Today our tour will take us north of Sleat to Broadford. Here we will turn left and drive through the expansive valley of Strath Suardal. Skye Marble was quarried here for several centuries before the onset of WWI. Now the valley is very quiet, guarded by the ruins of Cill Chriosd, “Christ’s Church.”
This location dates back to the 600s, when St. Maelrubha preached from atop a nearby rocky knoll, still known as Cnoc na-Aifhreann, “Hill of the Mass.” The first stone church was built in medieval times. The church whose ruins stand today likely replaced an earlier church, much grander, some time in the 1500s.
The cemetery is the final resting place for many of Clan MacKinnon. Two ancient stone markings, one of a clan chief complete with hieroglyphics and one pre-Christian stone, mysteriously disappeared sometime after 1913.
Let’s continue our drive further west, past Torrin toward the Cullins. Anyone need to make a call? It is still in working order.
Or maybe you’d like to mail those postcards you bought at Armandale Castle yesterday? The sign says “The Old Post Office.” I’m not sure it is still functioning. Maybe we should hold onto our mail.
The vastness of the glen and the mountains dwarfs the many sheep along our drive today. The Cullins are magnificent.
There are few walls on Skye, but here is a beautiful stone example snaking its way across the hillside toward the sea.
Our second stop today is Dun Ringill. I’ll park by the Kilmarie House situated on the Strathaird Penninsula. This house once belonged to Ian Anderson, lead singer for Jethro Tull! How fun it that? It’s still a private residence so no peaking in the windows. Follow me through this gate.
After crossing the bridge spanning Abhainne Cille Mahaire, we’ll pass one of the largest examples of an intact cairn on the island, Kilmarie Chambered Cairn. Not sure who is buried here, so let’s be sure to keep to the path. Wouldn’t want to disturb them now, would we?
The woods are full of fern and bluebells. I believe they could be enchanted.
Let’s continue on the narrow path to the sea just ahead. Then, it’ll be a short walk across the moor to the Iron Age fort, Dun Ringill. Ringill means “point of the raven.” Nice, huh? Here it is. What do you think? It’s not much to look at now, but it was the seat of the Clan MacKinnon long before the 16th century.
It overlooks Loch Slapin. If you listen closely you can hear voices on the wind and the sound of steel in the air.
I know it’s hard to leave this amazing spot. The view is spectacular and the shoreline begs to be explored, but alas, we’ve a boat ride to catch to an enchanted loch. Keep your eyes open as we walk back through the forest and you just might see a wood elf or a fairy.