Sunday, 23 September 2012


Anyone who thinks we have it bad now should spare a thought for a group of crofters who worked the land on the Duirinish Peninsula in the 19th century. The crofters were ordered to leave their homes in 1830 and were forced to emigrate. Those who refused were threatened with jail, while the over-70s were put in the poorhouse. Later, in 1883, another group of crofters called the Glendale Land Leaguers were locked in a bitter dispute with landowers over grazing rights. After a series of clashes with the authorities, five of the crofters were made an example of, having to stand trial for assault. They were sentenced to two months in jail and became known as the Glendale Martyrs. There is a monument to them near Fasach.

In a previous blog post, I described the top end of Skye as looking like a mis-shapen hand. Looking again at the map of the island I am struck by the resemblance of Skye to a lobster. The lobster's left-hand 'pincer' is the Duirinish Peninsula. The MacLeod name rears its head again here, but this time in the form of a geographical feature known as MacLeod's Tables, a reference to the highest peaks on Duirinish. Legend has it that the Chief of the Clan MacLeod entertained a visitor on top of one of the 'tables', Healabhal Mor. Meanwhile a group of stacks just off the west coast are known as MacLeod's Maidens. Although sparsely populated, the peninsula has a number of attractions for visitors. The Colbost Croft Museum is a replica of an 18th century black house, the tradtional style of dwelling in the Scottish isles, complete with a replica of a whisky still. The Borreraig Park Museum has a display of bagpipes and clan history. The Glendale Toy Museum takes a hands-on approach to the display of its toys, offering the chance to play with some of the exhibits.

Map of the area.

© 2010 Africaspotter, via Wikimedia Commons

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