Dunvegan and the Waternish
Daily total: 55 miles
After a lot of driving on the previous two days we decided that staying a bit more local might be the ticket today. First stop was Neist Point, the most westerly point on Skye and the location of a much admired lighthouse. The car park is at the very top of the cliffs and you have a choice of a vertignous descent down the cliffside path to the light itself or a steep climb up the nearby hills for a panoramic view. I chose the latter this morning and indeed the views are spectacular, looking out over the light across the Little Minch to the Outer Hebrides beyond.
From there we headed to Dunvegan and the chance to fill up with diesel at the most laid-back garage-cum-meeting-for-a-chat place ever. On to the end of the road and a look round Dunvegan Castle and gardens. This has been the seat of the MacLeod family for at least 800 years and like all semi-aristocratic families they don’t seem to have ever thrown anything away. The castle ( the upper floors are still very much occupied by the family) is rammed with all manner of stuff from throughout the ages.
Leaving the castle and from the town’s car park we happily ate our sandwiches looking out over the harbour towards the twin flat-topped mountains known as MacLeod’s Tables.
Leaving Dunvegan we headed back out on the Portree road, but soon turned off onto the a minor road leading to the peninsula called the Waternish. Almost immediately we stopped at the Fairy Bridge, which is just a little bridge carrying the old road with the new road running alongside.
The legend is, if you first enter the Waternish by the Fairy Bridge, then you will forever belong to the Waternish. I think they miss a trick by bypassing it with the new road though! Carrying on up there, with lovely views overlooking Loch Bay and Dunvegan Head, it’s not long before we reach the ruins of Trumpan Church. I am not entirely sure who did what anymore, but this was the site of a massacre of the MacLeods by the MacDonalds. Or maybe it was the other way round? Anyway, in retaliation for some other massacre where one lot trapped another in a cave and smoked them to death, on this occasion the second lot burnt down the church with the first lot inside.
The astonishing thing to my mind is that they remember those days fondly, whist we, the Sassanach (literally, [Anglo]-Saxon speakers), are still reviled for what seems a lot less violence over a much shorter period. Anyway, despite all the feuding it is a beautiful place and well worth a visit on a lovely day like today.
On the way back we were tempted in to a place called Skye Skins. Basically a business where they prepare sheepskins for sale, either as rugs or for further processing into there goods. The USP, as it where, was they offered you a tour of the workshops before showing you the shop. That was actually very interesting though the prices in the shop were even more so! Sad really, as I wouldn’t have minded a few hints, but £800 for a patchwork sheepskin rug is a wee too rich for my blood.