Neist Point Lighthouse is located in Duirinish, the island’s most western protrusion. Its photogenic setting on a narrow headland makes it one of Europe’s most captured lighthouses. It played a part in the film Breaking the Waves, for which director Von Trier used plastic gravestones to create a non-existing churchyard.
Mountains are wild places; indisputable elements of nature, for all to enjoy and for no one to own. Right? The 29th McLeod chief thought otherwise. When he found himself strapped for cash and with the clan’s seat, Dunvegan Castle*, eternally in disrepair, he decided to sell the mountains of Skye. Sell the soul of the island to the highest bidder! People laughed at his foolishness, because they knew the Cuillin weren’t his to sell. But John McLeod produced some deed documents from 1611 and decided he wanted to pocket £10 million pounds for them. Decried by islanders, environmentalists and MSPs, McLeod said he didn’t understand the fuss; it wasn’t as if he was going off to a tropical island, sipping cocktails. He would use the money wisely to conserve Dunvegan. He told the newspapers the castle was as leaky as a sieve and that guests needed umbrellas at the dining table.
A small monument beside the road reminds of a group of local heroes and their leader John MacPherson. In 1882 they stood up against their big landowner due to grazing disputes on Waterstein Farm. Their persistent resistance and occupation of the land landed them in prison. But their case was investigated and reached parliament all the way in London, a world apart, resulting in land reform. Glendale became a community owned estate and still is. The crofters are the freeholders of the land on which they live and work. The actions of these 19th century crofters caused a domino effect throughout the Scottish Highlands and Islands, eventually resulting in the historical Crofters Act.
You’re on vacation and you spot a house that stirs you imagination. A detached, cosy looking, ‘what if I’d live here’ kind of place with a gate that opens to the beach. If you actually want to try such a remote house with daylight streaming through the large windows and the wind slamming the outside walls, then steer to Haunn. A few cottages thrown together, surrounded by the machair, sweeping to the edge of the rough sea. The weather promises four seasons in one day, which alters the views constantly. Blackface sheep, gliding seagulls, even a sea eagle with its magnificent wingspan, the sun reflected on its white tail feathers. Here you are doing without human noises. The singing wind and scattered baaing. Your own thoughts are your company, or maybe here you manage to switch them off.