Dunvegan Castle, Dunvegan, Scotland
Scotland – Skye, Day One
One of the main objectives of the trip we took this time was to see the “homeland” of Norma’s family. What we knew before we went was that her 3x great Grandfather (and many of her other relatives) came from Skye, but we didn’t know precisely where. It turns out we may never know, as the MacAskills were moved around the Isle of Skye as crofters – essentially farmers working for an overseeing landowner. We travelled on our first day on Skye to the Crofter’s Museum of Highland Life in Uig and saw the way Norma’s ancestors would have lived and the conditions they were dealing with. Most interesting was a weaving display, brought there by a lady from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia – so a direct connection to home! The scenery is wild, open and barren and sheep were the farming employ of most as the Highlands were simply chopped clear of forest to make room for the money making of sheep raising. Photography in such an area is very interesting – and I was glad to have my travel tripod along as there were scenic images that were only possible with a nice steady camera – including a very interesting waterfall near Dunvegan!
We had lunch at the Uig hotel (do have the Cullen Skink there, they load it with smoked haddock and smoked salmon!), and then ventured on to Dunvegan and the very interesting castle there – the home of the MacLeods. As Norma is a MacLeod descendent, she was welcomed “home” and signed a special guest book as we toured the amazing structure that has been home to the clan for over 1000 years! The castle is incredible, but inside was a very interesting artifact – the Fairy Flag. Woven in either Syria or Rhodes, the flag dates to between 300 and 600 AD, and how it came to the MacLeods is a bit of a mystery, but many think it probably came via a Norse King, Harald Sigurdsson, who went to Constantinople in the 1000’s, and he may have brought the flag, and Christianity, to Skye. My Nikon d800e was of great use here as they obviously don’t allow flash to photograph such a fragile object (the flag, as you can see is in tatters and very delicate), so a high ISO and good stability (they did allow me to set up my tripod when I explained what I was doing) was crucial. So interesting to see the history of an area that has been settled for so long, and an amazing place to photograph.
For Day Two on Skye we travelled through the south-western part of the Island and explored more closely the town of Portree where we were staying, that’s for next week!
A Crofter's Home in Uig, Scotland - note the rocks to hold down the roof!
Weaving Shed, Uig, Scotland
Uig Landscape, Scotland
Uig Folly - the landowner's tower to watch the port and his workers
The Fairy Flag
Waterfall in Dunvegan, Scotland