The far south of Skye

The Cuillin from the A87

Broadford, Armadale and Clan Donald
Daily total: 140 miles

Having pretty much travelled a great deal of northern Skye, the plan today was to see a bit more of the south. Since we arrived on Monday we hadn’t been further south that Portree, so today was the plan to right some of that. Early plans to hit the road to Glen Brittle or perhaps Elgol were scuppered by the weather. The Cullin was under a great deal of cloud, so we felt there was no point in going to look at what you cannot see. Instead we headed for Broadford. Well, we didn’t set off that early but we had barely got 1/4 of a mile down the road when we were flagged down by an elegantly dressed couple stood besides their hire car, sat on the grassy verge. They were French (or possibly Belgian) and it emerged that she had swerved to avoid an oncoming car and now their car was stuck fast. It didn’t look very stuck, so we all endeavoured to push it out. Turned out it was really stuck, with one wheel hanging over a ditch and spinning uselessly. I was really annoyed – here I am with a Land Rover and no blasted tow rope so I couldn’t pull ’em out. We offered a lift to the garage at Dunvegan (9 miles), but she managed to call out someone to give them a tow off the bank, so we left them waiting at that point. I wonder what tales they will tell when they get home.

Back on the road and somehow managing to resist the temptations of the short ferry ride to the island of Raasay from Sconser, our first stop was Broadford, which despite being located under the majestic bulk of Beinn na Caillich (the Red Hills) seemed rather an uninspiring strip mall of a place. There was no tempting anyone to visit Skye Serpentarium and Reptile World (not even with a coffee shop) so we had a drink in the imaginatively-titled Beinn na Callaich Cafe, a quick look round the town and then moved on. All too soon we hit the end of the road at Armadale – lunchtime saw us overlooking the harbour and eating our butties. Retracing our steps slightly we decided to visit the house and gardens of the Clan MacDonald.

Raven – symbol of the Clan MacDonald.

Well, we had done MacLeod place yesterday and it seemed unreasonable to take sides in the battle. Also it was the preferred choice over the Talisker Whisky Distillery tour (sigh). But despite this it turned out to be very interesting. Whilst the MacLeods had a full-sized castle to play with and the MacDonalds had only a ruined mansion house, the MacD’s made up for it with their museum and visitor centre.

Standing stones recreated inside the MacDonald museum.

Modern and well laid-out, it was crammed with stuff including a full-sized stone circle and an ancient Skye racing skiff. I am glad we went and spent the afternoon there looking round the museum and gardens.

Skye racing skiff

However I do think the MacDonalds have missed a trick – visiting the restaurant for afternoon tea I was disappointed that the menu included a ‘100% Beef Burger’. I mean come on, your clan name is MacDonald, your family has been cooking meat on that spot for at least a millennium, what would YOU be tempted to call that burger?

Armadale Castle – ruined seat of Clan MacDonald
Ruins of the laundry for Armadale Castle (NB bigger than the average house!)

Arriving back at Lower Milovaig after a long day, I was glad to see that our stranded tourists had gone. All that was left was a long grove in the verge where the underside of the car had been extricated. At least they got away, and there didn’t seem to be any signs of mechanical mayhem.

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