The Old Man of Storr

Hi there! Sorry to miss you last week – Mrs Stroke Bloke and I had just spent the weekend in Skye. I’ve been particularly keen to get there since I read Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse during my creative writing degree.

This recording is mental
Over the bridge to Skye

That linked recording of The Skye Boat Song is bonkers. The production, for a start. Then there’s the incredible whistling of Roger Whitaker – you’ve never heard anything like it.  Take that, Otis Redding. And I’ve not even mentioned that someone thought it would be a good idea to get Des O’Connor in to sing it?!

[You’ll need a palate cleanser after that. Why not try the Apoplexy Newsletter?]

Eric Morecambe did, probably

Long-suffering readers will recall that

the inspiration for [the Ramsay’s summer home in To The Lighthouse]  Finlay is the home in Cornwall in which Woolf summered with her family as a child. The Skye she describes isn’t redolent of the Isles. So much so, that Finlay is described as being 300 miles from London. Skye is 600 miles from London. St Ives in Cornwall on the other hand….

Does anyone have an imperial ruler?
Rarely seen pictures of Virginia Woolf researching To The Lighthouse

So perhaps it wasn’t surprising that Skye didn’t conform to the pictures To The Lighthouse conjured in my mind. Though maybe that’s more to do with the passing of time. Certainly if one thinks of the bridge, which began construction in 1992.

Maybe we’d be better to think of what Skye will look like in 2089.

Scotland gets a post-independence tech boost
Got to compliment The Mail for describing Prometheus as a “Skye-fi thriller”

The Alien franchise movie Prometheus was partly shot on location on Skye. As we were walking near the cliffs of the Quiraing (Cuith-Raing), I mentioned that all they would have to do is slap a filter over the camera lens. As Visit Scotland writes in its review of 6 Famous Film Locations on Skye, the place looks supernatural.

They’d still need to ship the spacecraft from Glasgow, though. Glasgow’s built more satellites in the last two years than any other city in Europe.

The sci-fi fun didn’t stop there. Later in the day, we walked up to the Old Man of Storr.

Looks like its about to get a bit Wile E. Coyote!
The Old Man of Storr. And a big rock. ((c) Mrs Stroke Bloke, 2017)

Staying with Prometheus, Noomi Rapace discovers an ancient star map in a cave under the Old Man of Storr in the movie.

But perhaps what walking up to the Old Man brought most to mind was a plot line in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? that didn’t make it into the “inspired by” movie Blade Runner As Ian Wiki describes it,

[M]ass extinctions and the accompanying cultural push for greater empathy… has motivated a technology-based religion called Mercerism…. Mercerism uses “empathy boxes” to simultaneously link users to a collective virtual reality of communal suffering, centered on a martyr-like character, Wilbur Mercer, who eternally climbs up a hill while being hit with crashing stones.

C'mon! That's a cracker!
Scree if you want to go faster!

I’ve been wanting to use that pun all week!

We did indeed experience empathy with people from France, Japan, and England on the Old Man, although the place was far from overrun. In fact, one of the pleasures of much of the walk was the solitude, and the opportunity to be very much in the present place and moment.

Although, as a stroke survivor, I may have experienced the sin of pride when I got to the top. 😜

It feels so right, how can it be wrong?!
Stroke Bloke gets to the sinning in Skye

The point being, sometimes the journey is difficult. But that doesn’t make the destination any less fantastic. And of course, sometimes the journey is the destination.


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