Monthly Archives: July 2019

Dreaming Stones: Give us a break…

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

The single-track road was narrow and every few miles we would have to pull over into a passing space to let another vehicle through. And that was as busy as it got. To the left was the coast, with constant views of the sea and the blue smudge of distant islands. To our right, Skye revealed its constantly changing landscape as we drove through empty countryside dotted with the occasional house. We were pulled up short by a stone standing beside the road… though whether it was an erratic, an old gate post or something more interesting was impossible to say. Nowhere seems to mention the thing, in spite of its size, so we assume it is not an ancient artefact. Except that stone, by its very nature, is ancient and perhaps it still had something to say.

It had stopped us by the Museum of Island Life. The…

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Callanish Calling: Way-Stone…

France & Vincent

*

Given that, by all accounts, the Way-Stone

was capable of getting us to the morn,

we wasted no time in putting the question…

*

And were met with a road length peal of laughter,

quite light and silvery it was considering it had come from a stone.

*

“You didn’t really think it would be that easy did you?” she laughed.

“It was worth a try,” said Wen.

“This is the Isle of Skye,” continued the Way-Stone, “Albion’s noblest warriors

were once trained here.”

“Oh!” said Wen.

“Nothing is given on Skye without a fight!”

“Ah!” said Wen, “Does that include your information for us?”

“A battle of wits,” said the Way-Stone.

“A riddle!”

“Un-riddle me this,” she said, “turn the road-side broad side to pitch-your-ride.”

Then she fell silent and would not say another word.

*

“I want to go home.”

“I want to get to Callanish,” said…

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Callanish Calling: Gnomes…

France & Vincent

*

…And he is not just horrible to us,

even the gnomes, that used to inhabit the Heart of the Isle,

fled to the coast to hurl themselves into the sea.

*

Some of the gnomes though thought better of it,

which was just as well really,

because through one of the holes in the sky,

when the sun peeked out,

we too made it to the coast…

*

There to be accosted

by one of the wisest of their number…

*

“You’ll never make it to the morn,” he said

somewhat dramatically, “unless you find

the way-stone.”

*

“And the way-stone is where?”

*

“The way-stone stands by the way

not in the way like the Old Man…”

*

“Well, that’s a lot clearer then.

At least we were right about the Old Man…”

*

“We’ve already passed the way-stone” said Wen,

“We’ll have to go back and…

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Callanish Calling: Fingers of Stone…

France & Vincent

*

Not only is the Old Man of Storr

hurling more water at us than we can shake a weather-vane at…

*

He is also depriving us of food, and drink, and shelter.

*

Not one of the food waggons we have eyed

with ever increasing desperation has been open.

*

In our last lay-by

by the ‘lake’,

after we had sort of slept,

as the rain fell,

the food-waggon which had been there

had disappeared when we sort of awoke…

*

Oh, and rest.

We are both now decidely sleep deprived.

*

A good job then that our ‘trusty new steed’ is so sturdy.

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The Ticket Inspector…

*

I am late.

I am expected in Leicester and now my only option is to catch the last train.

The last train to Leicester is a slow train and also appears to be experiencing difficulties.

Stopping where there are no stations.

That sort of thing.

It becomes clear that many of my fellow passengers are not going to get to their destinations and as the ticket inspector makes his round they discuss alternatives together.

As this is an unfamiliar route I assume that Leicester too is now out of the question.

A strange thing about the ticket inspector, although this is a new route and I have never met him before, he knows my name…

“Yes, Stu…”

…and uses its familiar form.

“You’ll be in Leicester in twenty minutes time.”

Not only does the ticket inspector know my name and use its familiar form, he is also incredibly accurate.

My alarm clock is due to go off in precisely twenty minutes time.

*

*

Callanish Calling: Threshold…

France & Vincent

*

Anyway, Wen was wrong…

It’s not a ‘reckie’ we’re on, it’s a raid!

*

But before we can ‘plunder’ Lewis

of her treasury of stone,

we have to get past the Dweller…

*

There is some debate over what the name actually represents

but there is no doubt about the name.

*

The Old Man of Storr…

*

Some say it refers to the outline of the rock face,

others that it is the pinnacle itself,

which from one angle also possesses face-like features.

*

Still others claim the pinnacle is a giant’s thumb,

and that when the land mass slid…

it buried the giant beneath an ancient rock fall.

*

Whatever it is we know what it does;

it sucks clouds from the sky

and pours them down on the Isle as rain.

*

It seems to be doing this with extreme prejudice

just about now

which makes…

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Dreaming Stones: Going underground

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

The roads on the Isle of Skye are my kind of road…narrow, winding and green. I was loving driving around the island, but when presented with an even narrower road that climbs a steep hill and throws in a hairpin bend or two, the only thing to do is to take it.

The road led us up the headland above Uig, and we were already eyeing up possible parking spots. Any accommodation we had found for the night online was exorbitantly expensive… there was no way we would pay over a week’s wages for a night’s lodging, even if we could… and so far, we had seen no ‘vacancy’ signs either. Skye seemed to be closed on Mondays; for a holiday destination, this did seem rather odd.

Following the headland, we had magnificent views to the neighbouring isles whenever there was a break in the mist. We had not gone…

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Dreaming Stones: Full spectrum

Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

sunny view of the isle of skye

We had a day to play on the Isle of Skye… there are undoubtedly many worse things to do with a Monday morning. Crossing the Skye Bridge in brilliant sunshine, we were certain of a lovely day’s exploration. Across the water, tantalising islands rose from the mist. Blue peaks gave us shy glimpses and there may have been squeaking from the driver’s seat.

clouds over islands

Ten minutes later, as we pumped up the ever-deflating tyre yet again, the heavens opened. Serious clouds, heavy with rain, emptied themselves upon the landscape, filling countless streams to overflowing, nourishing the waterfalls and silvering the morning.

misty morning road

It didn’t matter… we had decided to drive first to the little ferry port of Uig so we could see how long it would take and know the way for our early start the next day. Meanwhile, we were keeping our eyes open for a bed and breakfast with  a…

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Callanish Calling: Isle of Skye…

France & Vincent

*

Somewhat fortuitously we got the last room

in practically the last B&B on the mainland.

*

Pictish art, courtesy of our landlady, Christine,

greeted us in the porch.

*

We had proper coffee in the bedroom, a great view,

and a comfortable bed.

*

Then we tried to book a ferry but couldn’t,

at least, not for the next day…

*

Which meant we would have a whole day

and the night ‘to kill’ on Skye.

*

“We’ve definitely been called,” said Wen,

“We’re just going to have to work for it, that’s all!”

*

And work for it we certainly did…

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