Grand Tour of Scotland: Day 11: 22 August 2019 ~Exploring Isle of Skye, Staffin #11


Staffin (Scottish Gaelic: Stafain) is a district with the Gaelic name An Taobh Sear, which translates as “the East Side,” on the northeast coast of the Trotternish peninsula of the island of Skye.

It is located on the A855 road about 17 miles (27 kilometers) north of Portree and is overlooked by the Trotternish Ridge with the famous rock formations of The Storr and the Quiraing.

The district comprises 23 townships made up of, from south to north, Rigg, Tote, Lealt, Lonfearn, Grealin, Breackry, Cul-nan-cnoc, Bhaltos, Raiseburgh, Ellishadder, Garafad, Clachan, Garros, Marrishader, Maligar, Stenscholl, Brogaig, Sartle, Glasphein, Digg, Dunan, Flodigarry and Greap.

The Kilmartin River runs northwards through the village. From where it reaches the sea, a rocky shore leads east to a slipway at An Corran. Here a local resident found a slab bearing a dinosaur track, probably made by a small ornithopod. Experts subsequently found more dinosaur prints of up to 50 cm, the largest found in Scotland, made by a creature similar to Megalosaurus. At about 160 million years old, they are the youngest dinosaur remains to be found in Scotland. A Mesolithic hunter-gatherer site dating to the 7th millennium BC at An Corran is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Scotland. Its occupation is probably linked to that of the rock shelter at Sand, Applecross, on the coast of Wester Ross.

In the modern era, this part of Skye retains a strong Gaelic identity, with 61 percent of the local population recorded as speaking the language in 2001. In September 2010, Comunn na Gàidhlig named Staffin as their “Gaelic Community of the Year” in the first year this competition ran.

The Highland Council announced the launch of a consultation into a plan to convert the local primary into a Gaelic medium school. This would be the second such conversion in Scotland after Bun-sgoil Shlèite. Only 5 out of the school’s thirty pupils have English as their only language, with the remainder being bilingual English and Gaelic speakers.

In 2011 it was reported that Staffin Island may be the last in Scotland where the old tradition of having cattle swim between grazings is still carried out. Crofter Iain MacDonald, who used to swim with the animals, now uses a boat to encourage them to swim from Staffin Island to Skye in early spring and back again in October.

Staffin, Isle of Skye, The Inner Hebrides, Scotland, United Kingdom

Thank you for joining me on my travels through Scotland one Photo at a time. I hope you enjoyed it just as much as I did.

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PS. I am saving up for upcoming Landscape Photography Trips to Scotland and Namibia and a few road trips in the USA, including Route 66 and The historic Apache Trail. Also on my list are National Parks and Botanical gardens in South Africa, the UK, and the USA. 

The most important photography trip for me is to return to Scotland. I am honoring my promise to my Father to return and capture the beautiful landscapes and the elusive Puffins.  Your help to make these trips a reality would be much appreciated in today’s economy.

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