Skye, or the Isle of Skye, is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillin, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. Although it has been suggested that the Gaelic Sgitheanach describes a winged shape there is no definitive agreement as to the name's origins; the island has been occupied since the Mesolithic period, its history includes a time of Norse rule and a long period of domination by Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald. The 18th century Jacobite risings led to the breaking up of the clan system and subsequent Clearances that replaced entire communities with sheep farms, some of which involved forced emigrations to distant lands. Resident numbers declined from over 20,000 in the early 19th century to just under 9,000 by the closing decade of the 20th century. Skye's population increased by 4 per cent between 1991 and 2001.
About a third of the residents were Gaelic speakers in 2001, although their numbers are in decline, this aspect of island culture remains important. The main industries are tourism, agriculture and forestry. Skye is part of the Highland Council local government area; the island's largest settlement is Portree, its capital, known for its picturesque harbour. There are links to various nearby islands by ferry and, since 1995, to the mainland by a road bridge; the climate is mild and windy. The abundant wildlife includes red deer and Atlantic salmon; the local flora are dominated by heather moor, there are nationally important invertebrate populations on the surrounding sea bed. Skye has provided the locations for various novels and feature films and is celebrated in poetry and song; the first written references to the island are Roman sources such as the Ravenna Cosmography, which refers to Scitis and Scetis, which can be found on a map by Ptolemy. One possible derivation comes from skitis, an early Celtic word for winged, which may describe how the island's peninsulas radiate out from a mountainous centre.
Subsequent Gaelic-, Norse- and English-speaking peoples have influenced the history of Skye. Various etymologies have been proposed, such as the "winged isle" or "the notched isle" but no definitive solution has been found to date. In the Norse sagas Skye is called Skíð, for example in the Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar and a skaldic poem in the Heimskringla from c. 1230 contains a line that translates as "the hunger battle-birds were filled in Skye with blood of foemen killed". The island was referred to by the Norse as Skuy, Skýey or Skuyö; the traditional Gaelic name is An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, An t-Eilean Sgiathanach being a more recent and less common spelling. In 1549 Donald Munro, High Dean of the Isles, wrote of "Sky": "This Ile is callit Ellan Skiannach in Irish, to say in Inglish the wyngit Ile, be reason it has mony wyngis and pointis lyand furth fra it, throw the dividing of thir foirsaid Lochis." But the meaning of this Gaelic name is unclear. Eilean a' Cheò, which means island of the mist, is a poetic Gaelic name for the island.
At 1,656 square kilometres, Skye is the second-largest island in Scotland after Harris. The coastline of Skye is a series of peninsulas and bays radiating out from a centre dominated by the Cuillin hills. Malcolm Slesser suggested that its shape "sticks out of the west coast of northern Scotland like a lobster's claw ready to snap at the fish bone of Harris and Lewis" and W. H. Murray, commenting on its irregular coastline, stated that "Skye is sixty miles long, but what might be its breadth is beyond the ingenuity of man to state". Martin Martin, a native of the island, reported on it at length in a 1703 publication, his geological observations included a note that: There are marcasites black and white, resembling silver ore, near the village Sartle: there are in the same place several stones, which in bigness, shape, &c. resemble nutmegs, many rivulets here afford variegated stones of all colours. The Applesglen near Loch-Fallart has agate growing in it of different colours. Stones of a purple colour flow down the rivulets here after great rains.
The Black Cuillin, which are composed of basalt and gabbro, include twelve Munros and provide some of the most dramatic and challenging mountain terrain in Scotland. The ascent of Sgùrr a' Ghreadaidh is one of the longest rock climbs in Britain and the Inaccessible Pinnacle is the only peak in Scotland that requires technical climbing skills to reach the summit; these hills make demands of the hill walker that exceed any others found in Scotland and a full traverse of the Cuillin ridge may take 15–20 hours. The Red Hills to the south are known as the Red Cuillin, they are composed of granite that has weathered into more rounded hills with many long scree slopes on their flanks. The highest point of these hills is one of only two Corbetts on Skye; the northern peninsula of Trotternish is underlain by basalt, which provides rich soils and a variety of unusual rock features. The Kilt Rock is named after the tartan-like patterns in the 105 metres cliffs; the Quiraing is a spectacular series of rock pinnacles on the eastern side of th
Portree is the largest town on and capital of Skye in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. It is the location for the only secondary school on Portree High School. Public transport services are limited to buses. Portree has a harbour, fringed by cliffs, with a pier designed by Thomas Telford. Attractions in the town include the Aros centre. Further arts provision is made through arts organisation ATLAS Arts, a Creative Scotland regularly-funded organisation; the town serves as a centre for tourists exploring the island. The Royal Hotel is the site of MacNab's Inn, the last meeting place of Flora MacDonald and Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1746; the town plays host to the Isle of Skye Camanachd. They play at Pairc nan Laoch above the town on the road to Struan. Around 939 people can speak Scottish Gaelic; the A855 road leads north out of the town, passing through villages such as Achachork and passes the rocky landscape of the Storr before reaching the landslip of the Quiraing. The current name, Port Rìgh translates as'king's port' from a visit by King James V of Scotland in 1540.
However this etymology has been contested. The older name appears to have been Port Ruighe, meaning "slope harbour". Prior to the 16th century the settlement's name was Kiltaraglen from Gaelic Cill Targhlain. In the 1700s, the town was a popular point of departure for Scots sailing to America to escape poverty; this form of use repeated during the potato famine in the 1840s. Both times, the town was saved by an influx of boats going between mainland Scotland and the Outer Hebrides, who used Portree's pier as a rest point; the town began exporting fish at this time, which contributed to the local economy. The town had the last manual telephone exchange in the UK, which closed in 1976. Like most of the British Isles, Portree has an oceanic climate; the nearest weather station to Portree is located at Prabost 5 1⁄2 miles north-west of Portree. Portree shale is a geologic association in the vicinity of Portree, the existence of, linked with potential petroleum occurrences of commercial importance.'The Portree Kid' was an amusing ballad sung by the Corries.
Portree is the home of a fictional professional Quidditch team in the Harry Potter universe called the'Pride of Portree'. The film Made of Honor takes place in Portree. A sweeping shot of the town's main street is shown
Kingdom of the Isles
The Kingdom of the Isles comprised the Hebrides, the islands of the Firth of Clyde and the Isle of Man from the 9th to the 13th centuries AD. The islands were known to the Norse as the Suðreyjar, or "Southern Isles" as distinct from the Norðreyjar or Northern Isles of Orkney and Shetland. In Scottish Gaelic, the kingdom is known as Rìoghachd nan Eilean; the historical record is incomplete, the kingdom was not a continuous entity throughout the entire period. The islands concerned are sometimes referred to as the Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, although only some of the rulers claimed that title. At times the rulers were independent of external control, although for much of the period they had overlords in Norway, England, Scotland or Orkney. At times there appear to have been competing claims for all or parts of the territory; the islands involved have a total land area of over 8,300 square kilometres and extend for more than 500 kilometres from north to south. Viking influence in the area commenced in the late 8th century, whilst there is no doubt that the Uí Ímair dynasty played a prominent role in this early period, the records for the dates and details of the rulers are speculative until the mid-10th century.
Hostility between the Kings of the Isles and the rulers of Ireland, intervention by the crown of Norway were recurring themes. The Laxdaela Saga contains mention of several persons who are said to have come to Iceland from Sodor, which appears to be these Suðreyjar, before or around the middle of the 10th century. An invasion by Magnus Barefoot in the late 11th century resulted in a brief period of direct Norwegian rule over the kingdom, but soon the descendants of Godred Crovan re-asserted a further period of independent overlordship; this came to an end with the emergence of Somerled, on whose death in 1164 the kingdom was split in two. Just over a century the islands became part of the Kingdom of Scotland, following the 1266 Treaty of Perth; the principal islands under consideration are as follows: The Isle of Man, located in the Irish Sea equidistant from modern England, Northern Ireland and Wales. The islands of the Firth of Clyde some 140 kilometres to the north, the largest of which are Bute and Arran.
The southern Inner Hebrides to the west and north of the Kintyre peninsula, including Islay, Jura and Iona. The Inner Hebrides to the north of Ardnamurchan, made up of the Small Isles, Skye and their outliers; the Outer Hebrides, aka the "Long Island" to the west, separated from the northern Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch. These islands referred to as the Sudreys, have a total land area of 8,374 square kilometres of which: the Isle of Man is 572 square kilometres, 7% of the total the Islands of the Clyde 574 square kilometres, 7% of the total the Inner Hebrides 4,158 square kilometres, 50% of the total and the Outer Hebrides 3,070 square kilometres, 36% of the total. Anglesey in modern Wales may have been part of the insular Viking world from an early stage. Orkney is some 180 kilometres east-northeast of the Outer Hebrides, Shetland is a further 80 kilometres further northeast and Norway some 300 kilometres due east of Shetland; the total distance from the southern tip of the Isle of Man to the Butt of Lewis, the northern extremity of the Outer Hebrides, is 515 kilometres.
The presence of the monastery on Iona led to this part of Scotland being well documented from the mid-6th to the mid-9th centuries. However, from 849 on, when Columba's relics were removed in the face of Viking incursions, written evidence from local sources all but vanishes for three hundred years; the sources for information about the Hebrides and indeed much of northern Scotland from the 8th to the 11th century are thus exclusively Irish, English or Norse. The main Norse text is the Orkneyinga Saga, which should be treated with care as it was based on oral traditions and not written down by an Icelandic scribe until the early 13th century; the English and Irish sources are more contemporary, but may have "led to a southern bias in the story" as much of the Hebridean archipelago became Norse-speaking during the period under consideration. The archaeological record for this period is scant in comparison to the numerous Neolithic and Iron Age finds in the area. Scholarly interpretations of the period "have led to divergent reconstructions of Viking Age Scotland" and Barrett has identified four competing theories, none of which he regards as proven.
It is clear that the word "king", as used by and of the rulers of Norwegian descent in the isles, was not intended to convey sovereign rule. This is different from the way, it should be borne in mind that different kings may have ruled over different areas and that few of them can be seen as exerting any kind of close control over this "far-flung sea kingdom". Precise dates are sometimes a matter of debate amongst historians. Prior to the Viking incursions the southern Hebrides formed part of the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata. North of Dál Riata, the Inner and Outer Hebrides were nominally under Pictish control although the historical record is sparse. According to Ó Corráin "when and how the Vikings conquered and occupied the Isles is unknown unknowable", although from 793 onwards repeated raids by Vikings on the British Isles are recorded. "All the islands of Britain" were devastated in 794 with Iona being sacked in 802 and 806
Chronicles of Mann
The Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles or Manx Chronicle is a medieval Latin manuscript relating the early history of the Isle of Man. The main part of the manuscript is believed to have been composed and written in 1261 or 1262 at Rushen Abbey on the island, shortly after the time of the Cistercian abbey's dedication in 1257, the final event retold by the original scribe; the manuscript is written in ink on vellum, with pages 15 cm by 20 cm. The Chronicles are a look back, year-by-year from 1016, over the significant events in Manx history of that time. Written in Latin, it records the island's role as the centre of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles, the influence of its kings and religious leaders, as well as the role of Rushen Abbey itself –, founded at the invitation of Olaf I Godredsson, one of the Norse kings; the original scribe wrote a list of popes which ends with Pope Urban IV. It is probable. Entries for the earlier years are notably shorter than those towards the end of the original section of the manuscript, no doubt due to events having occurred within living memory of the time of writing, thus more detail being available.
Many of the dates of the earlier annals are put around 15 years earlier than the actual event, none of these entries before 1047 are directly related to the Isle of Man, having been copied from a source shared with the Chronicle of Melrose. Several further notes were added by the abbey's Cistercian monks, taking the Chronicles up to 1316; the manuscript contains a copy of Bonizo of Sutri's Cronica Romanorum pontificum and a territorial survey. A record of the bishops of the Western Isles to John Donkan is appended to the Chronicles. After the abbey was dissolved in 1540 the manuscript is thought to have passed through a number of private hands until being presented by Roger Dodsworth to Sir Robert Cotton in 1620/1. Cotton's collection of medieval and early modern manuscripts was one of the founding collections of the British Museum and is now cared for by the British Library in London. There have been campaigns to move the Chronicles permanently to the Isle of Man. In 2014 it was confirmed that the Celtic League will be demanding the return of the Chronicles to the Isle of Man.
1016–1030: King Canute's marriage to Emma, the birth of their son Harthacanute, Canute's journeys to Denmark and Norway. 1031–1066: Foundation of Bury St. Edmunds Abbey, the death of Canute. Death of King Edward the Confessor. 1066–1079: Battle of Stamford Bridge, William the Conqueror's victory at the Battle of Hastings. Conquest of the Isle of Man by Godred Crovan. 1079–1098: Foundation of the Cistercian order at Cîteaux in France. 1102–1152: Commencement of reign of King Olaf. Foundations of Savigny Abbey, Furness Abbey, Rievaulx Abbey, Calder Abbey, Melrose Abbey, Holme Cultram Abbey. Grant of land at Rushen to Furness Abbey by King Olaf. 1165–1187: Murder of Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Capture of Jerusalem by Saladin. Visit by a papal legate to the Isle of Man. Marriage of King Godred, conducted by the Abbot of Rievaulx. 1228–1237: Death of King Olaf on St Patrick's Isle, burial at Rushen Abbey. 1250–1256: Start of reign of King Magnus 1256–1274: Completion of the Abbey Church of St Mary's at Rushen, dedication by Richard, Bishop of Sodor and Man.
List of Bishops: A list of the Bishops of the Diocese of Sodor and Man until Simon Orcadensis, who had died in 1248. The bishop at the time of the writing of the manuscript, was not included. Broderick, G.. The Chronicles of the Kings of Mann and the Isles. 2nd ed. Douglas, 1995. Munch, P. A. and Rev. Alexander Goss. Chronica regnum Manniae et insularum; the Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys. 2 vols. Manx Society 22-3. Douglas, 1874. Available in html A full digital facsimile of the manuscript is available on the British Library's Digitised Manuscripts website. Additional photographs are available on the British Library's Online Gallery; the Years 1016–1030 The Years 1031–1066 The Years 1066–1079 The Years 1079–1098 The Years 1102–1152 The Years 1165–1187 The Years 1228–1237 The Years 1250–1256 The Years 1256–1274 The Bishops of the Church of Sodor Text of the Chronicle of Mann – Manx Society.
Harris, Outer Hebrides
Harris is the southern and more mountainous part of Lewis and Harris, the largest island in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Although not an island itself, Harris is referred to as the Isle of Harris, the former postal county and the current post town for Royal Mail postcodes starting HS3 or HS5. St Kilda, an uninhabited small archipelago, located 40 miles west-northwest of North Uist is considered part of the civil parish of Harris; the same is true for the remote uninhabited rock islet Rockall, 230 miles west of North Uist. According to the 2011 Census, there are 1,212 Gaelic speakers in Harris. Harris is most to be the island referred to as Adru on Ptolemy's map of the British Isles. In Old Norse, a Hérað was a type of administrative district, the name may derive from that. An alternative origin is the Norse Hærri, meaning "higher" - a reference to the high hills in comparison with the much flatter Lewis lying to the north. Most of the place names on Harris are Gaelicized Old Norse; the Gaelic name "Na Hearadh" was an earlier term for the Rinns of Islay.
Harris divides into northern and southern parts which are separated by West and East Loch Tarbert. These halves are joined by a narrow isthmus at the main settlement of Tarbert; the bedrock of Harris is Lewisian gneisses, which were laid down in the Precambrian period, interspersed with igneous intrusions. One of these intrusions forms the summit plateau of the mountain Roinebhal; the rock here is anorthosite, is similar in composition to rocks found in the mountains of the Moon. Harris is a part of historic Inverness-shire, was administered as such under older administrative divisions. In the 2001 census, Harris had a resident population of 1,916, it is part of the South Lewis and North Uist National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland. North Harris, adjoining Lewis, contains Clisham, the highest mountain in the Outer Hebrides at 799 metres; the area is sparsely populated. Beyond Tarbert, the furthest settlement is Hushinish on the west coast. A bridge from the east coast links Harris to the island of Scalpay.
In March 2003 the 25,300-hectare North Harris Estate was purchased by the North Harris Trust, a development trust, on behalf of the local community. In April 2006 the Trust hosted the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company conference "Community Energy: Leading from the Edge" in Tarbert. In early 2008 the Trust received planning consent for three 86 metre wind turbines to be located at Monan. In 2008 Mike Russell, the Scottish environment minister announced that the North Harris Trust had begun canvassing local opinion about a proposal to create Scotland's third national park in the area; the southern part of Harris is less mountainous, with numerous unspoilt, white sandy beaches on the west coast. Its main settlements are Rodel, known for its medieval kirk of St. Clement, the most elaborate surviving medieval church in the Hebrides after Iona Abbey, Leverburgh. A ferry sails from the latter to Berneray, an island off the coast of North Uist, to which it is joined by a causeway; the east coast of south Harris is known as the Bays.
The best known section called the "Golden Road" as it cost so much money to build, when it was built in 1897. It runs from Miavaig via Drinishader, Grosebay and Cluer to Stockinish. From Stockinish the road is the Bays and meanders through the coastal townships of Lickisto, Manish, Ardvay and Lingerbay; the beaches of Luskentyre and Scarista are amongst the most spectacular. From the former the island of Taransay, where the BBC Television series Castaway 2000 was recorded, is seen most from Harris. At Scarista the beach is a venue for kite buggying. Nearby the Harris Golf Club offers well kept greens and views of the hills, but there is no play on Sundays. Scarista is the birthplace of the author Finlay J. MacDonald, who wrote about growing up on Harris in the 1930s, his books: Crowdie and Cream and White and The Corncrake and the Lysander paint a vivid and humorous picture of Hebridean life. Tarbert is the main port and main settlement of Harris, with a population of about 550; the name Tarbert comes from the Norse tairbeart meaning "portage" or "isthmus".
It is located on an isthmus between West Loch Tarbert. The village has a ferry terminal, local tourist information and some small shops, including a Harris Tweed shop overlooking the main access road to the CalMac ferry terminal and a general grocery store; the island of Scalpay is located at the mouth of East Loch Tarbert. It was known for its fishing industry, though little of that remains; the island was linked to Harris when the Scalpay Bridge was opened in 1997, connecting Scalpay to the settlement of Kyles on Harris. Media attention has been drawn to angling on Harris, Tarbert in particular. Local fishermen have been targeting large Common Skate in the area and have had prolific catches from West Loch Tarbert, in autumn and winter. There is an application for the Scottish shore record of 183 pounds although a fish estimated at 204 pounds was landed; these catches have attracted the attention of the local and national press and sea angling's leading magazines. In common with many parts of the Highlands and Islands, Harris has numerous single-track roa
Guðrøðr Rǫgnvaldsson known as Guðrøðr Dond, was a thirteenth-century ruler of the Kingdom of the Isles. He was a member of the Crovan dynasty, a son of Rǫgnvaldr Guðrøðarson, King of the Isles, the eldest son of Guðrøðr Óláfsson, King of Dublin and the Isles. Although the latter may have intended for his younger son, Óláfr, to succeed to the kingship, the Islesmen instead settled upon Rǫgnvaldr, who went on to rule the Kingdom of the Isles for forty years; the bitterly disputed royal succession divided the Crovan dynasty for three generations, played a central role in Guðrøðr's recorded life. Guðrøðr's mother was Rǫgnvaldr's wife. Whilst the name of this woman is unknown, she appears to have been a member of the Clann Somhairle kindred. Although Rǫgnvaldr was able to orchestrate a marriage between Óláfr and her sister, Óláfr was able to oversee the nullification this alliance and proceeded to marry the daughter of a leading Scottish magnate. In consequence, Guðrøðr's mother ordered her son to attack Óláfr.
Although Guðrøðr is recorded to have ravaged Óláfr's lands on Lewis and Harris, the latter was able to escape to the protection of his father-in-law on the Scottish mainland. In about 1223, Óláfr, his adherent Páll Bálkason, invaded Skye, defeated Guðrøðr, blinded and castrated him. Guðrøðr's maiming marks a turning point in the feud between Óláfr. With the escalation of hostilities, Rǫgnvaldr bound himself to Lord of Galloway. Although Rǫgnvaldr was aided by Alan's military might, Óláfr gained the upper-hand, Rǫgnvaldr was slain in 1229. Afterwards and his Clann Somhairle allies continued to pressure Óláfr, forcing him from the Isles to Norway where news of the continual warfare had reached Hákon Hákonarson, King of Norway; as a result, Hákon elevated an apparent Clann Somhairle dynast, a certain Óspakr, as King of the Isles, outfitted him with a fleet to secure control of the Isles. Guðrøðr seems to have been one of Óspakr's principal supporters, accompanied him in the ensuing campaign that reached the Isles in 1230.
Óspakr seems to succumbed to injuries suffered in the midst of the operation after which command fell to Óláfr. Although the latter proceeded to divert the fleet to Mann where he was reinstalled as king, Guðrøðr was recognised as king of the Hebridean portion of the realm; the following year, after the Norwegians vacated the Isles, both Guðrøðr and Páll are reported to have been killed. Although Óláfr consolidated control of the entirety of the Crovan dynasty's realm, ruling it for the rest of his life, Guðrøðr's son, continued the dynastic feud with Óláfr's successors, temporarily held the kingship at the midpoint of the century. Guðrøðr was a son of Rǫgnvaldr Guðrøðarson, King of the Isles, a member of the Crovan dynasty. Guðrøðr's mother was Rǫgnvaldr's wife, a woman, styled Queen of the Isles by the thirteenth- to fourteenth-century Chronicle of Mann. Although her parentage is unknown, the chronicle describes her father as a nobleman from Kintyre, which suggests that he was a member of Clann Somhairle.
Rǫgnvaldr was a son of King of Dublin and the Isles. Other children of this ruler were Affrica, Ívarr, Óláfr. Whilst Óláfr's mother was Fionnghuala Nic Lochlainn, an Irishwoman whose marriage to Guðrøðr Óláfsson was formalised in 1176/1177, Rǫgnvaldr's mother appears to have been another Irishwoman named Sadb; when Guðrøðr Óláfsson died in 1187, the chronicle reports that he left instructions for Óláfr to succeed to the kingship since the latter had been born "in lawful wedlock". Whether this is an accurate record of events is uncertain, as the Islesmen are stated to have chosen Rǫgnvaldr to rule instead, because unlike Óláfr, only a child at the time, Rǫgnvaldr was a hardy young man capable to reign as king; the fact that Rǫgnvaldr and Óláfr had different mothers may well explain the intense conflict between the two men in the years that followed. This continuing kin-strife is one of the main themes of Rǫgnvaldr's long reign. At some point after assuming control of the kingdom, the chronicle reports that Rǫgnvaldr gave Óláfr possession of a certain island called "Lodhus".
Whilst the name of this island appears to refer to Lewis—the northerly half of the Outer Hebridean island of Lewis and Harris—the chronicle's text seems to instead refer to Harris—the southerly half. In any case, the chronicle further relates that Óláfr confronted Rǫgnvaldr for a larger share of the realm, after which Rǫgnvaldr had him seized and sent to William I, King of Scotland, who kept him imprisoned for seven years until about the time of the latter's death in 1214. Since William died in December 1214, Óláfr's incarceration appears to have spanned between about 1207 or 1208 and 1214 or early 1215. Upon Óláfr's release, the chronicle reveals that the half-brothers met on Mann, after which Óláfr set off on a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. In 1210, Rǫgnvaldr appears to have found himself the target of renewed Norwegian hegemony in the Isles; the Icelandic annals reveal that a military expedition from Norway to the Isles was in preparation in 1209. The following year, the same source makes note of "warfare" in the Isles, specifies that the holy island of Iona was pillaged.
These reports are corroborated by Bǫglunga sǫgur, a thirteenth-century saga-collection that survives in two versions. Both versions reveal that a fleet of Norwegians plundered in the Isles, the shorter version notes how men of the Birkibeinar and the Baglar—two competing sides of the Norwegian civil war—decided to recoup their financial losses with a twelve-ship raiding expedition into the Isles; the longer version states that "Ragnwald" and
Clan Macdonald of Sleat
Clan Macdonald of Sleat, sometimes known as Clan Donald North and in Gaelic Clann Ùisdein, is a Scottish clan and a branch of Clan Donald — one of the largest Scottish clans. The founder of the Macdonalds of Sleat was Ùisdean, or Hugh, a 6th great-grandson of Somerled, a 12th-century Lord of the Isles; the clan is known in Gaelic as Clann Ùisdein, its chief's Gaelic designation is Mac Ùisdein, in reference to the clan's founder. Both the clan and its clan chief are recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the heraldic authority in Scotland; the Macdonalds of Sleat participated in several feuds with neighbouring clans, most notably the Macleods of Harris & Dunvegan and the Macleans of Duart. The clan suffered from infighting in the early 16th century, as the leading members of the clan fought and murdered each other; the clan seems to have grudgingly supported the Royalist cause in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms, suffered grievously in military defeats against Parliamentarian forces. The clan supported the Jacobite cause in the 1715 rebellion, yet refused to come out for Bonnie Prince Charlie and his father a generation in 1745.
In the early 18th century, the clan's chief was involved in a plan to sell tenants into slavery in the American Colonies. By the late 18th century, the chiefs had alienated themselves from the common clansfolk, when they seated themselves in northern England and visited the old clan lands; the 18th and 19th centuries witnessed the suffering of the common clansfolk, as many were cleared off their lands at the hands of their absentee landlords. Today members and descendants of the clan live all over the world. Much of the history of the Macdonalds of Sleat comes from traditional family histories, it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell fact from fiction; the clan histories relevant to the Macdonalds of Sleat were composed by the shenachies MacVuirich — the Clanranald shenachie. Contemporary records that shed light upon the early history of the clan include charters and confirmations of charters granted by kings, various bonds of manrent entered with other landlords and clan chiefs; the Macdonalds of Sleat are a branch of Clan Donald — one of the largest Scottish clans.
The eponymous ancestor of Clan Donald is son of Raghnall, son of Somhairle. Traditional Clan Donald genealogies, created in the Middle Ages, give the clan a descent from various legendary Irish figures. Modern historians, distrust these traditional genealogies, consider Somhairle, son of Gille Brighde to be earliest ancestor for whom there is secure historical evidence. Somhairle, was a 12th-century leader, styled "king of the isles" and "king of Argyll"; the Macdonalds of Sleat descend from Aonghas Mór. Angus Óg's son, was the first Lord of the Isles. Eoin I's first marriage was to Áine, heiress of Clann Ruaidhrí. Eoin I divorced Áine and married Margaret, daughter of Robert II; the children from Eoin I's first marriage were passed over in the main succession of the chiefship of Clan Donald and Macdonald lords of the isles, in favour of those from his second marriage. Eoin I was succeeded by Domhnall of Islay; the Macdonalds of Sleat descend from Ùisdean, bastard son of Alasdair of Islay and the daughter of Ó Beólláin, Abbot of Applecross.
From Ùisdean, the Macdonalds of Sleat are known in Gaelic as Clann Ùisdein. The first record of Ùisdean occur in the traditional histories of the shenachie MacVurich and Hugh Macdonald. According to the Sleat shenachie, Ùisdean, along with several young gentlemen from the Western Isles went on a raiding expedition to Orkney; the tradition runs that the Western Islesmen were victorious in their conflict with the Northern Islesmen, that the Earl of Orkney was slain. Ùisdean is said to have ravaged Orkney, carried off much loot. According to Angus and Archibald Macdonald, Ùisdean's expedition took place around 1460, when he did not appear to hold title to any of the lands his family who come to hold. In fact, in the year 1463, Eoin II, Lord of the Isles granted Ùisdean's older brother, the 28 merklands of Sleat, in addition to extensive lands in west Ross given to him in the previous year. In 1469, Ùisdean received from the Earl of Ross the 30 merklands of Skeirhough in South Uist; the earliest Clann Ùisdein seat connected with the barony of Sleat was Dunscaith Castle, off the Sound of Sleat.
Ùisdean played not a small part in securing the surrender of the Earl of Ross, for which he was promised by the king 20 pounds worth of land, in 1476. The lordship of the isles was forfeited in 1493, Ùisdean obtained a royal confirmation for his lands granted to him by the Earl of Ross in 1469. Ùisdean died in 1498, was buried at Sand, in North Uist. During his life, Ùisdean had several known children by other women; some of Ùisdean's sons would go on to play a large part in the history of the clan in the early 16th century. His eldest son, would go on to succeed him. Other notable sons included: Dòmhnall Gallach, son of the daughter of a prominent member of Clan Gunn. Another