We were riding on a high from our long awaited for encounter with the highland coos and decided to push our first day on Isle of Skye by getting one of our hikes out of the way. The town of Portree was our home base and is only about a 15 minute drive to the parking area for the Old Man of Storr hike. The great thing about being this far north (apparently we are on the same latitude as Alaska) is the copious amounts of sunlight available well into the evening hours. We started the hike around 6 PM and had the benefit of a less crowded lot and far less crowded hike.
We start the hike up…and up and up. We had gained about 300 feet in no time prompting the quote of the trip when Adam sighed “this vacation is a bitch”. To be fair he had been carrying Z in the hiking backpack for every hike and we had several more planned over the next few days. I had to laugh maniacally as he continued his diatribe – “I don’t even hike in Denver, why did I want to do this!”.
In all his research for our hiking activities that he was so excited about he found a great website that provided detailed information on the various routes available and we chose the less traveled one and quickly had the trail entirely to ourselves. At times it seemed like a scene out of The Force Awakens and I was needing to remind myself to not be disappointed when Luke Skywalker was NOT waiting for me at the top.
You see the great jutting rock formation balanced pointing straight up into the sky overlooking the epic scenery below. We were stopped about 50 feet from the summit by two families of sheep who blocked our path and very stubbornly refused to move. Sure, they were just sheep, but they also had horns and babies so we were wary of trying anything too drastic to get them to move. Reluctantly we decided to bail on the plan to climb over the top and started down the same way we came up. The fact that it was already pushing 8 PM and we hadn’t yet given a thought to dinner made it a slightly less sad decision.
Wouldn’t you know it, the moment we started down the path our little sheep families decided to follow us. It was quite cute as their two little lambs kept chasing each other up and over the rocks putting our huffing and puffing to shame.
The beauty here and seeming isolation was remarkable, especially when Zeke had a rare lapse in stream of consciousness and we could hear birds calling and echoing off the surrounding cliff face. It was perfect timing for the more typical Scottish gray skies as well which only enhanced the mystery and allure of this place.
We were utterly exhausted by the time we made it down to our car, most dinner places closed at 9:30 PM and the prospect of cooking dinner seemed less appealing. Luckily there was a lone Asian take-out place just a few blocks from our apartment. Just what a long hike calls for.