We woke at about 04:45 in the morning and got our kit prepped. At this early hour we made our first mistake of the day, no breakfast. We didn’t eat or drink anything before we set off and we took no food or drink with us. Schoolboy error.
It was still pitch black when we arrived at the car park at the base of the climb. This was one of Skye’s most famous walks, up to the Old Man of the Storr.
Due to some deforestation the walk has changed a lot (we later discovered), in the past the path was sheltered by trees almost all the way up to the higher plateau, up underneath the famous rocks. However, for us the walk was very much in the open. Of course, it was so dark that we had no idea what our surrounding were like. It was only on our walk down that we saw the flattened white remains of the wooded area, it was a bizarre site and one we felt really detracted from the beauty of the location.
So we started our walk up. The dark was a problem, but something we had to endure if we were to reach the summit and have time to set up before sunrise. As we climbed we noticed that there were few clouds in the sky, meaning we might not have the greatest sunrise ever. But we continued. With only our head torches to guide us, I was constantly getting off the track and the weeks of rain had made the path extremely boggy and hard to pass. At one point I got off track, and ended up knee deep in mud and cracking my knee on a poorly placed tree stump. I was not happy.
When we got up to the first plateau I was in need of a rest. I stopped and Graham continued. As the light started to improve I noticed I was nearly where I needed to be, so I pushed on and found my spot. Once in position the light improved and I saw the incredible view around me. To the right, the famous rock formations of the Storr and to my left the mountains of the Scottish highlands away on the mainland, beneath me lakes and rivers and off to the South, the mountains of Skye. It is an amazing spot.
The sun rose and we got a sunset that was all too clear and crisp with not a cloud in the sky. So although the photographs weren’t the most exciting thing ever, it was a morning I won’t soon forget!
Quick note on technique and gear. Basically, I took too much. I could have done with just the 17-55 2.8, the tripod and a few filters, anything else was a bit like ballast. For the setup it was about finding the right location and then setting up the camera to expose for the current light and then constantly adjusting as the light was changing to make sure that when the light was perfect I wouldn’t have to adjust the exposure or at least not much.