Skip to main content

The Northern Peninsulas of Skye

Day 2 of my summer break to the Scottish Highlands.

Experience has taught me that just because you are sitting having your breakfast at the hotel with the sunlight shining through the window, does not necessarily mean the weather will be the same 5 miles down the road 30mins later! Today was to be one of those days.
Having travelled only about half a dozen miles from the hotel, which I had left in sunshine, I arrived at the Sligachan Bridge and the rain was belting down.

No chance of any photos this morning so a re-think of my plans was in order. Instead of having a wasted journey down to Elgol, I plumped for heading North for Neist Point and the Waternish Peninsula. It's amazing how the weather lifts as soon as you head away from the Cuillin Hills. Looking for photo opportunities, I took an exploratory drive down a small side road to the coast and arrived at a crofting village called Ullinish. The rain had eased off which allowed me to get out of the car for a wander. The conditions for photography weren't very good but I should imagine you would get a fabulous sunset from here. I shall return.

Then it was on to Waternish and a lunchtime pint in the Stein Inn. Built in 1790, it is the oldest Inn on Skye and usually has a good selection of beers. It has become a ritual of mine to call in and have a pint and sit in the beer garden overlooking the Loch. Nothing really took my fancy though so I settled for a nice cool pint of cider and just sat by the side of the loch in the sunshine. If there is a nicer beer garden, I have yet to come across it.

Then it was on to the ancient church at Trumpan at the far end of the peninsula with its torrid history (see below).

"In the 1500s, the MacDonalds and MacLeods were engaged in fierce clan rivalry. This came to a head in 1577 when a raiding party of MacLeods of Skye landed on the island of Eigg. The resident MacDonalds took refuge in a cave on the south side of the island. The raiding party lit a fire in the entrance to the cave in an attempt to force those hiding inside to come out. The result was the suffocation of 395 MacDonalds, the entire population of the island. The cave, now known as Massacre Cave, can still be visited on Eigg.
Revenge was not long in coming. On the first Sunday in May 1578, eight birlinns or war galleys of the Clan MacDonald of Uist landed in Ardmore Bay, immediately to the west of Trumpan. The resident MacLeods were gathered for Sunday worship in the church when the raiding party blocked the door and set fire to the thatched roof. The only MacLeod to escape alive was a young girl who managed to squeeze through a window. She raised the alarm, by some accounts after running to Dunvegan, ten miles away, and MacLeods from the wider area swiftly gathered. By now the MacDonald's had returned to their ships in Ardmore Bay, only to find them left high and dry by a retreating tide. The MacLeods are said to have unfurled their famed Fairy Flag, and in the battle that followed the entire MacDonald raiding party was killed.
The bodies of the dead MacDonalds were lined up beside a dry stone wall or dyke, and were buried by the simple expedient of having the dyke pushed over on top of them. The battle has since been remembered as "The Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke"."

Trumpan is another wild place and is surrounded on two sides by step cliffs dropping down to the sea. Skye seems to be full of them! 

Then it was on to my last port of call, Neist Point and Moonan Bay on the Waterstein Peninsula. Small backroads with passing places took me through the delightful crofting area of Geldale, then to the small harbour of Millovaig on the shore of Loch Pooltiel. More photos here and then to Neist Point and it's lighthouse. What a stunning area this is, the cliffs drop straight down to the sea and the lighthouse is perfectly situated on a large outcrop of rock. A walk along the clifftop accompanied by the usual gale force wind took me to a perfect point for photographs. A very steady hand and steady legs are needed I should hasten to add as the gales are a common occurrence! There was a bit of brightness but the conditions weren't ideal for taking photos. Moonan Bay is also a grand area for spotting seals, minke whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks.

On my way back to the hotel I manage to stop at Sligachan. The rain had passed and I was fortunate enough to get a bit of late evening sun. The downside was that I was bitten to hell by the midges! It's the price us walkers and photographers have to pay I'm afraid. A long day but well worth it.

Breakfast view

Silver light on Portree Harbour

Setting sail


Millovaig and Loch Pooltiel

Neist Point Lighthouse

Stein, Waternish


Refreshments at the Stein Hotel

Stein, Waternish

St Conan's Church, Trumpan, Waternish

St Conan's Church, Trumpan, Waternish

Marsco from Loch nan Eilean

River Sligachan and Sgurr nan Gillean

Popular posts from this blog


These are just a selection of photos I took a few weeks ago. The first bunch are of Linton Bridge and the River Wharfe just outside Grassington. The concrete retaining walls of Linton Mill by the side of the bridge now support a housing development called ‘Linton Falls’. A corn mill has probably stood on this site from Medieval times. In 1788, Robert Hargreaves & Co of Addingham built a worsted-spinning mill there. Soon after a new tenant, Samuel Gill, and until 1804, his partner James Parker, turned the mill over to spinning cotton. By 1830 it had returned to worsted spinning under the ownership of J & W Birkbeck. Birkbecks then built a five-storey cotton mill on the site in the mid-19th century. This mill burnt down in 1912 and was replaced by a smaller structure. This went out of business during the 1950s. It was demolished in 1983 apart from the houses facing onto the footpath that crosses the river. Prior to demolition, the mill’s rare uniflow steam engine was rescued an…

The Old Brown Horse :

On the minor road to Scarness Bay in Cumbria, there has been a small stable where 2 two horses have lived for years. On passing it the other week with Dave and Chris, we noticed an R.I.P sign and only one horse. He or she looked so sad and forlorn.

As shown in it's eyes, it was obviously missing it's old mate. Thanks to Sal for the verse which it is rather apt.

The Old Brown Horse :

The old brown horse looks over the fence
In a weary sort of way.
He seems to be saying to all who pass:
“Well, folks, I've had my day-
I'm simply watching the world go by,
And nobody seems to mind,
As they're dashing past in their motor-cars,
A horse who is lame and half-blind.”

The old brown horse has a shaggycoat,
But once he was young and trim,
And he used to trot through the woods and lanes
With the man who was fond of him.
But his master rides in a motor-car,
And it makes him feel quite sad
When he thinks of the days that used to be, and of al…

Derwent Valley, Castleton and The Devil's Arse!

I had this day out and took these shot's at the beginning of June when all the rape was in bloom in the fields above High Bradfield. The cloud cover was kind to me as well, letting the sun burst through intermittently,  lighting up the yellow fields beautifully.

I love this area which is on the edge of The Peak District and can't thank Sal enough for introducing me to it. The view over Bradfield Dale to the distant Derwent Edge is one of our favourites and has to be one of the loveliest in the area. Coupled with this are a pair of nice pubs, a beautiful Church and a brewery which makes Bradfield an ideal stopping off point. No pubs for me today though.

Sal had often mentioned The Derwent Valley so I thought I'd go and have a bit of an explore and then drive on to Castleton. The moor road over to the main A57 passing Strines resounded with the call of the Curlews so I presumed it was their mating season. I love their call, it is an unmistakable, plaintive, and lonely …

Swinsty Reservoir

With the Lakes and Yorkshire Dales becoming increasingly more popular, its good to know that you have quieter places on your doorstep where you can escape for a few hours. Swinsty Reservoir and Fewston Reservoir in the Washburn Valley are such places. Obviously they get busier at weekends but midweek they can be havens of tranquility with robins, blackbirds and bluetits never far away and always singing their happy tunes. Mind you at Swinsty,  the geese and ducks which congregate by the picnic area can make a right racket but these can soon be left behind.

Sal came with me today and it was the first time she had been in the area. Give her a camera, a bit of nature and she will disappear in to her own little world. Come to think of it, that's exactly what I tend to do as well. I think we compliment each other, I usually see the landscape opportunities whilst she see the more creative and quirky things which I tend to miss. I am told that I'm getting better at spotting them these…

The Old Coal Road.

The Old Coal Road runs between Cowgill in Dentdale and Garsdale high up in the Yorkshire Dales.

There were twenty-five coal pits which formed part of the extensive coal workings and lay on the moorland either side of it. These coal pits were worked by local people, initially to produce domestic fuel, but by the 18th century, the poor quality coal was also being used in lime kilns. Commercial coal mining went on in Garsdale until the 1870s when the Settle-Carlisle railway started bringing in cheaper, higher quality coal from the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields.

If you aren't adversed to a bit of  road walking then I should imaging a trip up on the Settle-Carlisle train, getting off at Dent Station and then walking up to Garsdale Head (or Hawess Junction as it was once known), would be a grand day out. For good measure it should include a couple of pints in The Moorcock Inn before getting the train back down.

On Garsdale station stands a statue of Ruswarp, a collie. Ruswarp…

Icy Morning on Coppice Pond

After a few days of gloomy weather, it was nice to see the sun in the sky again and, as usual for this time of year, a clear day means a frosty day. I was on my way to do some shopping so just popped in to St Ives to stretch my legs and give the camera an airing.  There was plenty of wildlife about: squirrels, robins, jays, ducks, geese and swans but not the elusive heron. I haven't seen it up there for months, you can usually spot in on the island hunting for its food. Maybe it has found easier pickings elsewhere.

All the autumn colours have just about disappeared now but I did find an oak tree which had the full range of colours on its leaves. I think I managed to capture a few nice shots with some being a bit different from the norm so the visit was worthwhile.

Snow in Ribblesdale

Yet another one of those days when I leave Bradford in sunshine and, by the time I do the twenty odd miles up to the Dales, the blue skies have disappeared and the cloud has moved in. This has happened to me every time bar one this year. I did manage to see a few glimpses of the sun just outside Horton in Ribblesdale and then just for a fleeting moment at Ribblehead but apart from that it was pretty gloomy. I was very fortunate at Ribblehead as the sun lit up Whernside beautifully.

I parked the car on the edge of Horton and had a walk around the network of country lanes in the vicinity. All lead up to Brackenbottom Farm which is the usual start for walking up Pen y Ghent. There weren't many takers which I thought was a bit strange as the weather would have been ideal. Mind you, it was midweek so I suppose most people will have been working. It was pretty damned cold though and I was glad to get back to the car and head for Ribblehead.

I had thought of going all the way up to Hawe…