The Isle of Skye
Part 2: History - and Seafood

Dunvegan Castle

"The mists of history warm
the heart, blood and flesh
of my people."

A real sense of history can be found on every corner of the island, with geological treasures, fossils and evidence of settlements dating back to the Meolithic, or middle-stone age, 6500 BC. Standing Stones, cairns, brochs, gravestones and monastic sites show the later inhabitants of Scots, Picts and in the 8th century, the invasion of the Vikings, beginning four centuries of Scandinavian dominance.

Visit the stunning ruins of the 15th Century Castle Maol in the south and Dunvegan Castle (pictured above) in the north west, the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland, having been occupied by the Chiefs of the Macleod clan continuously for over seven centuries. With its paintings, armoury, flags and banners, here you will absorb the atmosphere of ancient battles, legends, tragedy and romance.

There is a strand of Bonnie Prince Charlie`s hair in a locket once belonging to Flora MacDonald, the heroine who saved the Prince from capture by rowing him, disguised as a servant girl, " over the sea to Skye". At Kilmuir in the far north of Trotternish, you can visit Flora MacDonald`s monument and grave, with Dr Johnson`s poignant tribute to her courage and honour. Near here are the thatched houses of the Skye Museum of Island Life, offering a fascinating insight into the crofting way of life in the 19th century.


Three Chimneys

Even across a weekend it is possible to drive around much of the island and if you do have time, head north west from Dunvegan across the Duirinish Peninsula and follow the winding moorland single track B884 - watching out for sheep wandering along the unfenced road . In a few miles you`ll reach Colbost and the Three Chimneys Restaurant with rooms (pictured above). Situated on the waters edge of Loch Dunvegan, this award winning restaurant - considered the best in the north of Scotland - is an absolute must. Shirley Spear, a self-taught chef, prepares the most superb and succulent seafood - crab, mussels, oysters, scallops, monkfish and langoustine, - as well as delicious soups, game, local vegetables and traditional rich puddings.

For a real treat, stay overnight by reserving one of the six bedrooms in the House Over-By. These boat-shaped, split-level suites, with polished wood flooring, soft, warm furnishings, CD, video, spacious bathrooms, and views out over the loch are luxurious in comfort and contemporary design. An early morning walk may be necessary in order to enjoy a gourmet breakfast with fruits, porridge, smoked salmon, cheese, home baked bread and croissants.

From The Three Chimneys take the road further west towards Glendale and on to Waterstein on the coast. This is the starting point of a two mile walk to the Neist Point lighthouse, the most westerly point on Skye. It was here that the Oscar nominated film Scottish/Danish "Breaking the Waves" starring Hilary Watson, was filmed. The views from the sea cliffs are superb and apart from a rich seabird colony, you might even spot whales off shore.

Wherever you roam on Skye, under storm clouds or bright sunshine, the forever changing landscape - mist-shrouded hills, white-foaming waves crashing over rocks, the poignant call of the oyster catchers, - offers a feast of images to create a memorable experience. Moreover, you will surely leave this ancient land of romantic history and heritage with a resonating sense of the free spirit of the place, of nature in the wild.

"In the joyous island
of the rich hearts
of the kind spirits
with shape of generous beauty."

Useful Contacts Trotternish Peninsula

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