View from Duntulm Castle
The Isle of Skye in Scotland is the largest island in the Inner Hebrides. It has a varied and unique landscape, and is a fantastic place for hiking. It is one of my favorite places in the world, as there is so much to see and do in such a small area.
The island is traditionally part of the Clans MacLeod and Donald. The Highland Clearances in the 18th century, after the Jacobite Risings, reduced the population from 20,000 to just under 9,000, but it has risen to 10,000 in recent years. About a third of the residents speak Scottish Gaelic.The name Skye might come from the winged shape of the island, as an early Celtic word for winged was skitis. The Norse name for the island was Skíð. Skuy in Norse was Misty Isle, and Skýey or Skuyö translates to Isle of Cloud.
Portree is the largest town, with a population of over 2,000. Dunvegan castle in the northwest is owned by the Clan MacLeod. Most of the population lives in small townships scattered on the coast.
Evidence of people date back to the 7,000 BCE, as there is Mesolithic evidence in Staffin. More recently, Pictish, Dál Riata, and Viking occupations are well established. Some Pictish symbol stones are on Skye, and Irish Annals record monks visiting the pagan leaders on Skye.
While Clan MacLeod on Trotternish and Clan MacDonald on Sleat are the primary clans, Mackinnons, MacInnes, and MacNeacall are also associated with the island. MacDonalds and MacLeods had a bitter enmity, and Trumpan church was the site of a horrible slaughter.
Flora MacDonald became famous for the rescue of Prince Charles Stuart, by disguising him as her handmaid and allowing him to escape via Skye. She is buried in Trotternish, though she lived in America for a time.
Dunvegan Castle Gardens
Colbost Folk Museum
Don’t miss information on Celtic myth and history, as well as practical travel planning tips, and hidden places, in my travel books. And watch out for my upcoming historical fantasy novel, Legacy of Hunger!
– Stunning, Strange and Secret: A Guide to Hidden Scotland
– Mythical, Magical, Mystical: A Guide to Hidden Ireland
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