Seeing the Point


Or not seeing the point. Sitting on a rock near the top of Neist Point you got to see the way people visited the popular Skye location. Neist Point, it has to be said, is not for the timid. It has a very steep descent and climb, plus the walk to the lighthouse is not for everyone. Indeed many took a look from the top and promptly hopped back into the car.

After nearly snapping my ankles on the Quiraing the day before, i was reduced to a spectator on my visit to the point. As much as i wanted to walk down, i just physically couldn’t due to swollen, painful and badly bruised feet. It was immensely frustrating, but it did have a plus in that i ended up doing something i normally wouldn’t do – i stayed at the top and watched. Perched on my little rock I got to see the vast amount of ways people took in, or didn’t take in, embraced or rejected the location.

Many were enthusiastic, enjoying the view and then starting immediately for the lighthouse, whereas a surprising number had a far more restrained attitude.  A glance and off.  A bus arrived with a group of Japanese tourists who started to walk along the cliff top with the guide, however the two girls in the photo broke off and started taking photographs of each other, seemingly oblivious to the grandeur of their surroundings. The girls did start down the path only to be called back to the main group. I assumed that there wasn’t the time and that a view from the cliff was all they were going to get. Neist Point… done! Where next?

The Highlands has lots of coach trips speeding through it, but i just wonder whether people are able to take in the scenery, the culture and the sights. I seems to me that these trips get to see but don’t get to SEE the place they’re visiting.  I call them Highland dashes. The cameras snaps away acting as witness to the event, as though it would be required as evidence at a later date. Did we visit there? Oh yes, here is the photo! From various timings i made at different locations, the average time for a coach trip stop lasted just 15 minutes.

The lines of the great poem ‘Leisure’ by W.H Davies say it all really :-

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

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