Friday, February 7, 2014

"Over the Sea to Skye . . . "

After my semester in Paris I booked a cheap flight to Glasgow, rented a car, and drove north and then east, covering as much of Scotland as I could.  The first day I made it to Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye after a rough drive in the rain.  The next day, sunny and beautiful, I walked several trails and toured Dunvegan Castle, the seat of the Clan MacLeod for over 800 years.  Below are three views of the castle.

My ancestors emigrated from Skye in 1802. About that time the Chief of the clan had the castle renovated in the Scottish Baronial style, pepper-pot turrets and all.  My crowd were poor farmers, tenants of the Chief on land one loch over.

The ship Duke of Kent left Skye in August of 1802.  Few passengers aboard expected to make it across the Atlantic alive.  They were desperate to leave, victims of the Clearances.  After a rough passage they finally made it to America.  My great-great-great-great grandmother Effie MacLeod was a passenger with her parents and a one-year-old son.  She was also six months pregnant when they left.  After landing at Wilmington, North Carolina, they settled in the Sandhills region along a tributary of the Cape Fear River.  An account of her voyage is told by the historian Jim Hunter in his book Scottish Exodus.  See this link for an audio clip of Hunter recounting Effie's story:

Dunvegan from above on the Two Churches Road trail.

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