Interesting places

Some random places around the island that I find interesting, but don't fit well anywhere else on the Skye Guide. Most of them are easy to reach without too much walking. The air crash site is an exception to that...

Gavin Maxwell's Cottage

Gavin Maxwell, author of 'Ring of Bright Water", conservationist and shark hunter (how did those two work together?), secret agent, aristocrat and artist, lived in the cottage on Eilean Ban for the last two years of his life in the late 1960s. He had already owned the island for five years, having bought it from the lighthouse board in 1963. During his time here he converted the lighthouse keepers' cottages into one home, continued his writing and painting and established a small zoo of native scottish animals.

Flora's Monument at Kilmuir

In Kilmuir Cemetery, just behind the Museum of Island Life, is a tall memorial to Flora MacDonald, 'Preserver of Prince Charles Edward Stuart'. Despite the romanticism of the Skye Boat Song et al, she was a real and remarkable person. This is the place to come to and spend a moment reflecting on her amazing courage. She was buried in this graveyard (though not very close to where her memorial stands) in 1790.

On the moors of Trotternish, just below the steep east face of Beinn Edra, lie the remains of a US Air Force heavy bomber - a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. It is a pretty bleak and remote location, and the hike in from Marishader is pathless and often boggy. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating place to visit if you are at all interested in such things.

St Columba's Isle Skye

Just below the bridge where the main road between Portree and Dunvegan crosses the River Snizort, close to the Skeabost House Hotel, there is a well hidden and fascinating bit of Skye's history - St. Columba's Isle. There you will find ancient ruins and graves, stretching back over many centuries.

You can get close to it by car if you use the old road that runs just to the north of the current one. Take the turning to Tote at NG422485. Immediately after crossing the cattle grid, turn left and continue to the end of the road.

Memorial for Flora Swire

I had driven past St John’s Chapel at Caroy (NG305437) many times before I realised what an interesting ruin it is. Many hundreds of visitors to Skye drive past without stopping too - and that is a pity. It is right next to the road that runs between Sligachan and Dunvegan, and parking is easy. Do take a few minutes to explore it if you can. Although the chapel itself has not been used for a century or so, the churchyard is very much still in use for burials and deserves to be respected.

Trumpan Church

Trumpan Church

The ruins of Trumpan Church stand at the far north end of the Waternish Road, at NG225612. The site has a whole lot of stories to tell…

The Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke

In 1578, Trumpan Church was the site of a revenge attack on the MacLeods by the MacDonalds of Uist. The MacDonalds crept up on the church, which was filled by a worshipping congregation. They barred the only door and set fire to the thatch, killing all the occupants save one young girl. She died of her injuries, but was instrumental in raising the alarm and thus securing the butchering of all the MacDonalds by the men of MacLeod of Dunvegan. The corpses of the MacDonalds were dragged back up the hill and then buried by collapsing a turf wall onto them – hence the conflict was named the "Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke". It is said that human bones are turned up here to this day.