Picture This: Wroth at Neist Point

by Keith Savage · 20 comments


Towering basalt cliffs, striated and turfed, punished by the wroth sea and roaring hysterics of the wind, stand in monolithic acceptance of the rain pounding from the anvil sky. Beneath the glacial waters of the Little Minch and through the Sea of the Hebrides, the causeway of the giants extends southwest to County Antrim. Birds have given up hopes of flight here at Neist Point, the Isle of Skye’s most westerly landfall. The air is a wall of banshees; each step toward the cliff’s edge a flailing advance. Wings of iron, salt, and dirt slam into my nostrils. Basalt golems trudge down the coast as far as eyes can see, the cloudy cyan sea frothing at their feet like rabid selkies.

The turf beneath my feet is spongy and riddled with rabbit warrens, could give itself to the starved sea at any moment. These basalt warriors will fall beneath the waves, in time. Not even they can withstand that encroaching iron-bar horizon. Time, erosion, the disappearance of things. If I could time-lapse this spot for centuries, the people here would be little more than a flicker, a question in the brow, a wonder. I’ve lost myself in a trance instigated by the deafening sea and sky. My red, burned cheeks run with windy tears. And there was some knowledge here.


SarahNo Gravatar July 17, 2013 at 1:10 PM

What a fantastic write-up! We were mesmerized when we went here. My only regret is the battery in my camera died before I was able to get many pictures. This was definitely one of favorite stops on our trip though!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar July 17, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Yes, well worth the drive. The wind alone was hard to fathom.

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Tuscany VillasNo Gravatar September 19, 2011 at 8:17 AM

The place seems to be too lovely! Superb photograph and loved the information shared.

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Thomas | JusGetawayNo Gravatar August 24, 2011 at 7:39 AM

Great photo Keith! This looks like one of those cliffs you would see in something like shutter island or some other horror/suspense thriller.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 24, 2011 at 9:19 AM

I can see the similarity. The experience was anything but horrifying, though. It was just another transcendent moment.

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ReneNo Gravatar August 22, 2011 at 2:52 AM

Personally, I like the colors and contrasts most. They add a nice sense nostalgia and romantics to the whole picture.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 24, 2011 at 9:08 AM

The green of Scotland is the greenest green I’ve ever seen.

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Brendan van SonNo Gravatar August 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Dude, as I saw the picture I went… wow. Then I read the words below… brilliant mate, just brilliant.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 21, 2011 at 3:24 PM

Cheers Brendan, many thanks!

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wandering educatorsNo Gravatar August 20, 2011 at 10:26 AM

amazing – the writing! oh yes, the photo, too! ๐Ÿ™‚ +1 for using banshees and golems…

made me wish i was there, for sure. we were right near skye and were so tired we didn’t head out there. UGH. next time!

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 20, 2011 at 11:31 AM

As above. If the weather is terrible all you can see is gray sky. Ironic, isn’t it?

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MikeachimNo Gravatar August 20, 2011 at 5:15 AM

+1 for using “selkies”.

Looks like that’s a similar vibe to Westray’s Noup Head, ie. ‘this is where the land ends, and in that direction there is nothing but fickle sea and sky and the worry that the weather will turn on a dime and a whim, plunging you into Hell’. I’ll admit, I found this feeling rather thrilling. As you say, humans are a fleeting afterthought in such landscapes. It’s important to experience existential irrelevance occasionally, I reckon – a good check for the ego…

Did you lay on your front and nervously crane your head over the edge?

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 20, 2011 at 11:34 AM

I would have, but my more nervous half does her best to prevent me from moving within 10 yards of any cliff’s edge. While on my own in Shetland I remember bounding over the hillsides and staring over innumerable precipices. ๐Ÿ™‚

See also my comment to Ken above.

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JessicaNo Gravatar August 19, 2011 at 9:32 PM

What an intense and beautiful shot! I am so jealous, the Isle of Skye is one of my top places that I want to visit next.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 20, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Be forewarned, the weather is VERY fickle there, and that’s saying something for Scotland.

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KenNo Gravatar August 19, 2011 at 2:02 PM

Powerful! The image gives me butterflies in my stomach, as if I were there seeing, feeling, hearing. We who live in cities need this sort of experience. It reconnects us to what is real and enduring.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 20, 2011 at 11:29 AM

This reminds me of a quote I just read in a history of Door County: “There is a sixth sense, dormant in many people, which is beatific. This is the appreciation of beauty.”

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Lori - The Unframed WorldNo Gravatar August 19, 2011 at 12:16 PM

I like how you framed your shot. The lighting pulls you in too.

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Keith SavageNo Gravatar August 20, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Thanks Lori!

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pamNo Gravatar August 19, 2011 at 11:42 AM

holy wow, keith. that’s all. just wow.

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