Prehistory[ edit ] A Mesolithic hunter-gatherer site dating to the 7th millennium BC at An Corran in Staffin is one of the oldest archaeological sites in Scotland. Its occupation is probably linked to that of the rock shelter at Sand, Applecross , on the mainland coast of Wester Ross where tools made of a mudstone from An Corran have been found. Surveys of the area between the two shores of the Inner Sound and Sound of Raasay have revealed 33 sites with potentially Mesolithic deposits.
There is a 2nd or 3rd millennium BC chambered cairn , an Iron Age promontory fort and the remains of another prehistoric settlement dating from the Bronze Age nearby. Loch na h-Airde on the peninsula is linked to the sea by an artificial "Viking" canal that may date from the later period of Norse settlement.
However, apart from placenames, little remains of their presence on Skye in the written or archaeological record. Apart from the name "Skye" itself, all pre-Norse placenames seem to have been obliterated by the Scandinavian settlers. Following the disintegration of the Lordship of the Isles , the Mackinnons also emerged as an independent clan, whose substantial landholdings in Skye were centred on Strathaird. Although she was born on South Uist her story is strongly associated with their escape via Skye and she is buried at Kilmuir in Trotternish.
Boswell wrote, "To see Dr Samuel Johnson, the great champion of the English Tories, salute Miss Flora MacDonald in the isle of Sky, [ sic ] was a striking sight; for though somewhat congenial in their notions, it was very improbable they should meet here".
Dunvegan Castle , looking towards MacLeod's Tables I never was in any house of the islands, where I did not find books in more languages than one, if I staid long enough to want them, except one from which the family was removed.
Literature is not neglected by the higher rank of the Hebrideans. It need not, I suppose, be mentioned, that in countries so little frequented as the islands, there are no houses where travellers are entertained for money. He that wanders about these wilds, either procures recommendations to those whose habitations lie near his way, or, when night and weariness come upon him, takes the chance of general hospitality. If he finds only a cottage he can expect little more than shelter; for the cottagers have little more for themselves but if his good fortune brings him to the residence of a gentleman, he will be glad of a storm to prolong his stay.
There is, however, one inn by the sea-side at Sconsor, in Sky, where the post-office is kept. Dunvegan Castle has been the seat of Clan MacLeod since the 13th century. It contains the Fairy Flag and is reputed to have been inhabited by a single family for longer than any other house in Scotland. Thirty thousand people were evicted between and alone, many of them forced to emigrate to the New World. Every crofter under the age of seventy was removed and placed on board the Midlothian on threat of imprisonment, with those over that age being sent to the poorhouse.
The incident involved numerous crofters and about 50 police officers. This event was instrumental in the creation of the Napier Commission , which reported in on the situation in the Highlands. Disturbances continued until the passing of the Crofters' Act and on one occasion marines were deployed on Skye to maintain order.