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Issue 92 - A Geological Marvel

Scotland Magazine Issue 92
April 2017

 

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A Geological Marvel

Keith Fergus visits one of Scotland's most iconic natural landmarks

The landscape of The Storr is the highest point of the Trotternish Ridge, a landslip that forms the backbone of Skye, and presents one of the finest views in Scotland. This magnificent landscape rises to 719 metres (2359 feet) above sea level and, on account of its otherworldly nature, was used as a dramatic backdrop in the science fiction film Prometheus (2012). Its unusual name is thought to translate from the Norse 'staur', meaning ‘the stake’.

The Trotternish Ridge runs for 30 kilometres (19 miles) and also includes the breathtaking Quiraing, which can be seen in our Big Picture on p.3. The ridge was formed through a series of massive landslips, which created a unique environment that is truly astonishing to behold and must surely be one of Scotland's greatest natural features.

The ridge's most famous landmark is the Old Man of Storr, a giant tooth-like stack of rock that stands guard over the Sound of Raasay. The Old Man forms the focal point of a dazzling panorama, which is easily reached by climbing a moderately steep, but clear, path from a car park on the A855 — just a 15 minute drive from Portree.

Looking to the east, this superb vantage point takes in the islands of Rona and Raasay, and the mighty Torridon mountains, while to the north the white cottages of Staffin stand out against the rugged terrain. But it is the view south that really sets the pulse racing. The wonderful folded topography of Trotternish draws the eye across Loch Leathan to rest on the rolling aspect of the Red Cuillin and the jagged outline of the iconic Black Cuillin.