think you get better images when there are clouds drifting through…more atmosphere. But it really is otherworldly feeling ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Carl Milner says:

        Sounds a really magical place to capture.

        I’ve heard rumours scouts from the new Star Wars film are considering it as well as filming location

  7. restlessjo says:

    You conjure the magic so beautifully, with both words and photos, Seonaid. This post is a masterpiece in itself. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece | Say It With A Camera

  9. This is a place I would enjoy exploring. Beautiful photos.

  10. Beautiful place … thanks for taking us along. Very glad to know there are still places such as this with which we can nourish the imagination. Mmmm. D

  11. Lenora says:

    Beautiful, haunting images!

    • Thank you Lenora, on a cloud filled day it’s even more dramatic, but there was something very unearthly about the clear empty sky. As though some one had left the lid off the landscape ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. itakepicturessometimes says:

    Oh, I LOVE your images! It makes me want to pack a knapsack and come hiking in the Isle of Skye. Nice work, Seonaid.

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  14. zark66 says:

    WOW!!!! It may be light or mist but it gives the feeling of being a mysterious and lonely… Great photos Seonaid!!! Regards ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Queenie says:

    Stunning pictures! Reminds me very much of here on Dartmoor in Devon! X

  16. ordinarygood says:

    I feel as if I have been on a pilgramage with you in this post. My country is known as Middle Earth thanks to Sir Peter Jackson and his clever film making but I think you could claim a sizeable chunk of Middle Earth in this location.
    BTW I see you love ancient history – you will enjoy Jo’s The Hazel Tree blog here: http://the-hazel-tree.com/

    • It felt like a pilgrimage to do this walk. It’s only two miles, but they are almost continuous vertical miles! We nearly gave up at the midway point, and I’m so glad we pushed on, the views and feeling of awe at the top were incredible. It’s as though all your protection is stripped away and you are exposed and fragile in the face of these huge rocks ๐Ÿ™‚
      Thanks for the link to the Hazel Tree it looks like a great site.

  17. aekshots says:

    Perfect fit for this week’s challenge…great post.

  18. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece | Four Deer Oak

  19. Tina Schell says:

    Beautiful Seonaid – excellent choice. Quite the natural masterpiece ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nature can create some wonderful pieces! It’s really hard to get across the scale of these rock formations, but you are left feeling tiny, fragile and in awe ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Amy says:

    Truly a nature masterpiece! Beautiful photos and words.

  21. Lucid Gypsy says:

    I can only say thank you for showing us this wonder.

    • It’s my pleasure, and its very hard to get across the towering scale of what we are looking at. It was a tough at times nearly vertical scramble to climb the Storr, but worth every ounce of sweat ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Masterpiece | Flickr Comments

  23. Mother Nature gave you a masterpiece to share with us and you added a masterpiece of narration (again) ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I visited Skye once many, many years ago, so it was great to see such excellent pictures of it.

    janet

  25. Paula says:

    Mountain magic ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for this sight ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Colline says:

    These mountains are breathtaking. True masterpieces.

  27. wisejourney says:

    The flooding in of unbidden knowledge is a very appealing idea

    • I agree, and its just what it felt like. There was no striving, no searching….just a sudden flood of knowing ๐Ÿ™‚ I begin to think its the best kind of knowledge.

      • wisejourney says:

        I couldn’t agree more as something that that I have come to in the past 12 months. It is a significant reason for greater pace in my life which I now can no be a Good thing

  28. How very gorgeous and mythical all the photos are and I loved your writing to go with. I love Scotland, native of my ancestors, but never have visited. Thank you for sharing these breathtaking images.

  29. Anna Marie says:

    What a beautiful rugged landscape.

  30. Liana says:

    gorgeous, mythic…your words and photos…I see the molars of the island taking a wide bite of sky…

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