The Cuillin

(Cuillin Hills, The Cuillins)

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Cuchullins or Coolins, a group of savagely picturesque mountains in Bracadale and Strath parishes, Isle of Skye, Inverness-shire. Rising from the sea-shore to the E of Loch Brittle and N of Loch Scavaig, and extending north-eastward to Glen Sligachan, eastward to the valley of Strath, they occupy an area of about 35 square miles, and are a confused assemblage of barren heights, from 2000 to 3000 feet high, distinguishable, by striking differences in outline, feature, and colouring, into two great sections. The southern and larger of these consists of smooth, conoidal masses, that rise from a labyrinth of low ground - each separate from its fellow, nearly all streaked from summit to base with broad reddish sheets of debris, and many of them abrupt, acclivitous, and rounded like vast bare cones. The northern section, on the other hand, consists of singularly rugged and serrated ranges and masses of mountains, intersected by wild ravines, and shooting up in sharp and jagged peaks. It is mainly formed of hypersthene, whose dark metallic aspect is relieved by scarce one blade of vegetation ; and, strongly attracting rain-clouds from the ocean, it often is lashed with storms. Always, even amid the blaze of summer sunshine, a region of desolation, without any play of colours, it looks under a wreathing of clouds to be little else than an assemblage of deep and horrible abysses, which the eye vainly endeavours to penetrate ; dark Loch Coruisk lies in its very core. The loftiest peak is Scuir-na-Gillean (3183 feet), 4½ miles S of Sligachan inn ; and six other summits are estimated to exceed 3000 feet above sea-level. See chaps. v. and vi. of Alexander Smith's Summer in Skye (1865).

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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