Local heroes – Isle of Skye

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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.


Nowadays, Glendale has many newcomers (as does the rest of Skye) and the original islanders are not all happy about this. The newcomers live mainly of tourism, just look at all the self-catering accommodation and fancy restaurants like the Three Chimneys. They want newfangled things like street lighting and Sunday opening hours. Roads are congested by camper vans and people parking on passing places to take photographs of seals in the distance, indifferent to the obstruction and annoyance they cause. “Everybody is looking for instant thrills now. The tourists don’t take the time to get to know the island properly, they just race from highlight to highlight”’ sighs the woman from the local grocery shop/post office in Lephin. ”Yep, totally Instagram driven,” adds a young lad with a border collie.

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