Scotland 2017 - Day 7

Isle of Skye and the Quirang


The day started out brighter with patches of sunshine. Our hotel (the Cuillin Hills Hotel) has a wonderful view south across the loch, with the sunshine from time to time making a spotight on the brightly coloured houses in Portree. Our plan was to drive northwest from Portree to do a figure of eight around the northern-most peninsula area, crossing over from west to east (twice) on the road that passes the Quirang, a jumble of hills and sharp rocks in the centre of the island.

The road to Uig

We headed northwest on the A87 from Portree towards Uig. The road crosses the peninsula to Loch Snizort and then close to the coast to Uig. Uig is a small fishing village but it also has a Calmac ferry terminal. from here you can travel to Lochmaddy on North Uist and Tarbet on Harris.

The sun shone for a short while on the houses in Portree across the bay..
And on the hotel....
bringing out the wildlife.
The road to Loch Snizort.
Ancient standing stones - markers for sailors?
Looking across to Uig
And to the end of the loch..
Houses in Uig
A prominent memorial in Uig...
recording the visit of King Edward VII to the town on 1 September 1902.
Holiday chalets all in a row.
The ferry pier at Uig.
Horse-shoe bend in the road above Uig.
Looking down on Uig.
This is the road we are looking for.

The Quirang

The central part of Skye, north of Portree is a gigantic landslde, slowly moving west.he rosks are a mixture of schists, limestone and basalt from younger volcanoes. These ancient landslides have created a series of jagged rocks and hills, the best known being the "Old Man of Storr". But in the centre, the landslide is still moving, slowly, and this has created and is maintaining great jagged peaks known as the Quirang. When we visited Skye in 2011 the island was wreathed in cloud and we could not see any of these famous hills. As we set out this time the cloud descended and we thought we would not see them again.

As we headed east from the small coastal village of Uig the cloud cleared away and the landscape was bathed in sunshine. We approached the Quirang in ideal conditions and had a marvelous view.

That warning is plain enough.
At last - sunshine!
And sheep.
Evidence of rain during the night.
And then we saw it - The Quirang..
As the road swings around the view changes...
until you suddenly find you are not alone!
And there are people walking everywhere.
With the bright sunshine the view was superb.
We had to park a little further down the road...
just before the hairpin bends.
But still the people marched along.
Where the careless hikers end up....
The road reaches the coast at Staffin.

Kilmuir Cemetery and Flora MacDonald

From the Quirang we reached Staffin and turned north to cross the top of the peninsula, stopping at the small, windswept cemetery at Kilmuir to visit the grave of Flora MacDonald. She has the tallest headstone in the cemetery and the only one needing a stout steel rod to hold it up against the wind.

Houses in Staffin.
Rocky outcrops and a post box!.
The Quirang reflected in a small loch..
That post box ....
is cleared every day at 9.15am.
A chance photo of a hawk sitting on a fencepost.
The road goes on...
around the coast..
Until you reach Kilmuir Cemetery.
The cemetery's most famous inhabitant - Flora MacDonald.
A like-minded local.

Kilt Rock

A few miles north of Portree lies Kilt Rock. It is a high coastal cliff made of vertically-jointed basalt lava, and looks like the pleats of a kilt. It has a viewing platfrom that give a great view of the rock and the high waterfall beside it.

Houses with long strips of land attached - originally crofting plots.
A bus load of tourists snapping away at something dynamic....
The waterfall at Kilt Rock.
And Kilt Rock itself.
The lake at the head of the falls.
Further around the coast and the Old Man of Storr comes into view.
A little further and the rollercoaster road is due to the movement of the giant landslide that formed the Old Man.


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Last updated: 12/11/2017