The Trotternish peninsula, famous for the tagline “Theatre of Geology” lies to the north of Portree.
As you travel north the Geology does indeed asserts itself in a landscape formed from landslides and erosion. The Old man of Storr dominates the skyline as he stands silhouetted before sloping buttresses of the Trotternish escarpment. During the Tertiary geological period, the continental crust began to rift and eventually the Atlantic Ocean opened up. Some of this early activity took place on Skye. Fissures spewed layers of lava, volcanic ash and debris on top of the soft sedimentary Jurassic rocks. The fossiliferous Jurassic layers collapsed under the weight, resulting in huge landslides and the dramatic cliffs we see today.
The traditional postcard views shift in scale and perspective as you travel along the road and visitors may be tempted to drive crane-necked in order to see it all. The road is single track in places and a better plan is to use the passing places provided. Those who climb out of their cars are rewarded with the most splendid views. The inadequate parking at the Old man of Storr and at the Quirang requires common sense to be applied for the sake of safety.
There is a good car park at the kilt rock where a clear day affords distant but impressive views of Torriden and Kintail on the mainland.
Staffin itself is a liberal sprinkling of white houses over the rich green fields of a successful and prolific township.
There is plenty of accommodation here for those wishing to stay beyond a daytrip and the village hall offers an amazingly comprehensive list of services. Under one expansive roof there is a café, laundrette and a licenced mini market that sells woolly hats, beach toys and frying pans along with all sorts of other household goods and groceries.
The friendly local staff, here and in the Columba 1400 centre, willingly give impromptu tourist information and advice to those who ask.
The Quirang is well signposted and worth every effort to visit. Once used to hide cattle from Viking raiders, this astonishing rock formation has more recently been the location of choice for numerous films; “Stardust”, “The land that time forgot” and “Highlander” among them. The Quirang is at once unforgettable and indescribable but it is not without dangers.