This painting is a spectacular example of Paton’s mature landscape work. It shows the Cuiraing (or Quiraing in modern usage), a remarkable landslip on the Trotternish peninsula of Skye. Paton had visited the area during a tour of Skye in 1866 and made a number of sketches and watercolours. Here, the jagged spike of the thirty-seven meter high pinnacle known as ‘The Needle’ dominates the middle of the composition. The kilted man scrambling up the stony hillside is incidental compared to the vast expanses of rock, water and cloud that surround him. Paton described the Quiraing as ‘an awful place’, despite the fact that it had become a top destination for artists and tourists alike. Paton exhibited this vast picture at the 1873 Royal Scottish Academy exhibition.