Friday, 2 October 2015

The "Mathieson" Castle: Eilean Donan and The Isle of Skye: Days 12 and 13

Castle at Eilean Donan

     While doing a school project on heritage in grade seven, Julia found a Mathieson connection to the castle at Eilean Donan, so that was a must stop on our Scottish itinerary.  Sure enough, when we got there, we found that a Matheson had been commissioned to build the castle in the 13th Century.  Legend has it that this Matheson could communicate with birds and the birds told him that his father should wait on him hand and foot.  The Matheson father reacted to that by kicking the Matheson son out of the home.  I know another Mathieson who claims he can communicate with birds.....and would  LIKE to be waited on hand and foot.

Tom, Overlooking the Family Home

The name Matheson comes up again in the 1500s when Dubh Matheson died trying to defend the castle from attack by the MacDonalds.
Modern Day Mathiesons at Eilean Donan

This castle is located where three lochs meet and was originally built as a defensive measure against the raiding Vikings.  It is one of the most recognized castles in Scotland and "probably appears on more shortbread tins and calendars than any other."  It has been used in many movies including Highlander and the James Bond movie, The World is not Enough.   Eilean Donan, Island of Donan, is currently owned by the McCrae clan.  Our own Canadian John McCrae, poet of "In Flanders Fields", is of the same clan and is recognized within the castle walls.
"In Flanders Fields" excerpt

     Eilean Donan is within view of the Isle of Skye where we spent two nights.  We hired a car with guide for an extensive tour of  Skye, which is one of the 35 inhabited islands of the Inner Hebrides.
Julia Mathieson on Skye

Sky on Skye

Castle Ruins on Skye

Tom Highlander on Skye

Short Hike on Skye

Afternoon Cuppa on Skye

Old Man of Storr , Skye

Near Storr, Skye
Kilt Rock, Skye

Portree, Skye

Road on Skye

Stone Bridge near Sligachan, Skye

    We stayed two nights in a "self-catering" Air B and B.  
Our Home on Skye
Your Basic Tartan Chair
The View from our House in Breakish

The Mortarless Stone Wall by the House

Family Boot-Dryer by the Backdoor

We were able to do some of our own cooking but we also frequented the local restaurant where we tried haggis, tatties and neeps.  It was good!  Julia compared it to Shepherd's Pie.

Haggis, Tatties and Neeps

........Until Next Time.....


  1. can't wait to go! My uncle tells me that most of the women there look like me (actually vice versa!) We never think of ourselves as immigrants of a place, do we?

    1. Oh, the "sightings" (people we "recognized") were plentiful. Our relatives are all over the place. I saw lots of references to the MacLeods on Skye! As a matter of fact, I think Dunvegan Castle on Skye is still owned by the MacLeods, the only castle (in Scotland??) to be continuously owned by the same family. I believe the Mathiesons and the MacLeods were known to each other---- as allies or enemies or both???