Trumpan Church, Isle of Skye
There are lots of ruined and abandoned churches (kirks) across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland but maybe none have such a brutal past as this church on the Isle of Skye.
Overlooking Ardmore Bay on the very north coast of Skye in the area known as Waternish this church must have been large and impressive for its time and location.
But it was in 1578 when one of the most brutal clan war attacks took place at this church. We are told the congregation was packed into the church for the regular Sunday service. It was a misty day which enable the attackers, The Clan MacDonald of Uist, to approach unseen in boats to the bay below.
With stealth they approached the church, barricaded the door and stacked hay at the windows then set fire to the building with the congregation inside. The thatched roof would not have helped the situation and in the confligation all perished.
Well all but one young girl who managed to escape. Despite what would become mortal injuries managed to run some considerable distance and raise the alarm.
Retribution was swift and a force of Clan MacLeod responded, and at what became known as the Battle of Spoiling Dyke, that retribution was equally as violent and all the “invaders” were killed before they could get back to their boats.
In these flower meadow surroundings on a tranquil Skye summers day it all seems so impossible and unthinkable that such a brutal event occurred …..but it did.
(C) David Oakes 2016