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STORR & THE PAP

Recently, whilst in Scotland for a few days, I climbed the Storr and the Pap of Glencoe. The weather on the Storr was good but collapsed into low cloud and rain by the time I reached the Pap of Glencoe.

1. The Storr, Skye 2,358 feet

The Storr is usually combined with Hartaval, its near neighbour, to give two Grahams in a relatively easy day of around four hours. It is a short drive north from Portree up the A855 to arrive at the parking areas under the Storr. It can be challenging to park because there are many holiday makers walking up the mountain to see the Old Man of Storr and the Rock Pinnacles.

The Old Man of Storr, Skye
The Old Man of Storr, Skye

From the northerly car park a wide and obvious path leads up the mountainside. The Old Man of Storr is on your left side and you will probably see a number of walkers just below it. However, it is virtually impossible to climb, even for very experienced rock climbers. The route flattens off above the Old Man and turns left. From here a path leads to the summit above the cliffs. It is good route but it is safest to keep to the right well away from the cliffs. In poor weather it is probably best to carry on along the main path and approach the Storr from the north, up easy grassy slopes.

The summit of the Storr is a surprise after all the cliffs and rock formations passed on the ascent. It feels like a large bowling green.  I lingered for 20 minutes talking to a New Zealander who had climbed many mountains round the world and traversed the Cuillin Ridge in his younger days

Trotternish Ridge from Hartaval
Trotternish Ridge from Hartaval

I then headed off to Hartaval which lies to the north east of the Storr and is easily approached via a grassy col. There are fine views along the Trotternish Ridge from Hartaval

2. Pap of Glencoe 2,432 feet

I had failed to climb the Pap of Glencoe with my brother Alistair in a white out in November 1979, so a return after 40 years was perhaps overdue. The Pap sits above Glencoe Village and is a very prominent peak, particularly as you drive over Ballachulish Bridge on the way to Fort William

Glencoe village and Loch Leven from the Pap
Glencoe village and Loch Leven from the Pap

It is a short but steep climb of some 2,400ft from a minor road which runs south east from the centre of Glencoe. A good path leads up the hillside then traverses right to run due east, before turning north for the final climb to the col between the Pap of Glencoe and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh, the Munro and Top 500 Summit at the end of the Aonach Eagach ridge. A scramble north up the steep hillside, following a path, leads to the summit. On a clear day I am sure the views are superb but I couldn’t see anything on my visit.