Skye’s windswept Quiraing sits on the Trotternish Ridge and is fabled to be the UK’s most beautiful and mysterious Jurassic landslide, extending almost 2 km to the north east of the island. It is a meeting place for fairies as well as being home to the dragons who protected the island from invaders. Its name derives from an Old Norse word meaning “round fold” and has three key features: The Needle, a jagged 37m high pinnacle; The Table, a grassy flat area that has slipped down from the plateau on the northwest, and on the southwest The Prison.
This superb little myth about the Quiraing was written by 3 local Skye primary schools in 2005.
Many years ago lived a beautiful queen called Catriona, who ruled the Isle of Skye. She was in love with a kind, handsome prince called Storr, who owned half the Trotternish Ridge. Everybody liked Storr, who asked Catriona to marry him.
On the other side of the ridge lived a horrible, greedy prince called Quiraing. He owned the other half of the Trotternish Ridge but wanted to own the whole of Skye. He had asked Catriona to marry him many times, not for love but so that he could be king, but she had seen through him. When Quiraing heard that Catriona was going to marry his rival, he screamed with anger.
On the day of the wedding, Quiraing and his men ambushed Storr and his wedding party on the path. Quiraing captured Catriona and took her back to his castle, where his dangerous dragons guarded her.
Storr sent a party of his men to rescue Queen Catriona, unaware that Quiraing had stolen Catriona’s magic stone and used it to put a curse on the forest. Anyone who entered the woods would never be able to find a way out and would die.
After losing three bands of men in the forest, Storr decided the only way to get Catriona back was to walk through the Valley of Echoes. If you made a sound and Quiraing’s dragons heard an echo, they would swoop down and turn you into stone.
Three soldiers accompanied their prince through the treacherous valley, where an icy cold wind blew. Tired, they leaned against an old rotting bridge, which collapsed, starting a rock fall.
The dragons heard the echo and turned all four men into stone with their fiery breath.
When he heard of Storr’s demise, Quiraing was ecstatic that he could now marry Catriona and become King of Skye.
Catriona was heartbroken about Storr being turned into stone but pretended she was happy to marry Quiraing. She told him that she wanted to give him a wedding present, a huge pot of gold hidden in the Valley of Echoes.
Quiraing was driven by his greed to go and search for the pot of gold so he would become the richest man in the world. Catriona secretly followed him and appeared above him on the cliff. She threw a stone into the valley, starting an avalanche which echoed around the valley, and so Quiraing was turned to a menacing stone structure.
Catriona was so heartbroken and missed Storr so much that she went down into the Valley of Echoes one day and sang a haunting Gaelic song, so that she could be with her lover forever.
She smiled when she saw the dragons and was herself turned into rock, standing behind Storr and his three brave soldiers, with Quiraing all alone at the other end of the ridge, in the mist.