Isolation (cloud) and Ey (island)” (Allen). Which refers to

Isolation is bliss. The word
isolation is often known to have negative connotations along with the word.

However, to some, isolation is like living in a dream. A dream with vibrant
green, rolling hills decorated with mist. With jagged peaks on the Black
Cuillin mountains that tower over the mysterious, lush forests and rushing waterfalls.

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With a bright, refreshing coastline drifting off into the clear blue depths of the
North Atlantic Ocean seen from the famous Neist Point Lighthouse. The beautiful
isolation captured here is known to the few inhabitants and visitors of Skye. The
Isle of Skye, otherwise known as an t-Eilean Sgiathanach in Gaelic, or the
Misty Isle, is located in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland where it boasts its
beauty for all of the United Kingdom to see. The Isle of Skye has an
interesting history, culture/heritage based current events, and wondrous literary
history.

To start off, Skye’s most basic history will bring a
better understanding of its origins and in becoming what it is today. According
to John Allen from TheSkyeGuide.com, “The name ‘Skye’ is probably from the Norse
words Ski (cloud) and Ey (island)” (Allen). Which refers to the mist that often
covers the Cuillin Hills. Norwegian settlers first arrived in Skye around 875
AD and by 907 the islanders have become a Celtic-Norwegian mix because of inter
marriage. This is most likely how the Isle of Skye got its name. It is also
called The Misty Isle again because of the mist. However, in Gaelic, as
mentioned before, the isle is called an t-Eilean Sgiathanach. This is
translated to be “The Winged Isle” from the winged like shape of the island’s
peninsulas. It is seen in the many names of the island itself that there is an
interesting history found here.

Going
deeper into Skye before its name, we find its first settlers. ScottishAccommodationIndex.com
reveals that, “Mesolithic man arrived in Scotland
around 6000 BC” (“Welcome to Isle of Skye”). They were nomadic and depended on
fishing which Skye happened to be a big part of. And although no proof has been
found yet that links Skye directly to these nomadic hunter gatherers, it is highly
suggested that they used these fishing grounds.

Fast forward to 794AD during
the first Viking attack on Skye. We found earlier that the name Skye comes from
the Norse language and of the Norwegians settling. A quick sum up of the
history of Skye starts with the end of the Battle of Largs in 1266 when the
Scottish crown won back the Isle of Skye which had been a Norwegian territory
since 1098. The islanders were used to their independence which resulted in
their aiding of the uprising of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

 Listen to this, a Prince of England, Prince
Charles Edward Stewart (Bonnie Prince Charlie) was on the run in 1746 from none
other than England in his Jacobite rebellion. He wanted the crown for his
father and tried to rebel against the Crown. He was driven back to Scotland
where he got support from the Highland and Island rebellion but was defeated in
1746 in the Battle of Culloden and was forced to flee. He came across Flora
MacDonald who offered to row him to the Isle of Skye to escape. They were
caught at landing when soldiers showed up and since it was treason Flora went
to prison and the uprising was put out. Because of the rebellion against the crown, “Flora MacDonald’s crossing in her boat is also seen as one of
the last images from an old Gaelic sea world before it was swept away, being at
the forefront of government persecution which sought to destroy the culture
which had played host to its enemies” (“Welcome to Isle of Skye”). How
interesting is that? The Gaelic culture was suppressed by the government just
like here in Hawaii. Connections can be made from our small islands to theirs
in the form of suppression of our cultures.

            After the rebellion was
crushed, the clan leaders in Skye were killed and those who were “loyal” to the
crown took charge and decided to kick out tenants to make profit from sheep.

This resulted in ‘The Clearances’ which took place in 1840 – 1880. This is
where most people moved to the United States, or other areas in the world
because they were put out of work. This cause many inhabitants to leave which
also resulted in crop failure and famine which drove more people away. However,
those who are left survive from the success of fishing and tourism in Skye. The
most interesting parts of Skye’s basic history is of the mixed cultures, the suppression
of culture from government similar to Hawaii, and the rebellion of such a small
area but so strong nonetheless to go up against the Crown.

Now that the basic history of the
Isle of Skye’s has been introduced, let us continue to the history of Skye’s
clans. Emma O’Neill, a reporter from the Scotsman Newpaper writes about the history
of Scottish surnames deriving from the Isle of Skye and observes, “The most famous clans of the time were the MacLeods and MacDonalds, with
the lesser known clans of MacKinnon and Budge also playing an important role in
shaping the history of the area” (O’Neill). The MacDonalds are called ‘The MacDonalds
of Sleat’ and was founded by “Ùisdean, or Hugh, a 6th great-grandson of
Somerled, a 12th-century Lord of the Isles (Rì Innse Gall)”
(O’Neill). Tradtional Clan Donald can be traced back to Ireland but because of
the clan’s early rise to power, it’s hard to tell for sure. The MacDonalds and
MacLeods have had an ongoing feud which has led to the deaths of many clan
members. The MacDonalds were known to support the Jacobite’s in the rebellion
against the Crown in 1715 but refused to support Bonnie Prince Charlie when he
escaped to Skye because they feared punishment for treason. Eventually After
the rebellion the clan took a dark turn and started to kick out tenants to
raise sheep for profit and even become, “part of
a plot to sell tenants into slavery to the American Colonies, the chieftains
alienating themselves from the common clansmen, who then cleared them off their
lands” (O’Neill). The history of the clans, specifically the MacDonald clan not
only helps shape Skye’s history, but also the history of many immigrants from
Scotland in which our family name, McDowell, derives.

All this history comes with its
people’s culture which is still evident in today’s current events. In Skye, one
day a year is set aside for the Isle of Skye Highland Games. The Skye Highland
Games official website states, “The Games
were inaugurated in 1877 by the Skye Gathering Committee, who also own the
field and still support the Games. Except during the World Wars, they have
taken place annually in this natural amphitheater from which some of the stones
used to build the Gathering Hall were quarried” (“History”). The games include Athletics,
Heavy Field Events, Piping and Highland Dancing which are unique to the
Scottish Highlands. This shows how in touch the people of the Island of Skye
are with their culture. It also goes to prove that even with the suppression of
their Gaelic culture, they were still able to save some of it and make a day
out of it in which all the islanders and highlanders as well as others can participate
in. Even in the current day, the culture of the islanders is preserved.

The culture of Skye
is kept alive by its inhabitants and their heritage. In an article from a
Scottish tabloid newspaper, the Daily Record, Torcuil Crichton wrote about the young
generation in the Scottish Highlands and how they are unable to live where they
grew up because of the rising prices in house building and getting property.

·     
The young people of Skye knowing most about its
culture and want to stay

·     
Cannot stay because prices going up on housing
especially now times

·     
Skye’s label is part of cause

·     
Home prices not the whole problem but also loss
of its inhabitants and locals

The Isle of Skye’s history and current events are just part
of the whole of the isle. Another great part of the Isle is its literary
history.

·     
Skye mentioned as a romantic island “quote from
history sight”

·     
Book to the Lighthouse description of Skye

Literary also based on ancient folklore
of the highlands.

·     
Most told in Gaelic which is dying out

·     
A folklore about highlands

Literary history of the isle of Skye is indeed wondrous in many ways along
with its history, and current events which brings out the beauty of this
Scottish island.

The Isle of Skye has an interesting
history, culture/heritage based current events, and wondrous literary history.