October 16, 2010

0 Scotland Trip; West Coast, Isle of Skye, October 16

Our holiday cottage rental ended on the 16th, so we headed West to see more of that land and go to the Isle of Skye.

Hills in the West Highlands.  It was a beautiful day, and the sun was so low and bright it made taking pictures difficult!

On the way to Skye we stopped at Eilean Donan Castle.   Reportedly the most beautiful castle in Scotland, but Paul and I were unimpressed. 

Entrance to the castle.  First built in the 13th century, the current construction is mostly owed to a rebuild that took place in the early 20th century.

Loch Duich, from the castle.
We then headed over the bridge to the Isle of Skye.  Skye for the most part looks like the mainland West.  This is looking out over the water (I'm not sure which direction, though, so also not sure which water- sorry!)

At the tip of  the Waternish peninsula on Skye there is the ruin of a small church with a terrible history.  The MacLeods and MacDonalds of Uist had a sordid history, with feuds lasting generations.  In 1577 the MacLeods suffocated a large group of MacDonalds in the Massacre of Eigg by starting a thick fire at the entrance to the cave where the clan was hiding.    In 1578, the MacDonalds found retribution.  As the MacLeod population of the village of Trumpan was worshiping on the first Sunday of May, MacDonalds sneaked onto the island, and under the cover of fog, barred the door and set fire to the thatch roof of the church.  (the link has more information on the massacre and events surrounding it)

One young girl escaped by climbing out of a small window, severing one breast in the process.  She was able to run to Dunvegan, 10 miles away, and alert MacLeods there to what was happening.  They took pursuit and caught up to the fleeing MacDonalds, whose boats were moored by the retreating tide.   In the battle that followed every member of the MacDonald party was killed.

The church now only stands as ruins amidst the cemetery, which is still used today.  It is a beautiful area, but the stillness and bleak stones of the church offer a somber moment to the past.

Red Hills of Skye.  I took some pictures of the Cuillins but the sun was so low and bright it left the mountains in deep shadow with blaring light between the peaks!

Sunset over one of the Lochs near Fort William.  I can't remember which one, because we were frustratingly detoured by the lack of bridges- but the views were gorgeous!  Our detour also took us over the Bridge of Oich, but no pictures because it was quite late and dark.   So if you want to see it you'll have to look at the link.

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