Whilst in a bookshop in Portree I bought a copy of Wilfrid F. Simms' book Railways Of Skye & Rassay. Now I know that Skye is, as islands go, quite large but I didn't know that it contained enough railways to merit such a book. A quick glance, however, shows that some of these 'railways' range from just a few yards to a few miles and almost all of them are now no longer in use. While our friends now know a lot about Skye there were a few of the railways that they knew nothing about. Hunting for old railways seemed a good way of them seeing something new at the same time as us seeing more of Skye. We had already planned to spend a day exploring Sleat at the south end of the island so we decided to hunt down the Ord Quartzite Quarry railway.
According to the book the Ord quartzite quarry is situated just under one kilometre east of Ord on the north side of the direct road linking Ord village with the present-day A851. So as we got closer and closer to Ord we slowed down until eventually we spotted what looked suspiciously like a quarry and that roughly matched the map in the book.
The quarry was only active for fifteen years from 1945 to 1960 at a time when locally mined quartzite was in high demand. It closed down when it became more economical to use imported quartzite from Africa. The book suggested that not only was there no remaining signs of the railway but that the quarry was fenced off and no longer accessible.
Well the fence had gone, although the boggy ground made accessing much of the quarry area difficult. In among the grass and bog I did, however, find a rusty bit of metal which could quite easily have been track from a narrow gauge railway which you can see in this weeks photo. This piece of track was just laying randomly on the surface and there didn't seem to be any obvious sign of where the railway had originally run along the edge of the quarry.
Looking back at the photos I noticed that in fact the track bed is quite obvious in this wider shot of the quarry. On the right of the photo there are two parallel lines which run along between the quarry wall and the blacker boggier area of the floor. Given the map of the railway I'd bet that they are the edge of the original track bed.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that this is post number 32 and yet I'm into the second year of this blog. In other words, I failed miserably to post one new photo each week of the year. I'm still aiming for one new photo each week but I won't be beating myself up if I don't manage to stick to that. It turns out that while I take a lot of photos, only a few of them are interesting enough to warrant a whole post of their own.