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Anne MacDonald, Meadle Farm, Struan, Isle of Skye, IV56 8FY     01470 572 216    

Carbost, Struan, Minginish, Loch Harport, and Loch Bracadale Area Guide

When first time visitors to Skye leave the Broadford to Portree (A87) road at Sligachan and take the left turn onto the A863 road to Dunvegan, they climb up the hill to Alt Dearg (Red Burn) and proceed along Glencrossal; it is at this point they are approaching one of the most beautifully scenic areas of the island.

Stretching from the Cuillins to the MacLeod's Tables and fringing the islet dotted Loch Bracadale, this area is rich in wildlife, otters, foxes and red deer which can often be seen in their natural habitats. There are also myriads of seabirds, some game birds and common garden birds. The mighty sea eagle - recently reintroduced to the island has been known to nest close to Loch Harport, while the golden eagle - king of the birds 'still watches from his mountain walls'. In springtime, roadsides are aglow with gorse, primroses, buttercups and drifts of bluebells.

4 miles from Sligachan a road turns down to the left to the village of Carbost. This small village boasts the atmospheric waterside Old Inn, serving delicious locally sourced food and live music. This village is also home to the world famous Talisker Distillery with visitor centre and shop, where a dram of the distinctive Whiskey can be sampled.

Meadle is also an ideal centre for exploring the Minginish peninsula. The three remote glens of Glenbrittle, Eynort and Talisker are worth visiting, and all have spectacular coastal walks. Glenbrittle has a Youth Hostel, a beautiful sandy beach, a tiny shop, and it is a mecca for hill walkers and more serious climbers. Eynort has an ancient churchyard round a ruined church, where the Skye clergy signed the National Covenant in 1638.

Rejoining the A863, travelling towards Struan, you arrive at your destination, Meadle - a cluster of houses set on a working sheep farm.

Beyond Meadle travelling towards Struan, you cross a causeway. 200m beyond the causeway is a sign for the 'old Struan churchyard' where the renowned Cuillin guide John Mackenzie (some times named Mortan) and his famous mountaineer friend Professor Norman Collie are buried. Both these men have been commemorated by having peaks in the Cuillins named after them.

Struan has a well preserved hill fort named Dun Beag (the small Dun)(photographed). These duns probably predate the Viking period. In his book 'The History and Traditions of the Isle of Skye' (Inverness 1871) Alexander Cameron writes; "these forts, beside being places of defense, served the purpose of a rude telegraph being built on eminences, and so placed that, each dun is in the view of some other, and by this means when a fire was made on a beacon in one fort, it was in a few moments after communicated to all the rest, this signal was used as an alarm at the approach of the enemy, or when suspicious vessels were seen approaching the coast". About 300 yards below the dun is a souterrain or earth house, which both were visited and recorded by James Boswell and Samuel Johnson, during their Highland tour of 1773.

Many place names in this area have a Scandinavian origin; this is a legacy of the Norsemen who ruled in this area from circa 880AD when the Norwegian King Harald Harfager annexed the Hebrides until 1263 when King Haakkon was defeated by the Scots at the Battle of Largs.

Names ending in bost denote a farmstead, eg, Ebost, Orbost. Ay was an island eg Raasay, Soay and Scalpay. Al or Val was a mountain e.g. the Macleod's Table Healeval, other local names like Roag, Vatten, Watternish and Roskill, all date from this period.

This is a brief synopsis of a lovely corner of the Highlands of Scotland and we hope it will serve to whet the appetite of visitors to the Island of Skye to further discover all the delights the area has to offer.

Cuillins and Loch Bracadale in the winter

Cuillins and Loch Bracadale in the winter

Dun Beag Broch at Struan on Skye

Dun Beag Broch at Struan

Cuillins from Dun Beag Broch at Struan on Skye

Cuillins from Dun Beag Broch

Neist Point

Neist Point

 

The river at Ose flowing out into Loch Bracadale

The river at Ose flowing out into Loch Bracadale
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