Friday July 12
We decided to take a break from hiking today since we were all feeling a little weary after several days of intense walking. Instead, we embarked on a bus tour of the island. Skye is known as "Eilean a' Cheo" (The Isle of Mist) or "An t-Eilean" (The winged Isle). We definitely observed a fair amount of cloud and mist on this particular outing. Many of the rock formations we saw were at least partially shrouded in mist, and many of the sites we visited gave us a deeper insight into the mystical qualities of the island that seem so deeply embedded in the imaginations of its residents—regardless of their philosophy. The majority of the Landmarks on Skye, and in many parts of Scotland, are associated with their own stories, myths, or legends; and these stories continue to endure in the Gaelic place names, language, and imaginations of its residents. One of our drivers, a retired police officer from Glasgow, described in great detail what he sincerely believed to be his own sighting of the Lochness monster. He enthusiastically shared with us a newspaper story that was written about the event, which occurred many years ago. This type of exchange about other-worldly, supernatural events or occurrences is not unusual in many parts of Scotland or on Skye. As Katherine Jamie remarks in one of our course readings, whether you think creatures like the Loch Ness monster exist really depends on what you mean by "exist." Creatures like the Loch Ness monster are "shape-shifting beasts, and this one has found a form that has allowed it to outlast everyone and everything else round here—saints, poets, devil worshippers…"
On our bus tour today, we visited a ruined fort ("Dun Baeg Broch) and The Old Man of Storr, a fifty meter high pinnacle that points skyward and can be seen for miles around. We also explored Portree, the island's largest town, the Lealt waterfalls, the Kilt Rock, a stretch of the coast where the columns on the cliffs give the cliff-face a kilt-like appearance, and the Quiraing, a remarkable rock formation at the north end of the Trotternish Ridge. In addition, we visited the Museum of Island Life, a group of thatched cottages furnished and decorated as they would have appeared in the late nineteenth century, some of which also tell the story of the island's history.
Jack, Krzysztof, Jenna, Sarah, and Bryce at the Quiriang, Isle of Skye
The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye
Christopher at Lealt Gorge
Falls at the Kilt Rock, Isle of Skye
Krzysztof at Lealt Gorge