Mountains are wild places; indisputable elements of nature, for all to enjoy and for no one to own. Right? The 29th McLeod chief thought otherwise. When he found himself strapped for cash and with the clan’s seat, Dunvegan Castle*, eternally in disrepair, he decided to sell the mountains of Skye. Sell the soul of the island to the highest bidder! People laughed at his foolishness, because they knew the Cuillin weren’t his to sell. But John McLeod produced some deed documents from 1611 and decided he wanted to pocket £10 million pounds for them. Decried by islanders, environmentalists and MSPs, McLeod said he didn’t understand the fuss; it wasn’t as if he was going off to a tropical island, sipping cocktails. He would use the money wisely to conserve Dunvegan. He told the newspapers the castle was as leaky as a sieve and that guests needed umbrellas at the dining table.
Lachlan Cattanach was the eleventh Chief of the MacLeans. He was a fiery man, big in built and big in ego. His clan was his identity and he wanted to make it stronger than all other ten chiefs of his family before him. When he looked out from his castle on the outcrop across the sound, he imagined what it would be like to own all the sea and all the land he could see or even imagine. After many a sleepless night, and solely to make his MacLean clan even more dominant, it was arranged that he would marry a Campbell, a daughter of the sworn enemy!
If you stand on the pier, the row of radiant houses in your back, you look out across Tobermory Bay. It faces the sun from the south and if you’re lucky you may spot otters, seals, porpoises and dolphins. There are persistent rumours that a Spanish galleon is at the bottom of the bay, but no treasure was ever found. However, the way the water shimmers white gold, you can very well imagine there is something precious beckoning from the seabed.