Today is Alexandra’s birthday but, with no phone signal on the campsite, have to wait until we go out to give her a ring.
The decision today is to investigate the northern coast on the Trotternish peninsular and, with that in mind, we made our way up to Uig, the port that we arrived at just a few days ago. We were impressed at the time and, seen from the other direction, it looked delightful in the sunshine.
Leaving Uig behind us, we climbed the steep hill on the single track A855 going due north. The countryside is flatter up here, particularly towards the coast.
As we got nearer to the coastline at Kilmuir we saw a sign for the Skye Museum of Island Life – a collection of seven thatched cottages. Having enjoyed the Blackhouse in Lewis, we decided to take a look.
Unfortunately for us, it is not run by Historic Scotland, but the entrance fee is very reasonable at a mere £2 each for us, ahem… older people. The first thing I noticed were the brightly repainted farm implements which I took an instant dislike to. It looks false and touristy to me. We went into the various houses and, apart from the presence of those ghostly looking dummies which we hate, the rooms were chock full of interesting old artefacts. Almost too chock full in a way as it was difficult to take it all in.
The other annoying aspect were the printed warnings plastered everywhere (except in the first few cottages oddly) that photography was banned (as well as smoking which, in this day and age, was surely de trop). We had already taken some photographs by the time we saw the notices anyway and will risk showing some here.
A half a mile or so up the lane from the cottages is the cemetery where Flora MacDonald is laid to rest (supposedly wrapped in a shroud made from a bed sheet in which Bonnie Prince Charlie had slept) and an imposing Celtic cross marks the grave. Rumour has it that there were 3,000 mourners at her funeral in 1790 who, between them, got through 300 gallons of whisky – it must have been some party.
Coming down the east coast of the Trotternish peninsular, we took a brief detour to a little bay at Port Gobhlaig where we stopped to have some lunch, while looking out over the bird-less water. We’re beginning to wonder where all the birds have gone in this part of the world, but it’s a very attractive place nevertheless.
To add to my collection of animals on the brink, here is a strange, half de-nuded sheep.
Nice to see a hare as we left.
Back on the main road again, we had views out to the mainland on our left and hills on our right.
We started looking out for signs for Staffin and the beach at An Coran where the three-toed prints of an Ornithopod, who walked these shores some 165 million years ago, can be seen embedded in the sandstone above the beach at low tide. Excitement mounted as we took the track down to the beach.
Yes, that rock is on the edge of the track we are on!
We could see that the sea was not covering the beach entirely and were excited to note that the sandstone was indeed exposed. We had a rough idea as to where the footprints would be from the excellent http://www.theskyeguide.com but, hunt as we might for at least a half an hour, alas we couldn’t find them.
There are dents in the sandstone that looked hopeful but nothing like this photo, courtesy of the Skye Guide (50p piece to show the size):
Apparently, even at low tide sand can still hide them.
We stopped at the little cottage a few miles down the coast where apparently an old crofter has collected evidence of Skye’s previous inhabitants all those years ago, but unfortunately it was closed. I would like to go back on Monday morning to take a look if possible. Perhaps he can tell us exactly where to look!
Passing the Old Man of Storr on our right on the road south
there is a sizeable car park and quite of lot of people can be seen following the well-worn track upwards.
Not for us today, however, as we head on down to Portree where we are determined to take a walk around the harbour. We parked in the large free car park (we have not paid to park so far anywhere in Scotland and the islands) and found a track leading around the edge of the water where there were a few odd boats moored.
Lovely to look across the water with the Cuillins in the distance as usual.
We went as far as we could go and then climbed some steep winding steps up to the higher level. With the bluebells out, it was a pleasant climb.
Walking up a slope we found ourselves in a lovely open space with trees and rhodedentrons and, of course, that view of the mountains.
Nice to take a break after that climb!
The views over the harbour were stunning.
There is a little octagonal tower, the original apparently built in the 1830s but taken down in 1978 when it was damaged by severe gales. It was rebuilt in 1990 using the original stones and now has a little stairway inside so that people can look out over the harbour.
We had to go back down in order to get to the harbour itself where a fish and chip shop sold the best chips we have had in ages!
Back at the campsite and with the sun still shining, we had our third barbecue of the holiday but, in view of the chips, just steak and salad. 🙂
Judy Beer said:
Looks as good in your photo’s as Channel 4 last night, Grand Designs house was on the island , larch covered , with grass roof , wedged shaped and with an artist studio, for the 2 lady owners, next to it. Love the photos and the blogs.
Ditto Judy – she got there first!! The aerial views were spectacular and gave such a good picture of the scenery – now yours from ground level – how spoilt. Mx
Nice to see a photograph including one of you make it as the header shot. Some of the views are really quite majestic, which combined with the vibrant colours are making for some memorable photographs.
It’s very annoying that every time I go to comment I see Sean has put near enough what I would have said!! One day I’ll be first! 😉