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During 1844 Hugh Miller was on his way home after a holiday in the Hebrides with an old friend, the Rev. Mr. Swanson, Minister of the Small Isles. Mr. Swanson had left the church and had taken up floating quarters on the small yacht Betsey, "beyond the reach of man's intolerance." Miller writes at length of the geological formations of Skye and in this extract we find him in Broadford Bay.

"Friday made amends for the rains and fogs of its disagreeable predecessor: the morning rose bright and beautiful, with thus wind enough to fill, and barely fill, the sail, hoisted high, with miser economy, that not a breath might be lost; and, weighing anchor, and shaking out all out canvass, we bore down on Pabba (Pabay) to explore. This island, so soft in outline and colour, is formidably fenced around by dangerous reefs; and, leaving the Betsey in charge of John Stewart and his companion, to dodge on in the offing, I set out with the minister in our little boat, and landed on the north-eastern shore of the island, beside a trap-dyke that served us as a pier. He would be a happy geologist who, with a few thousands to spare, could call Pabba his own. It contains less than a square mile of surface; and a walk of little more than three miles and a half among the line where the waves break at high water brings the traveller back to his starting point; and yet, though thus limited in area, the petrication's of its shores might themselves fill a museum. They rise by thousands and tens of thousands on the exposed planes of its sea-washed strata, standing out in bold relief, like sculpturing on ancient tombstones, at once mummies and monuments, --the sea, and the carved memorials of the dead. Every rock is a tablet of hieroglyphics, with an ascertained alphabet; every rolled pebble a casket, with old pictorial records locked up within. Trap-dykes, beyond comparison finer than those of the Water of Leigh, which first suggested to Hutton his theory, stand up like fences over the sedimentary strata, or run out like moles far into the sea. The entire island, too, so green, rich, and level, is itself a specimen illustrative of the effect of geologic formation on scenery."

Miller then goes on to examine the seashore at Kyle Akin. He ends the passage with another fine piece of Victorian prose.

"There was now the low rush of tides all around, and the distant voices from the shore, but no other sounds; and, dim in the moonshine, we could see behind us several spectral-looking sails threading their silent way through the narrows, like twilight ghosts traversing some haunted corridor."

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