General Island History

There are remnants of the past almost everywhere on Skye:

  • From 6,000BC there are standing stones with pictish carving. Chambered burial cairns can also be found in many parts of the island dating from the Stone Age.
  • Iron Age on Skye was around 500BC, leaving behind hut circles, duns and brochs. Long underground storage passages called souterrains can also be found.
  • Vikings took control of the island around 700AD, and ruled until the defeat of Haakon at the Battle of Largs in 1263. After this, Skye came under the rule of the King of Scots.

During this time there were constant battles between the two most powerful clans, the MacLeod's of the north and the MacDonald's of the south. The Jacobite rebellion in 1745, and the subsequent Battle of Culloden in 1746 led to Prince Charles Edward Stuart becoming a fugitive. He was helped to escape from Benbecula to Skye in a boat disguised as Flora MacDonald's female servant. This piece of history was commemorated with the famous Skye Boat Song.

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