From Portree the road took us north for views of the Old Man of Storr, a rather precarious looking needle of rock seen from a great distance. The cloud was right down by the time we drove the road below it but the best shots I got were the distant ones.
A little further on we left the car to take a walk – not a long one - to where we could look down on the ruins of a diatomite works! Have you ever heard of diatomite? I know I hadn’t, but apparently it was/is a clay-like substance made up of the microscopic shells of diatoms! It was found a few miles from where the works was then built, and was brought here to be treated before being shipped out to be used in insulation of ships’ boilers, in the production of paints and polishes, even for the manufacture of dynamite. I wonder how tall the chimney was originally. It reminded me of when I lived in the Dales of Yorkshire having lead mines and smelting mills round about the fells. The chimneys were high to release poisonous fumes higher into the air. Was this the same?
Walking back along the track we admired the beautiful waterfall of Lethallt tumbling into a gorge that wound down to the sea near the diatomite works.
Then on again to look at the Kilt Rocks, named for the stratification patterns on the cliff face that look rather like the pleats and weave of a kilt. There is a viewing platform there now that was quite new to me, but it does save people leaning out over the top of the cliffs to see the rocks, and the pretty waterfall. Accidents have happened, so safety barriers have sensibly been put in place.
Not finding too many cafes and those we did find, closed, I suggested to Colin we go to Flodigarry Hotel for afternoon tea! The hotel used to belong to a former colleague from years back, inherited from her grandmother, and I had stayed at the hotel once on a tour with my pal Brenda but that was long ago, and we found out that Donna gave up the hotel quite some time ago. Still it was nice to sit and take our tea, scones and shortbread, in the company of Donna’s best friend who coincidentally had just popped into the hotel at the same time as us! Nearby, and part of the hotel, is the house where Jacobite heroine Flora MacDonald lived. You can read about her and see her cottage here
Refreshed, we continued along the single track road allowing oncoming cars to pass, by one of us stopping in a passing place . Friendly waves of appreciation are exchanged, and you know it’s a local driver when the wave appears as just a raised finger, hand still on the steering wheel! Through Duntulm at the top of the island, Kilmuir, where my former flatmate Sheila came from – the one who introduced me to the Gaelic choir all those years ago and who I met up with recently after nearly 30 years – and where Flora MacDonald is buried - into Uig where the ferry leaves for the Outer Hebrides. No boat waiting today, as I recalled a time when I was booked to go to Stornaway, and arrived late at Uig due to hold-ups on the road. The boat was still there, as we pulled up on the pier, but as I called to the ferryman, the boat slipped away from the pier, off to sea without us! So near, yet so far! I was furious! The whole story is long and I won’t bore you with it, but we should have been on that boat!
On we drove, back down to Portree, and Sligachan again. Fine views of the hills demanded that photos should be taken so here’s Colin sitting on the old Sligachan bridge with Sgurr nan Gillean raising its pointed summit in the background – Sgoor nun Geelyan with a hard G not a J, means peak of the lads/young men. It wasn’t until the second half of the 19th century that Gillean – the young men - started coming here to explore the mountains, and now the peaks are dotted all over with hillwalkers and climbers arriving in their droves.
We got back to Carbost about the same time as the others and over supper exchanged notes on our day! Plans were made for the next day, and before long, all exhausted, we retired to our beds. I took this photo from the bedroom window at about 11.30 p.m.
Talk again soon.