Monday, September 28, 2015

Day 24: Skye

Firstly, and most importantly, we woke to this magnificent view.

Skye is such a try-hard.

After breakfast (my fiancé ordered kippers which he regretted - so many bones to pick out!), we set off for Claigan, determined to find the souterrain once and for all. The one lane road was quieter and mostly there were locals turning up to park, though there were some people in vans and caravans who had obviously ignored or misinterpreted the sign that said “O OVERNIGHT PARKING”. The N was absent.

Following the instruction of a map we had seen online, we followed a track past two gates, many properties, lots of sheep and thousands of pieces of shit! We found remnants of Neolithic activity - stones and lumps and bumps, etc. But the actual position of the souterrain - behind a fence!

Disheartened and uncertain about the unusual law in Scotland that allows you free reign on private property, we turned back. Later my research would conclude that it might have been feasible to continue but under the Scottish Outdoor Access Code you can’t damage things like fences and we could have done that trying to get over it. Still, my fiancé decided it as a win as we had actually found the souterrain, according to the Internet.

We dashed off to Dun Beag Broch. I consider brochs to be the stage between Neolithic stone houses and medieval castles. I managed to park in the wrong spot - but so did the family we ended up climbing up to the broch with.

It rose impressively on a hill, dominating all of us. The sheep didn’t seem so bothered. The climb wasn’t too bad, though the grass was studded with stones that were scatted as though they had spewed from the broch like ash from a volcano. Had they fallen over time or had they been smashed down?


We fought rough wind which made me feel like TV presenter Neil Oliver with my hair blowing all over my face while my fiancé tried to take a photo.

A sign claimed the broch had only been abandoned in the 18th century - that’s almost 2000 years of continual habitation! I noticed what appeared to be the ruins of a 19th century cottage nearby, made of bastardised stone.

I enjoyed this broch. It was slightly different in format to Carn Liath on the A9. We could climb small stairs and even walk around a passage (sadly the wall only came up to below our knees) between the double walls. There was a “guardhouse” as at Carn Liath but the entrance faced inside instead of to the side. Dun Beag Broch is an impressive structure, even in ruins with its carpet of grass.

Dun Beag Broch won't be winning any interior design awards.

This broch had a much more commanding view than at Dunvegan Castle - makes you wonder if Leod’s ancestors lived in this broch before upgrading, keeping it as an outpost! This is the best place for a broch.

I could live here.

We left the others there, pleased with this find at least. Back in Dunvegan, we ate at a cake shop. I enjoyed the jasmine tea but my liver protested over the triple chocolate muffin. Thank God I no longer have a gallbladder! We then ducked into a tiny cottage which was signposted as the Great Angus MacAskill Museum.

It held a life-sized replica of the man himself who was nearly 8 feet tall and performed great feats of strength. Angus MacAskill had emigrated to the US after the highland clearances and did well for himself. A distantly related clansman runs the museum. Apparently Angus was a true giant, not one afflicted by gigantism. Interesting but not sure it’s worth the 2 pound entry fee!

Our day was done. We relaxed the whole afternoon away before a nice dinner at the bistro. I had a surprisingly good chilli con carne. Back to the B&B for photo editing.

Now watching BBC iPlayer while writing this exact sentence.


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