The Itinerary

The Itinerary

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 15, Isle of Skye

Friday, May 15 - Day 101 - Isle of Skye

The sun shining in the window wakes Carolyn about 5:30AM, but she rolls over and goes back to sleep. By 8:40, when she wakes again, the sky is dark and looks like it will rain any minute. Dick is up and on his computer; a business issue.

We have no plans for today as it is suppose to rain all day. There are some things, like the laundry and packing, that we need to do for the travel day tomorrow down to Fort William. So after breakfast Carolyn starts a load of wash and we both work on emails and getting pictures sorted and the blog for the last two days posted. Carolyn makes some tuna salad for lunch later.

At 11AM, it still hasn’t started raining so we decide to head into Portree to look at some of the shops offering things made here on the Island. The weather station is saying the rain will start around 2PM. We will also try to find the Pictish Stone that is just west of Portree. We tried to find it the other day but missed the turn.

Driving to town the light is really something else and we stop several times for pictures. We luck out with a parking spot right by the shops so we do the shopping stop first. The shops mostly have woolens, but Carolyn does find a few little gift items while Dick takes a few more pictures of the old buildings around the harbor. There is also a small cruise ship in town today.

It starts to mist just as we get back to the car. Oh well, we will go look for the stone anyway. It is only a few miles west of town off B8036 near the village of Tote. The description implies that it is right on the road. We think we follow the directions and do find a sign for a turn for the Clach Ard or carved stone, a Pictish Stone, onto a narrow one track lane. We wander down the lane taking first one arm of a "y" intersection that dead ends into a home. We back up and then turn on the other arm that also dead ends into a home.
OK, now as we head back out the lane to the road, we see a little sign by a gravel path leading up a hill toward a farm house! By this point Carolyn is determined to see this stone, carved with ancient symbols, even in the rain. She bundles up in her fleece vest, waterproof coat and wooly scarf and heads out and up in the rain. Dick waits in the car since we have the one-lane road blocked! About a third of the way up the hill the gravel disappears and the path becomes a boggy mud hole. It is still a long way up to the top with no evidence of the stone in sight.  Walking sticks sinking iin the muck, she gives up and heads back to the car.

We head back to the main road while looking up the hill. As we turn we can see the stone clearly in its fenced in plot.
The main road climbs over the little hill and the stone disappears behind a farm house. As we turn back on B8036 we can still see the farm house so we follow the road up hill andfind another lane going right up to the stone with the stone on one side and the farm house on the other!

 We drive up to the Stone and since it has now stopped raining Dick gets out too! Carolyn gets her picture! Actually it is interesting with the carved symbols of a double disk and a Z rod across the middle of the rock and a crescent and V rod above it. The meaning of the symbols and the purpose of the stones are lost to time now as the rocks were carved by the Picts, a group of tribes that came together to oppose the Romans.  This group occupied parts of eastern Scotland north of the Forth-Clyde line for several hundred years after the Roman Empire's collapse in the third century AD until they became part of the Kingdom of Scotland in mid 800AD. The rock was found in 1880 in an old house being torn down. It was being used as a door jam! There are 242 known stones and all but 6 are found in north eastern Scotland. They have found three on Skye. Glad we got to see it.
Mission accomplished we head back to the cottage and have lunch. It is really cold, windy and damp feeling though it is in the low 50's. We spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, playing on the computer and watching it rain.

About 4PM Carolyn notices a beautiful, full rainbow in a very dark cloud. Trying to take a picture she sees that there is a very faint second rainbow, how nice! Later, as we are getting dinner, a pizza, ready, it begins to clear in the west. The setting sun gives us a beautiful color display on the water and clouds to the east. The light has really been interesting and different today!


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