Pinsteps. Geology of the Old Man of Storr: Lava Flows, Glaciation, and Landslides
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Geological History

  1. Lava Flows: The cliffs of The Storr contain an impressive sequence of around 24 individual lava flows, dating back approximately 1.6 million years. The thickness of these layers varies from 1 meter to over 30 meters.

  2. Laterite Layers: Between the lava layers, thin red layers called laterite are found. These indicate enough time between eruptions for weathering and embryonic soils to develop.

  3. Glacial Influence: During the ice ages, the entire area was repeatedly covered by glacial ice. Glacial ice moved north along the Sound of Raasay, modifying the escarpment on the eastern side of the Trotternish ridge.

  4. Landslides: There have been a series of landslides identified at the Storr. Some are older than the last ice age and have been smoothed by the passage of ice. The more recent ones are jagged and include distinctive formations like the Old Man of Storr and Needle Rock.

The Old Man of Storr

The Old Man of Storr is one of the most prominent and recognisable pinnacles. It probably slid away from the main cliff in a single event about 6000 years ago. This formation, along with others like Needle Rock, adds a unique character to the landscape.

Coire Faoin

Coire Faoin is a large hollow left by the last landslide blocks moving downslope. It's noteworthy that this is not a true glacial corrie but rather a result of landslides.


The geology of the area around the Old Man of Storr reveals a rich and complex history, encompassing volcanic activity, glacial movements, and landslides. These geological processes have shaped an iconic landscape that draws geologists, hikers, and tourists alike. The interaction of lava flows, laterite layers, and glaciation provides a fascinating glimpse into the Earth's dynamic past in this remarkable part of Scotland.

Pictures uploaded by @Evgeny Praisman
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Evgeny Praisman
Isle of Skye: From the Peaks of The Old Man of Storr to the Coastal Cliffs of Kilt Rock of Jul 16, 2023

Our adventure on the Isle of Skye began with a captivating hike to the Old Man of Storr, an iconic rock formation. We trekked through vibrant, rugged landscapes and were rewarded with stunning views from the top. The towering pinnacle and its surrounding pinnacles are a unique geological wonder, standing tall against Skye's dramatic backdrop. This place, steeped in local legends and folklore, lent an air of mystery to our exploration. Along the way, we discovered greenish clay at the base of the Old Man, hinting at the island's rich ceramic traditions and Viking heritage.

Next, we were enthralled by the sight of the Kilt Rock and Mealt Falls Viewpoint. The Kilt Rock, named so for its striking resemblance to a kilt, features vertical basalt columns resting on a bed of sandstone. From the viewpoint, we were treated to a breathtaking spectacle of the Mealt Falls, plummeting 55 meters into the sea. The gushing water against the sounds of the winds and waves seemed like an orchestra of nature, offering an experience to remember. We were also fascinated by the nesting seabirds, such as fulmars, which make the cliff face their home.

However, our journey took an unexpected turn while driving on the island's narrow, winding roads. The tire of our vehicle got punctured due to the jagged edges of the roadside curb. Stranded without a spare tire, our journey came to a halt. Despite being in a region with no cellular connection, we were fortunate to meet a resident who helped us contact our rental company. Although the arrival of a technician brought some relief, it turned out he had come to tow our car back to the garage rather than replace the tire. A replacement had to be ordered from the mainland, implying we'd be without our vehicle until the following evening.

Though initially a setback, this incident led us on a different kind of adventure. We began exploring Skye's enchanting landscapes using public transport, discovering its beauty from a different perspective. Our impromptu bus adventure allowed us to interact more with locals and fellow travellers, making our journey even more memorable.

In the end, our trip to the Isle of Skye, though filled with unforeseen circumstances, offered many memorable experiences. From mesmerising landscapes to fascinating wildlife, historical influences to unexpected adventures, the island provided a captivating blend of nature, culture, and adventure.

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Evgeny Praisman (author)
Здравствуйте! Меня зовут Женя, я путешественник и гид. Здесь я публикую свои путешествия и путеводители по городам и странам. Вы можете воспользоваться ими, как готовыми путеводителями, так и ресурсом для создания собственных маршрутов. Некоторые находятся в свободном доступе, некоторые открываются по промо коду. Чтобы получить промо код напишите мне сообщение на телефон +972 537907561 или на и я с радостью вам помогу! Иначе, зачем я всё это делаю?
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