Sunday, June 13, 2010


A common saying is Scotland is that if you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes. For most of my time in Scotland this was true, we saw everything from driving rain to beautiful blue skies, often only a few minutes apart. Skye was an exception to this, as it was cloudy almost the whole time we were there. I can say that I've seen the bottom 300 feet of Skye, but I'll have to go back to see the rest.

Waiting for the ferry at Glenelg, looking across towards Skye.

The mists added an air of mystery though. Shapes half-seen loomed over the road, like giants ready to snatch us away. One highlight was the Fairy Glen near Uig. For the geologists, it's an ancient landslide, since remodelled by glaciation. For the romantics, it's the home of fairies. Both generous and capricious, they can steal you away or grant wishes.

The Fairy Glen contains the remains of several buildings and stone walls. On a cold, misty morning it was easy to believe that the crofters had been stolen away to the land of the fairies, where a century passes in a day. If they come back, they'll get a surprise!

Near the Fairy Glen, we visited a restored Black House, an example of the buildings farmers lived in for centuries. The walls are dry stone, packed with earth, the roof is thatch and the floor bare earth. On a cold and damp day, warmed only by a peat fire burning in the middle of the room, the house showed how hard life must have been for farmers on the edge of the world.

In contrast to the Black House, we stayed in the thoroughly warm and welcoming town of Portree. If you're going, I can recommend the Caledonian Hotel. Portree has a nice combination of rustic charm, good pubs and very nice restaurants. I felt a bit shabby in one! Even the fish and chips were superb, sitting on a stone wall overlooking the harbour.

I've posted this picture before, but without an explanation. Kilt Rock, north of Portree, is an early Tertiary dolerite sill intruding Jurassic sediments. Like Staffa it has columnar jointing due to slow cooling, which gives it a kilt-like appearance.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice Nick - stunning imagery! Pity you cant see larger versions. The link to view larger seems to be broken. J.

2:30 pm  

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