The Isle of Skye is remote and breathtaking. Did I mention remote? Rich said that it felt like we were driving to the ends of the earth. The road from Killin to Skye is by far the most beautiful drive that I have ever taken, running through Glencoe and Fort William. Long stretches with no towns, no power lines, no trees, just enormous mountains, covered in emerald-green grass, with waterfalls around every turn.
The beauty continued after taking the bridge over to Skye, but now the hills were covered with sheep grazing. The house we rented was near the top of the Isle in an area called Waternish, and only had a handful of small towns on the way. The last 15 minutes were on a curvy, lightly paved one lane road through sheep farms. You never knew as you rounded each corner if you would come face to face with another car or several sheep.
Our house was the last house on the end of the road and the view did not disappoint. It was so peaceful, which was perfect because this was our week to just relax. We spent the week cooking meals, playing charades and reading novels. The relaxed vibe was aided by our complete lack of technology. The internet was dial-up slow and the TV only had 3 channels. So we just relaxed.
We did suffer through a couple of traumas. On our first night there, Harrison crushed his foot on an exercise machine in the house. The poor thing could hardly walk all week and still has a serious bruise a week later. He was happy to skip the walks and finish his book. We also experienced the only unpleasant thing about Scotland, the dreaded midge! They are small flies that swarm and have a nasty bite. The are usually gone by this time of year but were out in full force. It wasn’t too bad on our little point as Waternish is constantly windy and they avoid wind. It was bad on the rest of Skye and we found ourselves staying on our little point most of the week.
We did go to Dunvegan Castle. The castle, which is the home of the MacLeod clan, is interesting. It has the famous “Fairy Flag” and the offices of the The gardens are beautiful but we had to flee to the shelter of the car to get away from the attacking midges!
A short walk from our house was the site of one of the most brutal massacres in Scotland’s history: “The Battle of the Spoiling Dyke”. The Scots do love to tell of their clan massacres and they had a lot of them to tell. The story goes that in 1578 The MacLeods killed a village of MacDonalds in the Cave of Frances on the Isle of Eigg, so the MacDonalds sought revenge by sealing the doors to the Trumpan Church and then setting it on fire. The entire town was killed but one girl who escaped. It’s a dark story but in a truly beautiful place.
In the cemetery of Trumpan Church is an unusual stone. It is an upright stone about 3 feet tall, with a small hole carved into it. The history of this stone is that it was used as part of trials of accused people, where they would be blindfolded and have to put their finger into the hole on the first try. If they failed, they were guilty!
Also near our house is the famous Fairy Bridge of Skye. According to legend, the leader of Clan MacLeod fell in love with a fairy princess and was granted her hand in marriage by the king of the fairies on the condition that she only stay in the human world for 1 year and a day. Then she had to cross the bridge back to her own land. Aidan and Miles were excited to cross the bridge, but Harrison was unimpressed.