Quiraing, Isle of Skye
The Quiraing is a series of dramatic linear peaks and valleys along the eastern escarpment of the Trotternish peninsula on the Isle of Skye and is often described as the most beautiful landslide in the world. It can be located on the eastern face of Meall na Suiramach, the northernmost summit of the Trotternish ridge. The Trotternish Ridge escarpment was formed when a stretch of cliffs and hills broke apart and slid towards the east coast. Although most of the land is now stable, the section known as The Quiraing is still moving and the road at its base, near Flodigarry, requires repairs each year.
Parts of the distinctive landscape have earned particular names. The Needle is a jagged 120-foot high landmark pinnacle, a remnant of the land slipping. Northwest of it is The Table, a flat grassy area slipped down from the summit plateau, with vistas of the Torridon Hills and the mountains of Wester Ross. Southwest is the Prison, a pyramidal rocky peak which can look like a medieval keep when viewed from the right angle. The Quiraing is popular with hill walkers and has numerous trails leading through its many hidden valleys. The views, from almost any angle are both magnificent and menacing.
The region is extremely ancient and fossils are relatively common as are footprints of Hadrosaur dinosaurs which lived around 170 million year years ago. It has often been described as an area of supernatural beauty and, not surprisingly, is rich in legends. The name derives from the Old Norse and means round fold (hidden valleys) and it was here that the local people would hide their cattle as a precaution against Viking raids. Local legends claim that some of the rock formations were once real people, turned to stone through magic. These include the Prince Storr and the Princess Catriona. Other stories tell of the Lord Quiraing and the lost pot of gold hidden in the valley of echoes. Tales also tell how the area used to be the home of dragons that guarded the island from invaders. The Table plateau is said to be the meeting place of fairy folk and woe betide any traveller who disturbs them when the summer moon is full.