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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Highway (A82) to Heaven Pt. 2

Saturday morning dawned clear and sunny, if a little cool and breezy. We set of through Portree to take a trip up the Trotternish peninsula. Almost straight away the Old Man of Storr came into view, a strange pinnacle of rock Brenda describes as looking like a fir tree. See for yourself.

Further up the coast road, we came to Kilt Rock, a cliff named for the pleats in the rock reminiscent of Fingal's Cave or the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Shortly after leaving here, we stumbled across the small privately run Fossil Museum at Ellishadder,  housed in an old cottage without even an electrical supply. The young girl who worked there explained the whole thing started many years ago with her uncle stumbling across a fossil while walking along the beach and led to a lifetime (so far) of collecting). They have, among other things, what appears at first to be a large slab of rock with a raptor footprint. On closer examination, you can see the Guinness Book of Records' entry for the smallest fossilised dinosaur footprint ever found. It appears that the raptor was walking along the beach with a youngster running in and out around its feet, leaving a tiny print inside the huge one. This little gem is well worth a visit.

By now, we had a bit of a drouth on, so it was a bit of luck that led to us stumbling across the Small & Cosy Teahouse. This is housed on the bottom floor of an attractive stone-built cottage with excellent views across to Barra and South Uist. It's run by a young Czech lady and has a list of teas from all over the world which would put a Twinings shop to shame. I had Oolong and Brenda had Gawd knows what, but along with a couple of very tasty cakes, it all went down a treat.

Finally, we visited the Museum of Island Life at Kilmuir in the north of the peninsula. There's a collection of seven thatched cottages and an old smithy illustrating island life around 100 years ago. It's fascinating and well worth the small admission charge. Before you leave there, you might want to take a walk up to the nearby cemetery, where Flora McDonald is buried.

From then on, it was just a gentle drive around the rest of the peninsula, through Uig and back to Quay Street in Portree for a nice meal before sloping off back to Galarapin to get out feet up and get a good night's sleep to prepapre for our trip to Neist point the next day. I'll leav you for the moment with a not untypical Skye roadside (sometimes in the middle of the road) scene.