Sunday, November 30, 2014

Day 16 - Leave the Isle of Skye to Fort William

We leave the Dunollie Hotel,

with mixed emotions, we are heading off for a new adventure
, yet leaving our beloved Isle of Skye.

One stop required prior to driving over the bridge that separates Skye for the Mainland.

We drive a short 20 minutes on the Strathaird Peninsula, guarded by the infamous sheep, ready to attack at any moment,

to find Garth Duncan

and see his knives, swords and jewel creations.

Strathaird is a peninsula on the island of Skye, Scotland, situated between Loch Slapin and Loch Scavaig on the south coast.

It is the smallest and least populous of Skye's main peninsulas, containing only the hamlets of Elgol, Kirkibost (where we find Duncan), Kilmarie, Drinan and Glasnakille. The ruins of the Iron Age hill fort Dun Ringill are east of Kirkibost on the shores of Loch Slapin.

The Strathaird peninsula was historically a heartland of Clan Mackinnon and tradition holds that Dun Ringill was once the seat of the clan. The Strathaird Estate was bought by Ian Anderson - a musician in Jethro Tull - in 1978. Anderson started a salmon farming business at Strathaird, which expanded throughout Scotland. The business was reportedly worth over £10 million by the mid 1990s, though much of it has now been sold off.

Garth Duncan is a Master Jeweler and Owner of Duncan House: a Gallery and Workshop ( He once said, ”The objects that our ancestors created and left behind become an inspiration for me. With no written history, the artefacts must speak for them. It’s a direct physical connection to our past, better than words, it’s human hands that created, struggled, lived, and Loved. . I do my very best to honour their memory in every piece I make.“

Back on the highway we leave Skye via the Bridge.

The Skye Bridge (Scottish Gaelic: Drochaid an Eilein Sgitheanaich) is a road bridge over Loch Alsh, Scotland, connecting the Isle of Skye to the island of Eilean Bàn. The name is also used for the whole Skye Crossing, which further connects Eilean Bàn to the mainland across the Carrich Viaduct.

Leaving Skye, we soon reach Eilean Donan Castle and a coffee, etc...break.

Eilean Donan (Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Donnain) is a small tidal island where three lochs meet, Loch Duich, Loch Long and Loch Alsh; since the castle's restoration in the early 20th Century, a footbridge has connected the island to the mainland. A picturesque castle that lies about 1 kilometre from the village of Dornie.

Eilean Donan, which means simply "island of Donnán", is named after Donnán of Eigg. It is possible that an early Christian monastic cell was founded on the island in the 6th or 7th century, dedicated to Donnán of Eigg, an Irish saint who was martyred on Eigg in April 617. No remains of any Christian buildings survive, though fragments of vitrified stone, subjected to very high temperatures, have been discovered indicating the presence of an Iron Age or early medieval fortification.

The castle was founded in the thirteenth century, and became a stronghold of the Clan Mackenzie and their allies the Clan Macrae. In the early eighteenth century the Mackenzies' involvement in the Jacobite rebellions led in 1719 to the castle's destruction by government ships. Lieutenant-Colonel John Macrae-Gilstrap's twentieth-century reconstruction of the ruins produced the present buildings.

Now it's down the highway to Fort William and overnight at the Alexandra Hotel. On the 2 hour drive from Eilean Donan Castle we drive along side the following Lochs; Loch Duich, Loch Cluanie, Loch Loyne, Loch Garry and finally Loch Lochy
(translation Lake Lakey), I think they were bored when they came to naming this lake.

We enjoy a wonderful meal in the Hotel, try a dram or two and off to bed.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Day 15 - Depart Dunvegan and Look for an Amazon

We pack up and prepare to depart the Laundry Cottage and Dunvegan Castle. We are headed to find the amazon who taught men how to fight.

We stop in for a final breakfast at the Dunvegan Bakery and a visit with the owner, John MacLellan. This was one of our favourite spots on the entire trip.

We stop in again at Drynoch to see if we can get any more information on the home of James F. MacLeod, no luck. We head down the road a wee bit to Carbost.

Carbost (Scottish Gaelic: Carabost) is a village on the south shore of Loch Harport on the Isle of Skye in the Highlands of Scotland and is in the council area of Highland. Carbost becomes a tourist hub in summer months due to the presence of the Talisker Distillery which is also one of the main employers in village along with the local pub, The Old Inn and the award winning local emporium.

Talisker distillery is an Island single malt Scotch whisky distillery based in Carbost, Scotland—the only distillery on the Isle of Skye. The distillery is operated by United Distillers and Vintners for Diageo, and is marketed as part of their Classic Malts series. The brand is sold as a premium whisky.

The distillery was founded in 1830 by Hugh and Kenneth MacAskill, and built in 1831 at Carbost
after a number of false starts on other sites when they acquired the lease of Talisker House from the MacLeod of MacLeod. The distillery was rebuilt 1880 - 87 and extended in 1900. When a new lease for the distillery was negotiated with the chief of Clan MacLeod in 1892 the annual payment was to be £23.12s and a ten-gallon cask of best-quality Talisker. It was rebuilt in 1960 after a stillhouse fire completely destroyed the distillery. The distillery operates five stills; two wash stills and three spirit stills. All the stills use worm tubs (condensing coils) rather than a modern condenser, which are believed to give the whisky a "fuller" flavour (itself an indication of higher sugar content).

During this early period, the whisky was produced using a triple distilling method, but changed to the more conventional double distilling in 1928. Talisker was acquired by Distillers Company in 1925 and is now part of Diageo. After the 1960 fire, five exact replicas of the original stills were constructed to preserve the original Talisker flavour. In 1972 the stills were converted to steam heating and the maltings floor was demolished. Talisker’s water comes from springs directly above the distillery via a network of pipes and wells.

The malted barley used in production comes from Muir of Ord. Talisker has an unusual feature—swan neck lye pipes.

A loop in the pipes takes the vapour from the stills to the worm tubs so some of the alcohol already condenses before it reaches the cooler. It then runs back in to the stills and is distilled again. Talisker now has an annual output of three and a half million litres of spirit.

Talisker was the favourite whisky of writers Robert Louis Stevenson and HV Morton. In his poem "The Scotsman's Return From Abroad", Stevenson mentioned "The king o' drinks, as I conceive it, Talisker, Islay, or Glenlivet."

We leave Carbost and head off to Broadford and some stops along the way. The next road we drive through the village of Ord, heading for Dunscaith Castle.

Dunscaith Castle also known as Dun Sgathaich Castle, Dun Scaith, and Tokavaig, is a ruined castle on the coast of the Isle of Skye, in the north-west of Scotland. It is located in the Parish of Sleat, in the Highland council area, and in the former county of Inverness-shire. Also called Fortress of Shadows, it is named after and was the home of the warrior maiden Sgathaich, or (more properly) Scáthach.

The castle is featured in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology as the place where Scáthach the Shadow, legendary Scottish warrior woman and martial arts teacher, trained the hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat.  The Irish name for the fort, Dun Scathiag, was named after her.

Scáthach, or Sgathaich,
is a figure in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. She is a legendary Scottish warrior woman andmartial arts teacher who trains the legendary Ulster hero Cú Chulainn in the arts of combat. Texts describe her homeland as Scotland (Alpae); she is especially associated with the Isle of Skye, where her residence Dún Scáith, or "Dun Sgathaich" (Fortress of Shadows), stands. She is called "the Shadow" and "Warrior Maid" and is the rival and sister of Aífe, both daughters of Árd-Greimne of Lethra.

Scáthach's instruction of the young hero Cú Chulainn notably appears in Tochmarc Emire (The Wooing of Emer), an early Irish foretale to the great epic Táin Bó Cúailnge. Here, Cú Chulainn is honour-bound to perform a number of tasks before he is found worthy to marry his beloved Emer, daughter of the chieftain Forgall Monach. The tale survives in two recensions: a short version written mainly in Old Irish and a later, expanded version of the Middle Irish period. In both recensions, Cú Chulainn is sent to Alpae, a term literally meaning "the Alps", but apparently used here to refer to Scotland (otherwise Albu in Irish). Cú Chulainn is sent there with Lóegaire and Conchobor, and in the later version also with Conall Cernach, to receive training from the warrior Domnall (whose hideous daughter falls in love with the hero and when refused, promises revenge). After some time, Domnall assigns them to the care of Scáthach for further training.

Cú Chulainn and his companion Ferdiad travel to Dún Scáith, where Scáthach teaches them feats of arms, and gives Cú Chulainn her deadly spear, the Gáe Bulg. Cú Chulainn begins an affair with Scáthach's daughter Uathach, but accidentally breaks her fingers. She screams, calling her lover Cochar Croibhe to the room. Despite Uathach's protests, he challenges Cú Chulainn to a duel, and Cú Chulainn dispatches him easily. To make it up to Uathach and Scáthach, Cú Chulainn assumes Cochar's duties, and becomes Uathach's lover. Scáthach eventually promises her daughter to him, without requiring the traditional bride price. Scáthach also grants Cú Chulainn the "friendship of her thighs" when his training is almost complete. When her rival, the warrior woman Aífe (Aoife is the modern Irish spelling), threatens her territory, Cú Chulainn defeats her in battle and forces her to make peace. Aífe also sleeps with Cú Chulainn, producing his son Connla, whom Cú Chulainn kills years later - realizing their relation too late.

The castle itself sits on an off-shore rock. The rock rises 40 feet above sea level and there is a gap of 20 feet between the rock and the mainland. The gap was once spanned by a walled bridge with arches 6 feet apart. This stone walled bridge then led onto a drawbridge, the pivot holes for which are still visible on the far side. Once on the other side of the drawbridge a door opened to a flight of stairs which was also sided by two walls. The flight of stairs led up to the castle.

Parts of the castle curtain wall still survive on the cliff edge but most of the inner buildings have gone. The curtain wall was about 5 ft thick. In the courtyard is a well and the remains of a stairway which once led up a tower.

Originally the castle belonged to the Clan MacDonald of Sleat, a branch of the Clan Donald or MacDonald. At some time in the 14th century it was taken from them by the Clan MacLeod and held briefly by the MacAskills, allies of the MacLeods but it was recaptured by the MacDonalds sometime in the 15th century.

In the 15th century the castle was again captured by King James I of Scotland when the Chief of the Clan Donald, Lord of the Isles was broken by King James I. The MacDonalds were allowed to keep possession of the castle. The MacDonalds abandoned the castle in the early 17th century.

Leaving the castle we toast

Scáthach the Shadow
before heading down the road to Broadford where we will stay the night.

Broadford (An t-Àth Leathann in Scottish Gaelic), together with nearby Harrapool, is the second-largest settlement on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, lying on the SW corner of Broadford Bay, on the A87 between Portree and the Skye Bridge. Overlooked by the eastern Cuillins, Broadford is in a beautiful tranquil area as well as having many services available.
Like many places in Skye, Broadford derives its name from Old Norse. To the Vikings this was Breiðafjorðr - the wide bay. The Gaelic name is of modern derivation and assumes that the "ford" element meant a river crossing.

West of Broadford in Glen Suardal, on the lower slopes of Beinn na Caillich, is Goir a' Bhlàir, 'the field of battle' (grid reference NG624234). The battle concerned was apparently a decisive action by the Gaelic Clan Mackinnon against the Vikings.

Broadford was a cattle market until 1812, when Telford built the road from Portree to Kyleakin. Veterans of the Napoleonic Wars settled during the first half of the 19th century. Writing in the middle of the 19th century, Alexander Smith said, "If Portree is the London of Skye, Broadford is its Manchester."

Legend holds that the recipe for the liqueur Drambuie was given by Bonnie Prince Charlie to Clan MacKinnon who then passed it onto James Ross late 19th century. Ross ran the Broadford Inn (now the Broadford Hotel), where he developed and improved the recipe, initially for his friends and then later to patrons. Ross then began to sell it further afield and the name was registered as a trademark in 1893.

In Broadford we stayed at the Dunollie Hotel.

We are told stories of ghosts that live in the hotel and the sightings of these same ghosts by the husband of the reception.

We hear a story about a skirmish that happened on the Totternish Penninsula on the Isle of Skye. A skirmish between the MacLeods and the MacDonalds which led to the MacLeods defeat - the victors decapitated all the bodies and rolled the heads down a hill to the loch below. As the heads rolled, they could be heard chanting 'We almost won today!'

A mantra later adopted by Stephen Carter and the Alberta Party.

After supper we are entertained by a local Scottish accordion player and the bus tour, singing and dancing, a lovely end to the evening.

Day 14 - A Private Tour Of Dunvegan Castle - Ancestral Home of Clan MacLeod

The MacLeod Estate Office arranged a private tour of Dunvegan Castle (see Day 12 -  for 10:00 am.

The tour is directed by Janet Clarke, Executive Director of the Castle.

The current Laird of the Castle is Hugh MacLeod of MacLeod (born 1973). He is Chief of Clan MacLeod and is currently representing the Associated Clan MacLeod Societies in the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs. He is also recognized Chief of the Name and Arms of MacLeod, in Scotland and the United Kingdom, by the Court of the Lord Lyon.

On the death of his father, John MacLeod of MacLeod, Hugh inherited Dunvegan Castle, the ancient seat of the chiefs of Macleod, and the associated ancestral clan territories, which still extend to over 42,000 acres (17,000 ha) on the Isle of Skye.

Hugh MacLeod graduated with a BA (Hons) in Film and Modern History from the University of London and the Sorbonne in 1995.

After a brief period at Sotheby's and Freud Communications, Hugh began working in television as a researcher and was commissioned to direct/produce Champagne and Canvas, a documentary that was nominated for best video at the 1998 BBC British Short Film Festival. Since then, Hugh has worked as a freelance director, producer and writer in film and TV and now combines his media career with the management of the MacLeod Estate which he took on in 2008.

He divides his time between Dunvegan and London, where he lives with his wife Frederique and their son Vincent.

After the tour we drove to Drynoch to try and find the home where James F. MacLeod was born.

Lieutenant Colonel James Farquharson Macleod (1836 – 1894), was born in Drynoch, Isle of Skye, Scotland, was a militia officer, lawyer and a NWMP officer. He served as the second Commissioner of the North-West Mounted Police, from 1876, to 1880. Fort Macleod and Macleod Trail, a major Calgary, Alberta, thoroughfare, are named after him.

In 1887, Macleod was appointed to the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, which then included what is now known as Alberta and Saskatchewan. He held this position until his death in 1894. He is buried in Union Cemetery in Calgary.

Drynoch (Scottish Gaelic: An Droighneach) is a settlement on the south east tip of Loch Harport on the west coast of Skye in the Highlands of Scotland.
It is in the Scottish council area of Highland. The River Drynoch runs through the village, flowing down from Glen Drynochinto the loch.

We are not able to find the home so head back for supper and an invite to watch Scotland vs. Ireland at the Cellar Bar in Dunvegan.

Scotland wins 1 - 0 on a goal by Mahoney (74).

Wild cheering erupted, but not all viewers responded.

A very long night.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 13 - We put on the Kilts

We wake at the Laundry Cottage,

 have our breakfast and put on the kilts. After donning the kilts we attempt to once again Raise the Clans

and break into the Castle,

just kidding about breaking into the Castle.

Then it's off to Orbost and the Orbost Estate Farm to visit Rachel Jackson to deliver the stones
from Fort MacLeod and get an update on the Woodlands/Memorial Wall Project.
Together with her husband, Keith, they have organized the Clan MacLeod Woodlands Project, including the Memorial Wall, see the first blog on this trip (

Orbost is situated off the Dunvegan to Glendale road, Orbost is famous for its iconic house – Orbost House, a 14-bedroom mansion originally owned by the MacLeods. Nestling in the shadow of Healabhal Bheag (MacLeod’s Tables South) Orbost lies in the north-west of the Isle of Skye, approximately 4 miles from Dunvegan, seat of the Clan MacLeod.

'That's Orbost, sir, the house under the hill', said Malcolm, pointing with his whip...
('A Summer in Skye', Alexander Smith, 1865).

Orbost House, located in the North West of the Isle of Skye, Scotland, is one of the Island´s finest houses. and unlike some of Skye´s other big houses it has been able to withstand the harsh weather conditions as well as several changes in ownership.

The oldest parts of Orbost House were built in the mid 18th century and more parts were added in later times. It has a long and intriguing history and is mentioned in several books, most famously in Alexander Smith´s 'A Summer in Skye' and W. W. Tarn´s 'The Treasure of the Isle of Mist'. It was home to Otta Swire, famous author of the book 'Skye - The Island and its Legends'.

Orbost House and its magnificent surroundings are unique and have their very own magic. It holds a special place in many people´s hearts and is, as W. W. Tarn put it, 'A True House of Faery'.

The story of Orbost House is a rich tapestry, tightly interwoven with the history of the Isle of Skye and its people. Orbost House has been continuously inhabited since it was built around 1760, second only to Dunvegan Castle, built about 800 years ago.

Orbost used to belong to the estates of the Clan of Skye. However, unlike other tacks (a leased piece of land) on the Island, Orbost was never connected with any single MacLeod family.

The first available records of the Orbost Estate show that in 1683, one Ean Mc Wannane (John McLennan) was paying rent to the MacLeod Chief for the tack of 'Hirbost'. The amount paid for the tack was the third highest rent on the MacLeod estates at that time, indicating its relative status in economic terms.

It is important to note that Orbost, in early days, used to be supplied from the sea and not, as it is now, by the road from the town of Dunvegan. The old road led from the nearby Bharcasaig Bay to the house and no further. People living at Orbost were dependent on boats and lived in a state of relative isolation and self-sufficient economy.

After a wonderful visit with Rachel who baked fresh scones and provided homemade jam, we head off to the old Town of Dunvegan.

On the way we stop into the Castle Dunvegan Estate Offices and discover we are being given a private tour of the Castle tomorrow morning.

It's back to the Laundry Cottage for a rest and then to the Cellar Bar to swap stories with the locals, all around Tennants and scotch.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Day 12 - Dunvegan Castle, St. Mary's Church, Fairies, etc...

We wake up in the Laundry Cottage, built in 1734 and the former home of the Estate Factor. We look out the front door and see this;

We stroll down to the left of the Cottage to the water's edge to see the famous Dunvegan Castle Seals.

Then we walk over the Castle. Dunvegan Castle is a castle a mile and a half to the north of Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, situated off the West coast of Scotland. Any visit to the Isle of Skye is incomplete without savouring the wealth of history at Dunvegan Castle & Gardens. Built on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Loch Dunvegan once entirely encircled by the sea, Dunvegan is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and has been the ancestral home of the Chiefs of Clan MacLeod for 800 years.

On display are many fine oil paintings and clan treasures, the most famous of which is the Fairy Flag. Legend has it that this sacred Banner has miraculous powers and when unfurled in battle, the clan MacLeod will defeat their enemies. Another of the castle's great treasures is the Dunvegan Cup, a unique ‘mazer’ dating back to the Middle Ages. It was gifted by the O'Neils of Ulster as a token of thanks to one of the clan's most celebrated Chiefs, Sir Rory Mor, for his support of their cause against the marauding forces of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1596.

Dunvegan Castle’s five acres of formal gardens began life in the 18th century. In stark contrast to the barren moorland and mountains that dominate Skye’s landscape, the gardens are a hidden oa¬sis featuring an eclectic mix of plants.

The Walled Garden is well worth a visit. In what was formerly the castle’s vegetable garden, is now a diverse range of plants and flowers that complement the attractive landscaped features including a water lily pond, a neoclassical urn and a Larch Pergola.

The new memorial gazebo was installed in the Walled Garden July of this year in time for HRH the Princess Royal's visit. Various Clan MacLeod Societies from around the world funded the project, including the Associated Clan Society of Alberta.

Over time, the Castle has welcomed many visitors including Sir Walter Scott, Dr Johnson, Flora MacDonald and Queen Elizabeth II.

We leave the Castle and drive to old St. Mary's Church and graveyard.

Since 1835, the burial place of the Chiefs of the MacLeods has been within the ruins of St Mary's Chapel at Kilmuir, Skye. Prior to the 24th Chief John Norman MacLeod's burial, the MacLeod Clan Chiefs were buried at Rodel, Isle of Harris. Norman MacLeod, his wife Anne, and daughter, Emily, a noted Gaelic historian, were all very involved with life in Dunvegan and oversaw major changes to the Castle so it seemed fitting that their resting place should be near Dunvegan. After them, the 25th Chief Norman, and his son Roderick, 26th Chief Norman Magnus, 27th Chief Reginald, 28th Chief Dame Flora, and in February 2007, 29th Chief John MacLeod have all been buried there.

This roofless ruined church, now consolidated, has a date of 1694 over the north entrance and the dedication to St. Mary is still reflected in the name of both the township and the graveyard. Once the parish church for Duirinish, not only are some of the chiefs of Clan MacLeod buried in the north aisle and chancel, but generations of the Clan hereditary pipers, the MacCrimmons, are at rest in the graveyard. An early 18th century ashlar obelisk commemorates the 6th Lord Lovat,  Thomas Frazer, and some late medieval carved gravestones and 18th century tablestones are located within the walled enclosure surrounding the church.

And then off to get breakfast and we find one of the greatest bakeries we've ever had the pleasure to visit, Dunvegan Bakery (Skye's Oldest Bakery).

Dunvegan Bakery has been baking since 1870. This incarnation has been owned by John MacLellan for over 23 years, a big Glaswegian, friendly, humble and a superb baker.

The food is fresh, delicious and we defy you to find better baked goods, anywhere. The bakery is opened all year round.

With full stomachs we head for the Fairy Bridge.

The somewhat modest Fairy Bridge, located three miles from Dunvegan Castle, is the site where some tales place the final moments between a MacLeod Chief and his fairy wife before she left him to return to Fairyland. As the story goes, she gave him the Fairy Flag before her departure, promising that it had the power to relieve him of danger and distress when he waved it.

From the Fairy Bridge it's off to Trumpan.

Trumpan (Scottish Gaelic: Trumpan) is a hamlet located on the Vaternish peninsula on the Isle of Skye, in the Scottish council area of the Highland. Trumpan church, which is now a ruin, was the focus of a particularly brutal incident in 1578, when the Clan MacDonald of Uist travelled to Trumpan in eight boats and under cover of a thick mist, burnt alive all the worshipping church-goers, with only one member managing to escape. This led to instant retribution by Clan MacLeod who killed all the invaders, before they had time to flee the island. This skirmish is known as the Battle of the Spoiling Dyke.

The Battle of the Spoiling Dyke (also known as the Battle of the Spoiled Dyke, Blar Milleadh a’ Ghàraidh, Millegearaidh) was a Scottish clan battle that took place in 1578, fought between the MacDonalds of Uist and the Clan MacLeod.

The MacDonalds of Uist barred the doors of Trumpan Church, or Kilconan Church as it was once known, east of the shores of Ardmore Bay. They then set fire to the church full of worshipers. No one escaped alive except one girl who, although mortally wounded, managed to give the alarm. On hearing the news, the chief of Clan MacLeod and his men set off for Ardmore bay where a battle ensued. The MacDonalds were killed almost to a man. The corpses of the MacDonalds were dragged and then buried in a turf dyke, and the incident remembered as the "Battle of the Spoiling Dyke". The atrocity by the MacDonalds was to exact vengeance on the MacLeods for their atrocity of the massacre of MacDonalds in the Cave of Frances on the Isle of Eigg a couple of years earlier. This again was a tit-for-tat revenge between the two feuding clans.

Trumpan churchyard is the burial ground of Rachel Chiesley, Lady Grange whose husband had her kidnapped and incarcerated on various Hebridean islands.

Rachel Chiesley, usually known as Lady Grange (1679–1745), was the wife of Lord Grange, a Scottish lawyer with Jacobite sympathies. After 25 years of marriage and nine children, the Granges separated acrimoniously. When Lady Grange produced letters that she claimed were evidence of his treasonable plotting against the Hanoverian government in London, her husband had her kidnapped in 1732. She was incarcerated in various remote locations on the western seaboard of Scotland, including the Monach Isles, Skye and the distant islands of St Kilda.

Lady Grange's father was convicted of murder and she is known to have had a violent temper; initially her absence seems to have caused little comment. News of her plight eventually reached her home town of Edinburgh however, and an unsuccessful rescue attempt was undertaken by her lawyer, Thomas Hope of Rankeillor. She died in captivity, after being in effect imprisoned for 13 years. Her life has been remembered in poetry, prose and plays.

The date of Chiesley's marriage to James Erskine is uncertain: based on the text of a letter she wrote much later in life, it may have been in 1707 when she was about 28. The young Lady Grange has been described as a "wild beauty", and it is likely the marriage only took place after she became pregnant.

As the Erskines' marriage trouble increased, Lady Grange's behaviour became increasingly unpredictable. Her discovery of an affair her husband was conducting with coffeehouse owner Fanny Lindsay can only have made matters worse. In April of that year, she threatened suicide and to run naked through the streets of Edinburgh.

Lady Grange was abducted from her home on the night of 22 January 1732 by two Highland noblemen, Roderick MacLeod of Berneray and Macdonald of Morar. After a bloody struggle, she was taken out of the city in a sedan chair and then on horseback to Wester Polmaise near Falkirk, where she was held until 15 August on the ground floor of an uninhabited tower. From there she was taken west by Peter Fraser (a page of Simon Fraser, the 11th Lord Lovat).

We leave Trumpan and head back to the Cottage for a wee rest before going to the Local pub, the Cellar Bar,
where we try to get the bartender to run as a Member of Parliament in next May's election for the Scottish National Party. Yes this involved Tennants and scotch.