Mountains for sale – Isle of Skye

View on the Cuillin

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.

Read more

Local heroes – Isle of Skye

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.

Read more