Pleats and Pillars (Pleatan agus Carraighean)

Kilt Rock on the Isle of Skye ... Really Beautiful Place, so worth the trip up there.  Can't wait to go again!!

Between 61 and 55 million years ago, massive volcanic activity (obair bholcanach) took place along the west coast of Scotland (Alba).  During this period, the Cuillin Mountains (beanntan a' Chuilthinn) were formed and the northern half of Skye (ceann a tuath An Eilein Sgitheanaich) was covered in a series of layers of molten rock (creag leaghte), over 1200m thick in total.

The pillars of rock (carraighean cloiche) which form the pleats of the Kilt Rock were formed at this time as molten rock forced its way between layers of Jurassic sandstone rocks (creagan de chloich-ghainmhche).  The molted rock cooled slowly and the striking columns (carraighean) formed as it shrank.

The name Stafainn comes from an Old Norse (Seann Lochlannais) word (Stafr) for pillars.  For sea-going people like the Scandinavians (na Lochlannaish), who settled here in the 10th century, the pillars of Kilt Rock would have been a memorable landmark feature (comharra-tire).

Formation of Kilt Rock

Around 160 million years ago, tiny fragments of rock, earth, animal remains and plants settled in layers on the sea bottom.  Pressure slowly turned them into sedimentary rock (Valtos sandstone).  The animal remains and plants became fossils.

Around 57 million years ago, this area was intensely volcanic, just like Iceland is today.  Molten rock forced its way upwards then sideways through the sedimentary rock to form horizontal layers call "sills".

At Kilt Rock, most of the top layer of sandstone has been worn away but you can still see the volcanic sills with a layer of sedimentary sandstone between them.