Dunvegan Castle Dunvegan castle sits astride an isolated lump of rock overlooking Dunvegan Loch, the landward side of the castle site is protected by a steep gulley.
Dunvegan castle has been in continual habitation by the Clan MacLeod since 1270.
Leod, a Norse prince, son of Olaf, King of Man and the Northern isles was awarded the site which may already have had evidence of fortification work.
The Fairy Tower was built by the 8th clan chief, Alasdair ‘the hunchback’. The installation of a large keep and further reinforcing work commenced in the 14th century. In the 16th century, Rory Mor constructed the long hall extending from the Fairy Tower along the ridge.
However, it is more the myth folklore surrounding Dunvegan castle that make it such a fascinating place to see. The story of the Fairy flag is just one of many.
The flag is believed to have originated in the Middle East, where it was taken by, according to the Norse Sagas, Harald Hardvarder, who had returned from the Holy Land a wealthy man. Harald attacked England some time prior to his nephew, William the Conqueror repeating the deed. Each time the flag was unfurled, Harald was victorious. Alas, at the battle of Stamford Bridge, a force led by Harold of England attacked the invaders as they slept. The flag had been left in one of the longboats.
The flag then mysteriously reappears at Dunvegan Castle along with a caveat. On the third occasion of the flag being unfurled, misery would fall on the house of Macleod.
This warning came via a prophecy in the 17th century by Coinneach Odhar, the Brahan Seer.
The prophecy reads:
When Norman son of the third Norman, son of the slender, bony woman should die accidentally,
When MacLeods Maidens belong to the Campbells,
When a fox should have young in the castle turret,
When a coracle would be large enough to ferry all the tacksmen by the name of MacLeod across the loch,
When the fairy flag is unfurled, the glory of the MacLeods shall pass.
In later times, a son named Iain Breac would rise to redeem the estates of the house of MacLeod.
The flag had been unfurled on two previous occasions, in 1490 at the battle of Glendale and again at the battle of Trumpan on Waternish in 1580.
In 1799 the flag was unfurled accidentally, news came shortly after that Norman, and son of the third Norman perished whilst serving as a lieutenant aboard HMS Queen Charlotte .
Orbost, on which MacLeods maidens stand was sold to Angus Campbell of Ensay.
A pet fox belonging to Norman give birth to a set of cubs in the West turret.
Today, there are no tacksmen by the name of MacLeod on the estate.
Only a few years ago, the Cuillin hills went on the open market to pay for roof repairs.
A visit to Dunvegan Castle is highly recommended as well as the rest of the beautiful Misty Isle of Skye.