Frank and I were on a trip all around Scotland in 2017. We had arrived in Aberdeen to visit our friend Mitch who had moved there several years before. After a few days in town, the three of us ventured out into the Scottish countryside, heading west towards Elgin and south to Inverness.
We spent several days of wandering around all the different lochs, covering most of the countryside and seeing lots of castles. After Sterling we heading toward the Isle of Skye. Each of the stops we made along the way was more beautiful than the last.
The main road into Skye, the A87, takes you over a bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh on the mainland to Kyleakin on Skye. The bridge opened in 2004 and has made Skye accessible without the need to get on a boat.
Once we crossed that bridge over to the Isle of Skye the surroundings began to change. We traveled from a non-stop palette of lush greenery, trees, and lochs to a much more barren, but still green landscape. As we continued to climb higher in elevation, trees became fewer and the landscape less rolling and more jagged.
We decided to stop at the Old Man of Storr for a hike. It is situated on the Trotternish Ridge and is a 160-foot pinnacle rock formation named after its likeness to grizzly faced gent. Legend says it was a giant who resided on the Trotternish Ridge. When he was laid to rest upon his death, his thumb the “Old Man” remained partially above ground.
A hike up the grassy mounds toward the group of curious pinnacle rocks that surround the Old Man provides panoramic views of the water and the surrounding mainland. We started our climb in the early afternoon, with a gradual climb that became a not so gradual climb.
“Good Lord, I think I’m walking up the steepest staircase ever,” I said sweating in the beautiful sunny day.
We continued to climb each of us panting and cursing all of last night’s shenanigans. “Next time, let us say no to so many bottles of red wine,” Frank suggested. “Bloody hell,” Mitch muttered under his breathe.
We could see the top of the crest just above us, with people stopped for a rest before heading back down and we forced ourselves to go those last few meters.
As we reached what we thought was the top of the crest, the actual top of the Old Man revealed itself to us and we were only a little over halfway to the top.
We sat and enjoyed the amazing views and rested for our descent back to the car telling ourselves, not bad for some mid-fifty gents. We climbed our way back down the mountain, or half of the mountain, and headed towards the car. I opened up my iPhone health app and it read we had climbed 84 flights of stairs.
After our hike, we drove to spend the night in Portree, which is the largest town and the capital of Skye. We stayed at a hostel in a shared room with two sets of bunk beds. Dropping off our bags we noticed a set of bags already there.
The lovely town of Portree is easily walkable and full of little shops and restaurants to relax in. The three of us found a pub and nursed our aching feet with a beer. After our drinks and dinner, we returned to the hostel and we each climbed into our bed.
While we were asleep, the fourth person came into the room and climbed into their bed. In the morning, we woke up to find a twenty-something female sleeping in the fourth bunk, below Mitch. As we departed for Aberdeen, we joked we were going to tell his fiancé Fiona he had walked all over an old man all day and slept on top of a woman all night.
I am a storyteller and I have been my whole life. I don't mean I lie, I just like to tell a tale or two from my experiences... and what is better than to help inspire others to experience something I love.