We stayed overnight at an Airbnb place in Torrin, near Portree and the Isle of Skye. Torrin is a very small town, and the house itself was located off the main road.
It was windy, it was narrow.
Drivers would politely pull over to one side of the road to let an on coming car pass by. There’s no real ‘system’ to follow. I would describe it as a civilised, polite game of chicken. Kev enjoyed this and would beam the biggest goofy smile at the guaranteed friendly wave that you would receive after pulling over, or after driving past. It did make us both feel very community minded.
We decided to spend this day hiking, and the place that captured our imagination was The Old Man of Storr. There’s just something about that name that made me want to visit it. It sounded like a place out of A Song of Ice and Fire series or from The Lord of the Rings. Reviews stated that it was a wonderful hike and that it can be a little dangerous during icey/wet conditions. Ha ha! That didn’t deter us.
The drive to The Old man of Storr was just as varied and as grandiose as the previous drives. The weather kept changing with pockets of glorious sun, followed by heavy clouds.
This view of the famous rock formation was like a trophy being dangled before us. As we drove with that view ahead, anticipation of what we were going to achieve grew – we were going to get up that mountain and visit The Old Man of Storr.
The hike took a few hours as the trails had been covered snow. It was quite exciting and thrilling looking up at the rocks and figuring out how to get up there. At the beginning it was sunny and calm. This was the most enjoyable part of the hike for me as everything seemed to twinkle.
However, that soon changed. When we started ascending the steepest part of the hike, large dark clouds rolled over The Old Man of Storr, strong winds started billowing against us with shards of icy sleet. I kept looking up at the top and I could feel myself get all… whats the word? – Terrified.
Just think about those movies where someone freaks out and wants to turn back when the right decision is to keep on going. That’s who I was at that moment, while Kev was happily bounding up with not a care in the world.
I started to freak myself out, reverse vertigo, that feeling of being blown over, the fear that I’m going to die. Everything just seemed to make me spiral into this out of control fear. Though Kev was fine.
I attempted to rationalise my fear for a good period of time, taking photos and videos and anything to distract me from the huge freak out party that was happening inside. I think I did pretty well to hide too.
But eventually fear got to me and I just stopped. I stopped right in the middle of a ledge. I couldn’t move forward or backwards. I was just so scared. Poor Kev, he had no idea what was happening and asked me if I was ok.
I just ended up failing at trying to politely and calmly tell him that I couldn’t do it.
I could tell Kev did not want to stop, and I didn’t want hold him back so I said ‘just go without me’. I had that mental block. Kev told me that he would go ahead and then come back to show me the way, but as soon as he turned around, I regretted my decision to stay put. I couldn’t believe I was tapping out. This just wasn’t like me. I got extremely frustrated and angry at myself.
I ended up slowly getting up, and just focused on Kev’s back as he continued onwards to the top. So long as I ignored the wind, the sleet and my crazy thoughts about being blown off, I was able to put one foot in front of the other. Kev kept turning around to see me, and he smiled when he saw that I was cautiously following him.
I am proud to say we made it. It wasn’t the highest or toughest hike we’ve done, but it was definitely the scariest experience for me. I don’t know why. So when we got to the top, it was sweeter and it was a glorious view! The clouds passed, the winds softened and the sun came out.
I don’t doubt that I would have turned around if I were there alone, so I am forever grateful that Kev was there to keep me going and to make us get to the top.