The island of Skye was once an isolated spot, cut off from the British mainland and accessible only by ferry. Today, it welcomes visitors from all over the world across the bridge, which opened in 1995. But the history of Skye is far from quiet, with a rich tapestry woven over many years. Let Donald from Skye tell you more about the history and heritage of Skye.
Skye was never conquered by the Romans, leaving its traditionally Gaelic speaking inhabitants to continue with a rich life living off the land and the sea. The island is packed with stunning sights dating back over thousands of years. Some of the earliest evidence of life on the isle can be found in Brochs, around Pictish towers constructed some 2,000 years ago. We don’t know who built them, or why, but their presence all over the island show that a long-standing community called Skye home.
There’s a story that King James VI travelled to Skye in 1540 to recruit the inhabitants to fight for him. They arrived in battleships but found the clans busy feuding with each other. Visitors can walk in the footsteps of the islands historic families by visiting complete and ruined clan settlements across the island.
Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland, and for 800 years has been the ancestral home of the MacLeod Clan. The MacDonald clan moved around the island before settling at Armadale Castle. It’s in a truly magical setting and is home to the Museum of the Isle, the perfect place to soak up Skye’s history.
Despite its isolation, Skye didn’t escape the injustice of the Highland clearances, evidence of which can be seen across the landscape. Many families were driven to the coast or left the isles altogether for North America. Countless abandoned settlements still exist on the island, including Suishnish and Boreraig in Strath.
A visit to Skye is so much more than a day trip. To fully take in this rich and varied island's history, ask Donald from Skye to fill you in and make the most of your visit to our ancient isle!