Storr Quiraing Quiraing Staffin Coastline Loch

Trotternish is the most northerly of Skye's peninsulas, extending north from Portree to its eventual end at Rubha Hunish. It is one of the most spectacular landscapes in Britain. The great ridge which forms its backbone is the longest on Skye, and its unique eastern escarpment has been broken by Europe's largest landslides into a remarkable landscape.

The Staffin area is one of spectacular coastal cliffs, grassy platforms and lochans with The Trotternish Ridge to the west. The geology, one of the key features of the area, mainly consists of basalt flows over sandstones and shales, and the successive erosion of the underlying sedimentary rocks has produced rotational slippage features of European importance.

The coastline is equally spectacular, bristling with stacks, pinnacles and hidden features. The coastal rocks are predominantly Jurassic, with Tertiary exposures along the Ridge and supporting impressive populations of rare plants and birds.

The Storr and Quiraing are features on The Trotternish Ridge. The Ridge is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and the longest inland cliff in Britain. The Ridge is a natural boundary dividing An Taobh Sear - the east side - from the west of our peninsula. Staffin shares its name with the island of Staffa and Dun Staffanage, in Argyll. The name is from Old Norse, and relates to the appearance of the pillar-like basaltic columns distinctive of these locations.

The name Quiraing (our massive rock face) comes from the Norse kvi and rand and means the round fold - in Gaelic Cuith-raing. Within the fold is The Table, an elevated plateau hidden amongst the pillars. It’s said that the fold was used to conceal cattle from Viking raiders. Other landmarks to look out for are The Needle, The Prison and Cnoc a’ Mhèirlich, the Hill of the Robber. The Storr is the highest peak on The Trotternish Ridge, at 719 metres. Within its 300-metre girth, it holds fast a hard volcanic sandwich of some 24 layers of lava. The name Storr means ‘big’ in Norse.

This landscape is a blend of geological aeons, but the predominant rocks are Jurassic and Tertiary. Heavy layers of basaltic lava from the Tertiary period (55 million years ago) are constantly grinding down upon the earlier Jurassic outcrops of 175 million years ago. The resulting land slippage - of European importance - gives rise to the occasional surprise in Flodigarry! The last Ice Age not only compressed the Ridge, but gouged out features which can be seen to the present day – and the community’s lochs are an example of this.