After yesterday’s rest we felt energised to go out and about again. The plan was to visit the museum near Staffin on the east coast to learn more about those dinosaur prints.
The lack of roads on Skye means there are just two ways to get to Staffin and, as the museum is only open between 10.30am and 1pm, we decided on the Portree route, being the quickest. The Old Man of Stor and the neighbouring hills are looking particularly impressive in the sunlight today.
We arrived at the museum in plenty of time and the woman who was taking the money (£2 each) was very knowledgeable. She seemed to know the owner (Dugald Ross) very well and told us the story of the footprints.
It all began in the early 70s when Dugald was a child. He discovered a large slab of rock on the beach at An Coran on which appeared a three-toed indentation. Apparently he wrote to the Hunterian Museum in Glasgow University about it but they were dismissive and put it down to his imagination. It wasn’t until he was an adult and owned a camera that he was able to send the University a photograph. An expert came over immediately and it was later confirmed to be the footprint of a Meglasaurus. This is a photo of the cast that the University made for Dougie – they kept the original for their collection.
Since then other footprints have been found, including what looks like a family group.
Then this fossilised partial leg-bone which has been identified as the femur of a Cetiosaurus:
The footprint in relief on the featured image above is one found on another occasion by Dougie. Apparently it’s in relief because it would have got impacted whilst the material around it shrunk. The lady also explained that the reason we had been unable to find the footprint on the sandstone the other day was because in the summer it is probably under five or six feet of sand! The time to go is apparently in the winter after a heavy storm when the sand gets washed away. Oh well, it looks as though we may never get to see it then…
We carried on around the coast until we got to Uig.
We then discovered that there was actually a road across the mountains from Uig back to Staffin! I don’t know how I missed it on the OS map, taking in the famous Quiraing range. It was a wild and woolly journey over moorland with rocky streams.
Towards the end of the road (with hardly any other traffic) we suddenly came upon a car park absolutely bursting at the seams with cars, motorhomes, cyclists etc – this was the Quiraing and the views were spectacular:
and the journey downhill after that equally so!
After all that excitement it was time for tea and the Art Cafe at Ellishader, near the Museum, seemed to fit the bill.
We had fruit scones with jam or lemon curd and cream and afterwards large pieces of home-made cake, all washed down with glasses of home-made lemon pressé.
More lovely scenery on the way back to the campsite and an exquisite sunset later on.
We will be leaving here tomorrow but it’s been a good place to stay and we have been so lucky with the weather. I believe it’s all going to change from tomorrow…
becca galbraith said:
Looks like much better weather than we’ve been having – Love the dinosaur footprints x
We’re paying for it now – miserable rainy day today. x
Absolutely wonderful set of photographs; I hate to be American sounding, but the scenery is truly awesome. We love fossils. This is one of my favourite days photography wise.
Thanks Sean. The position of the sun makes so much difference with hills and mountains. You’d love this little museum – it’s one man’s fascination with pre-history.
The tea looked a sure winner compared with The Spa Hotel!!! I thought awesome was Kiwi??
It’s probably international now Margaret – but definitely US in origin I think!
Loads of brilliant photos in that and the dinosaur print was pretty cool.