After yesterday’s day-long tour of Skye, I was quite content to take a more local approach today. In planning my stay on the island, I had discussed local walks and sights with Frances, my hostess, and she offered to take one local walk with me if I didn’t mind her bringing her puppy along.
With more glorious weather in today’s forecast, we left the guest house and headed to Broadford, then off a side road where Frances pulled into a small car park. On our side of the road rose the Red Cuillins, a dramatic mountain range, and on the other side lay a wee climb to the Marble Line.
A couple of centuries ago, marble was mined along this ridge leading to Kilchrist and Torrin, and by the end of the 19th century a small rail line was built to transport the marble that short distance down to Broadford. The path we took followed that old railway line, past hills and sheep meadows, to the remains of the old marble quarry.
Once on the trail, the hiking had slight ups and downs, but nothing too challenging until we reached the old quarry. Then the path climbed steadily, and I had to stop frequently to stretch out my calves and catch my breath.
With thankful heart I soon found that Frances had stopped, ready for a tea break. (She packs for a walk like I do!) We sat for a bit, enjoying the view of the mountains along with a wee cuppa, before heading back down the hill.
After passing the quarry again, we followed a side path down the hill and across the road to the ruins of Cill Chriosd (Kilchrist), an old stone chapel with graveyard surrounding it. This community had been home to members of the Mackinnon clan, which was well represented on the tombstones.
Having wandered a bit, we crossed the road again and headed back up to the Marble Line for the rest of our walk back. By the end of it, we had logged 5.5 miles — and my feet felt every inch of it! I was definitely ready for a lazy afternoon back at the guest house afterward.
Certainly this was a less well-known hike, compared to the others I planned to tackle on this trip, but it’s another hiking goal achieved anyway.