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Cuillins of Skye

Isle of Skye

Tours of Scotland, Isle of Skye

Skye and its smaller neighbours that make up the Inner Hebrides are known for their wild, beautiful landscapes of deep lochs and jagged mountains, which provide a challenge for the most experienced climbers. The islands have a harsh history, with Norse invasions, fierce clan feuds and the forcible eviction of much of the population during the Highland Clearances of the last century.

Armadale Castle, built in the 19th century, houses museum telling story of MacDonald clan. Forty acres of woodland gardens, guided walks, nature trails. Armadale is ferry link from Mallaig on mainland.

Red granite Beinn na Caillich dominates this crofting village on bay. Bonnie Prince Charlie took refuge with the MacKinnons after his 1746 defeat at Culloden. He left them his secret recipe for what is now called Drambuie.

Fertile island, 5 miles long, with small but thriving farming and fishing community. No accommodation on island but campers can stay with permission from the National Trust for Scotland. Deep-water harbour attracts many yachtsmen.

Crusader's Grave
Tomb found in a graveyard on a small island in the Skeabost river. Notable for unusual effigy of a warrior in armour.

Cuillin Hills
Semicircular range of bare, black, volcanic peaks, many over 3,000ft high. These peaks are for experienced climbers only and provide some of Britain's best and toughest climbing.

Dun Fiadhairt
Iron Age broch, or fort, 2000 years old. Walls 12ft thick enclose an area 31ft in diameter. Guard-rooms within walls on each side of the entrance.

Dun Hallin
Iron Age fort 12ft high with walls lift thick surrounded by outer wall. Two wall chambers and a stair lobby remain.

Dunscaith Castle
One of oldest fortified headlands of the Hebrides, a home of Mac-Donald clan until the late 16th century. Well preserved.

Dun Suladale Broch
Iron Age dwellings of this type, dry-stone towers with thick walls, are only found in Scotland. This example's walls are 12ft thick and enclose an area 42ft across.

Duntulm Castle
Ruin of 17th-century castle perched on cliff which falls sharply on three sides. Built by MacDonalds on site of Celtic fort.

Dunvegan Castle
Castle on Loch Dunvegan has been stronghold of Clan MacLeod since 1200. Packed with pictures, books and various relics of 20 MacLeod generations.

Fishing hamlet below Cuillin mountains on southern peninsula of Straithaird. Soay, Canna and Rhum islands visible from here.

Seven thatched cottages hold museum of 19th-century Skye crofting life. Graveyard's Celtic cross marks the burial place of heroine Flora MacDonald, who helped the fugitive Bonnie Prince Charlie during his flight from the English in 1746.

Kinloch Castle
Early 20th-century mansion, now a hotel, on Rim, built for Sir George Bullough. Many original fittings remain. Entire island was Bullough family's private estate from 1888 to 1957.

Knock Castle
One of many MacDonald clan strongholds in the 16th and 17th centuries, castle was successfully defended from a 15th-century attack by Clan MacLeod.

Seafront village and ferry port on strait that separates island from mainland. Castle Moil, MacKinnon stronghold from the 13th century, set on bluff.

Kyle House
House's 3 acre garden warmed by mild Golf Stream throughout
winter. Set by Loch Alsh, site gives views of the Cuillins and Island of Raasay.

Loch Bracadale
Sea loch where Hakon of Nor-way's fleet sheltered after defeat at 13th-century Battle of Largs. Dun Beag, one of Skye's best-preserved brochs, is nearby.

Loch Coruisk
Remote sea loch at foot of the Cuillins, accessible by boat or difficult hike. Name translates as 'cauldron of water'.

Loch Harport
Malt-drying kilns of Talisker distillery, Skye's only malt whisky producer, sit beside sea loch.

Loch Mealt
Water from loch flows 50yds before spilling over a sharp cliff to the sea 600ft below. Nearby is Kilt Rock, a formation with shape and strata resembling a kilt.

Loch Sligachan
Sligachan Hotel famous as climbing centre for the Cuillins since Victorian times. In Glen Sligachan is Bloody Stone, site of last clan battle between MacDonalds and MacLeods in 1601.

Old Skye Crofter's House
Local croft has been converted to Old Skye Crofter's House folk museum, displaying tools and illustrating crofting life.

Neat whitewashed houses and small hotels line harbour of town, 'capital' of Skye. Royal Hotel is on site of inn where Bonnie Prince Charlie bade farewell to Flora MacDonald in 1746 before exile in France. Highland Games held here in summer.

Gaelic name means 'pillared stronghold', describing an extra-ordinary glacier-created cluster of pinnacles and peaks.

Isle of Raasay, 13 miles long, lies between Skye and the mainland. Brochel Castle was home to MacLeod of Raasay, whose 1745 support of the Jacobite cause brought severe retribution upon island after defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Island with peaks rising to 2,659ft. Now a Scottish Natural Heritage reserve, abundant with red deer. The sea eagle has been success-fully reintroduced to island, previously extinct in Britain. Centre for botanical research.

Rocky coast with crofting and fishing village around Staffin Bay. Reached by narrow road crossing Stenscholl river.

The Storr
Area of rock cliffs and columns to the south of Trotternish peninsula. Area's highlight is Old Man of Storr, black basalt column l6Oft tall and 40ft in diameter, surrounded by lesser pinnacles.

Coastal crofting settlement, centre for sea angling and pony trekking. Sheltered from northerly winds by Scalpay Island.

Ruined church is site of 1579 fight between MacLeods and MacDonalds. The invading MacDonalds killed all but one of many MacLeods worshipping in the church. The sole survivor raised the alarm and the rest of the clan arrived and killed the MacDonalds before they could escape.

Ancient-looking tower overlooking bay is 19th-century folly, built by a Captain Fraser. Car ferry to North Uist and Harris.

Ullinish Point
Headland gives views of twin flat-topped hills called MacLeod's Tables. At low tide, point is connected to sheep-inhabited islet of Oronsay by sand bar.