Bob Law – walking in Skye: The Storr – Hartaval –Trotternish Ridge
In the hill-walking and climbing world many people get fixated with the wonders of the Black Cuillin Ridge on the Island of Skye and return again and again to these iconic Scottish western seaboard peaks, climbing them year after year. I was no different. It took over 20 years before I could release myself from their gabbro coated spell and explore the lesser peaks on Skye, instead of just meaning to explore them or a swift visit in poor conditions when the higher ridge lines were obscured by mist, rain or low clouds.
Once you have freed yourself to visit the other mountain areas on the island, like the Trotternish Ridge, or the seldom visited islands in Loch Bracadale, you will be pleasantly surprised to find equally breathtaking scenery, minus the crowds that nowadays frequent the Munro peaks.
The bizarre rock formations of the Quiraing at the northern end of The Trotternish Ridge, or the pinnacles surrounding the Old Man of Storr and the southern section, have always been a wet weather alternative to visit on the island. On a bad day on the main Cuillin ridge the spires and weird buttresses of Trotternish look equally impressive on as the loom out of the mist.
When you see and ascend the Storr on a sparkling, sunny day it is a revelation. A two day – one night back packing tour along this wild escarpment running up the north side of the island has always been a classic. However we were intent on bagging two summits at the southern end of this impressive massif. Scotland’s very own table top mountain and every bit as spectacular.
We left the tourists behind near the car park then it was just the two of us striding over the ridge with panoramic views and miles of empty landscape rolling away into the distance. Alex is into Corbett bagging and is ticking off a list hill groups so The Storr, 719 metres, and Hartaval, 668metres, were high on his agenda. I’m just happy going anywhere that’s spectacular.
The Storr ticks all the boxes and must rate as one of the twenty best Corbetts in Scotland. Rising abruptly from moorland 10km from Portree, the island’s main town, it could easily blend in with the vast cliffs of the Italian Dolomites and not look out of place in any way.
An easy path leads from the car park up past the Old Man of Storr then trends right then left up grass slopes with little exposure until you reach the summit. Hands in pocket stuff so far, although, the vertical drop off the summit cliff is staggering.
The neighbouring peak of Hartaval is a short canter up grass slopes then you can return via an easy gentle gully at the Bealach Beag.
A straightforward no scrambling walk of around 4 to 6 hours depending on pace yet one that takes you into some of the best locations and landscape that Scotland has to offer. Under 10km with no real difficulties and mainly short grass underfoot.
Try to pick a nice clear day to see it at its best. The Storr summit walk.. One of Skye’s lesser known treasures.
OS Landranger map.Sheet 23. North Skye.
Bob Law Books
Buy on Amazon – Autohighography A Tale of Summits and Sinners
My second book is A Walking and Cycling Guide around the River Clyde and the Firth of Clyde £2:39 pence, which has over 80 routes described and has 146 original colour photographs on a journey down the Clyde from New Lanark to Girvan including the islands in the Firth.
My third book comes out shortly which is ‘A Guide to Glasgow Outdoors‘ Over 70 walks and cycle rides. City parks, riverside walks, hills and gorges around the greater Glasgow area with over 150 original colour photos. Price still to be set but will be similar money to River Clyde Book.
This section: Bob Law: photographer, walker and writer
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