Clan Donald Skye
Isle of Skye
IV45 8RS t:
01471844275c: Mags Macdonald
CLAN DONALD SKYE – 20,000 acres of Skye
Clan Donald Skye is a large Highland estate on the Sleat peninsula in South Skye. Once part of the traditional lands of Clan Donald, the estate was purchased in 1971 by the Clan Donald Lands Trust. The trust was established to promote an understanding of the history and heritage of Clan Donald and the Lordship of the Isles. As custodians of this wonderful estate, the trust has worked tirelessly to save and develop this important resource for the benefit of visitors to Skye and, importantly, for the local community.
The estate offers some stunning walks for all levels of fitness, with views eastward across the Sound of Sleat to Knoydart, or on the west of the peninsula across to the Cuillin mountain range. It is home to iconic wildlife species including Red Deer, Golden Eagles and Sea Eagles.
The heart of the estate is its Visitor Centre. First opened in May 1976, the ever expanding facilities of the Centre, has been enjoyed by increasing numbers of national and international visitors over the subsequent years. As a testimony to its drive for excellence, Visit Scotland awarded the Centre its fifth star as a Visitor Attraction in August 2013.
The magic of Clan Donald Skye unfolds as the visitor enters the gates and proceeds down Lord MacDonald’s Drive into the 40 acre restored historical gardens of the estate. Here, between cultivated lawns and beautifully planned terraces and herbaceous gardens, stand towering trees, centuries old, giving way to enchanted woodland walks, carpeted in seasonal wildflowers and enriched with bird song. The Drive ends at the imposing ruins of Armadale Castle, designed by James Gillespie Graham and a monument to the aspirations and dreams of the 19th Century Lords of Sleat.
The fully accredited Museum of the Isles, opened within the gardens in 2002, incorporates the library and study Centre. Here you can discover the history of the Highlands and Islands through the story of Clan Donald, its most powerful clan.
Six interconnecting galleries, each with their own theme, take you through 1500 years of history and culture of the area once known as the Kingdom of the Isles. The MacDonalds – or Clan Donald – were Lords of the Isles and sit at the heart of the history of Gaeldom. Our museum follows their story and that of the Highlands.
Audio guides in several languages and for the visually impaired are available. Young visitors can enjoy exploring the museum with our children’s trails.
There is a lot to see, so allow yourself enough time. Most of our visitors spend between 45 minutes to an hour in the museum. You will need more time if you are researching your ancestors and planning to use the genealogical resources in the library, which is housed in the museum.
As well as the ever-popular children’s adventure playground, which is suitable for all ages, in 2013 Clan Donald introduced Armadale Activities offering visitors the opportunity to engage in a range of exciting target sports. This year, this popular addition to Clan Donald will be offering clay pigeon shooting as well as archery, tomahawk throwing and air rife shooting.
Nestling within the beautiful grounds of Armadale, Clan Donald is also able to offer holiday accommodation both for short breaks and longer visits. The Visitor Centre boasts gift shops and a wonderful family restaurant which often hosts special musically-themed nights. You can also enjoy Clan Donald’s estate-produced venison and, if you wish, you can buy some to enjoy at home.
Disabled facilities are provided by the centre and full information can be found on our website, www.clandonald.com.