5 favorite things about Scotland’s Island of Skye, continued

the Mortuary Chapel Nicolson’s Aisle, where tradition has it 28 clan chiefs are buried. This would be similar to a burial ground of 28 of our presidents! Talk about reverent ground.

It is understood St. Columba preached from a rock on the island in the 6th century as he began his mission to convert the Picts to Christianity.

The serene setting, enclosed by water, allows you to escape 21st century reality and capture a rare moment of timeless tranquility and sacred solitude.

3. The Highland Games

If you are into handsome, athletic men proudly displaying their skills, look no further than this Scottish highlight reel.

Not only is it full of strength and endurance, but it is also rich in tradition. Hammer throwing, archery, bagpipe performances, dancing and tug of war are all a part of this spirited tribute to the fittest of the fit.  

At one point these games were enacted to choose the finest warriors for battle.

Even to this day, the game’s “warriors” still wear their clan’s tartan kilt (a specific plaid pattern).

This sparked my intrigue not only in the handsome men wearing the kilts, but if my last name (McNally) had a special tartan. And was I in luck! Turns out the Gaelic ancestors of the McNally’s settled the highlands crossing over from Northern Ireland. The name’s spelling changed over the years, but McNally became part of the McClean clan.

You might want to Google your family name to see if it is related to one of the highland clans and wear a kilt too! I know it gave me a special reason to cheer a bit louder. My day at the Skye Highland Games will no doubt live long in my memory.

4. Saucy Mary’s

Being next to a base, my military friends gave me the inside scoop on this famous dive pub in Skye.

On a Friday night Saucy Mary’s was packed with not only military but a plethora of tourists, live music and lots of Talisker whiskey flowing.   

The legend of the bar’s namesake states that the village, which houses the bar, was originally built for a Norwegian princess known as “Saucy Mary” who resided in a castle on the island called Castle Moil. 

Saucy Mary would charge a toll to any boat using the narrow channel by hanging a chain from the castle to the mainland to prevent unpaid crossings.

Her remains are said to be buried on the top of a large mountain to the rear of the castle ruins.  

Talk about a good ghost story!

5.  The Cuillin Mountains

Legend has it that these mountains are named after a female Celtic warrior. 

Like the woman they were named after, these red and black peaks command your attention and readily stand out for photo opportunities, hikes and inspiration for many modern day movies, novels and artwork.   

Stunt bikers flock to the trails, which offer some of the toughest terrain with unsurpassed backdrops.

Some believe the mountain range to be the most challenging and rugged UK mountaineering experience–especially in winter conditions. 

The summer months hold satisfying expedition potential as well. Many who climb its peaks describe the range as being another planet in itself. From “up there” it looks like an entirely separate world. 

I hope you can make it to one of the world’s favorite islands. It is certainly one of mine!

--Barbara McNally

Barbara McNally is the author of Unbridled, a memoir chronicling her journey to independent and joyous living. A mother and philanthropist living in San Diego, California, Barbara is also the founder of Mother Lover Fighter Sage, a foundation dedicated to providing women with opportunities for growth and self-discovery. To learn more, visit her website at: UnbridledFreedom.com. You can follow Barbara at @liveunbridled or at facebook.com/liveunbridled.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our review of author Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books HERE


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