Kilmuir Graveyard

After visiting the Museum of Island Life we visited Kilmuir Graveyard. Why visit this graveyard? Well it has several graves of interest.

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The main grave is that of Flora MacDonald, it towers above all the others. It has an epitaph written by the notable author Samuel Johnson – who with James Boswell had met Flora in life during their tour of the Highlands.  This reads “Her name will be mentioned in history and if courage and fidelity be virtures, mentioned with honour.” Seven other members of her family are also buried here.

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Another magnificent grave marker is a carved effigy of a knight in armour that lies close to the very old chapel/burial enclosure at the far end of the main graveyard. This marks the grave of Angus Martin or Aonghas na Geoithe (“Angus of the Wind”). Angus is said to have earned his nickname by insisting on going to sea whatever the weather and he is believed to have married a Danish princess with whom he had seven sons.

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A more recent grave in the cemetery is that of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

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Museum of Island Life

In the north of Skye at Kilmuir is the Museum of Island Life. It is a small museum based in a small township of thatched cottages, each depicting, as closely as possible, the conditions on the island at the end of the nineteenth century. The museum is worth visiting to see how life used to be on Skye, especially as entry to the museum is £3 for adults and 50p for school aged children (as at July 2019).

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The largest cottage contains the croft kitchen and bedroom.

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Croft Kitchen

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Croft bedroom

One of the other cottages is set up as a weaver’s cottage.

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Weaver’s Cottage

In the ceilidh house there is an exhibition about Bonnie Prince Charlie and Flora MacDonald. It also contains old photos and documents of Skye.

 

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Sheep on Skye

One thing you notice when driving on Skye especially when off the main roads are the sheep. There are lots of sheep of Skye and they graze everywhere! We had to keep the gate to the cottage closed or they would have wandered in.

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Sheep watching me close the gate.

We saw lots of sheep and had to slow down many times to wait on them moving from the road.

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Duntulm Castle

As we drove round the top of Skye we saw some a castle ruin. We stopped and ventured to find out more. There were no signs as to who the castle had belonged to other than a memorial cairn to the MacArthurs. The walk to the ruin was a side a windy cliff.

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I later found out it was the castle of the Clan Donald of Sleat.

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Walk to Staffin Beach

After lunch at Columbus 1400, we walked down towards Staffing Beach. This involved crossing some moorland before a stone path down the hill. We had to go past some cows.

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A brief walk along the shore line got us to the beach, where dinosaur footprints have been found.

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An Lethallt

From Portree we took the road north heading towards Slaffin. On the way we stopped at Lealt waterfall. There is a viewing platform which gives a safe place to view the falls.

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A short and easy walk towards the sea leads to a viewpoint where the depths of the gorge can be seen and the remains of a diatomite factory.

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Glendale Land Leaguers

On the way to Glendale from Colbost is a memorial to the Glendale Land Leaguers. These are men who in the 1800s stood up for the crafters against the government.

Led by John MacPherson, the crofters demanded the return of the common grazing land that had been taken from them. Taking direct action, they began grazing their cattle on this land. Police action in January 1883 proved ineffective and eventually a government official was sent to Skye to conduct negotiations. Five crofters including MacPherson agreed to stand in a token trial. They were sentenced to two months in jail and became known as the Glendale Martyrs.

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