The single-track road was narrow and every few miles we would have to pull over into a passing space to let another vehicle through. And that was as busy as it got. To the left was the coast, with endless views of the sea and the blue smudge of distant islands. To our right, Skye revealed its constantly changing landscape as we drove through empty countryside dotted with the occasional house. We were pulled up short by a stone standing beside the road… though whether it was an erratic, an old gate post or something more interesting was impossible to say. Nowhere seems to mention the thing, in spite of its size, so we assume it is not an ancient artefact. Except that stone, by its very nature, is ancient and perhaps it still had something to say.
It had stopped us by the Museum of Island Life. The car park was busy and as we were not in tourist mode, we did not go inside. It was, however, good to see the old Black Houses, even from the road. Hunkered low against the gales and with their thatch weighted down by stones, these are a survival from earlier times, built with whatever materials were to hand and free locally… including, on an island with few trees, the timbers from wrecked shipping that washed up on the shore.
We had still not found a place to stay for the night, nor had we any better luck finding food. Although the A855 is undoubtedly a tourist route around the island, part of its beauty is that neither the road nor the settlements along it are particularly forthcoming with amenities. Rain poured down in torrents making driving tiring and we really did need to find coffee and somewhere to replenish our supplies.
We passed the sign for Kilt Rock, where the Mealt waterfall plummets into the sea down the basalt cliffs. And then, the rain stopped and the sun came out. A busy layby was marked ‘viewpoint’ and I pulled the car over so we could stretch our legs… and in the unstated hope of a tea-van.
Neither tea nor coffee were to be had, but refreshment of another nature was plentiful. Beneath us, Lealt Falls roared, pouring whisky coloured water into the gorge that leads to the sea.
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