Thursday, December 08, 2016

Kayaks, kale, beans 'n rocks, and castle ruins...

Launching our sea kayaks from Ord, on the west coast of Skye's Sleat Peninsula,  the sea was as calm as it could possibly be. The mountains, the boats, and Joan's red Kokatat drysuit reflected on the water, and on the fine-grained sand left shiny by an ebbing tide. 

There's a remarkable "vastness" here...and it's an island off the west coast of Scotland. The vista reminded us of our place in the universe. Know what? Those who govern, our leaders, need some serious time outdoors. Perhaps up and coming Presidents and Prime Ministers should have, mandated, a form of "basic training". They would learn the humility necessary for true leadership. They would go from that exercise determined to build "bridges"...not, well, you know. They would develop a relationship with the natural environment, and come to love it enough to fight to protect it. They would understand and speak courageously about the interdependence of all life on this planet...and not simply natter on about their multifaceted fears, "intoxicated by the exuberance of their own verbosity". (One of my father's expressions.) Enough said... ;)

On this day, we had decided to go "out" for other agenda. And it would be an unhurried day.

The chosen venue was a tiny islet, Eilean Ruairidh. It's uninhabited...but that was not always the case. Perhaps during the Iron Age, there was a fort here. The ruins are still visible.

Lunch was simple, and nutritious - some (cold) beans, with a garnish of kale, spinach, and a piece of bread. It would suffice. 

Our imaginations pondered the lives of the early inhabitants.

The rock that makes up the island is magical, we have no idea what it is - even after searching through the classic "Geology of the Isle of Skye", by Bell and's a mystery to us.

Anyone have any ideas?

The crushed rock on the only little "beach" that provided accessibility to the islet was smooth, and "marble-ish".

After lunch, and a brief (and rather risky in paddling boots) exploration of the steep and slippery topography, we had a castle to return that had appeared through the fog several days earlier. 

We first glimpsed an "arch" through the fog. It appeared to have been created by the sea, atop a raised beach.

It was not a natural formation, however, it was an arch built of stone by the Clan MacDonald of Sleat.

Built in the 13th or 14th century, Dun Sgathaich Castle (or Dunscaith Castle) sat on this off-shore rock, about 40 feet above sea level. A walled bridge spanned the gap to the mainland. The arch is still intact.

A small portion of the five foot thick wall remains, but little else.

Three brief hours on the water, a magical tour through time...and a reminder of the fullness of time and the immensity of even the tiny parts of this complex planet. 

Kayaks, kale, beans 'n rocks, and castle ruins...definitely our idea of a good day out. :)


  1. Amazing pictures and interesting rocks. Not so sure about the lunch though. LoL Hopefully our leaders will wisen up before it's too late. We must have hope!

    1. You're right, Linda, we must have hope, and we always will. Thank you, and warm wishes to you.

  2. Great stuff Duncan! I've suggested an extension to your paddle in an email :o) The first rock type will be marble - there are areas of this rock on Sleat and a quarry at Torrin - it's this rock which helps to make Sleat so fertile compared with the rest of Skye. The second one; well I don't have my books with me but it may be "marble-like" rock type.

    Your lunch looks very healthy - must try that one!

    Warm wishes

    1. Thanks for that, Ian, great tips, all of them. The geology here is exhilarating! Will follow up. Warm wishes.

  3. Some great shots of the rugged Scottish island coastline. I thought you might have at least been more adventurist with the meal and added some of that lovely sea weed which was plentiful and all around (Yum Yum).
    The weather is still holding out for you on Skye.

    1. Ah Mike, you know my philosophy. When you've got a good recipe...stick with it! Yes, the weather has been amazing and we look forward to seeing you here. Great to hear from you and talk soon.