• Lilly

Angus Martin's Grave on the Isle of Skye

At the tippy top of Skye’s Trotternish (Tròndairnis) Peninsula is the Kilmuir Graveyard. It feels like the edge of the world, with its high vantage point. Time stands still as you take in the isolated view past the blackhouses of the Skye Museum of Island Life and brace yourself against the relentless winds. It is famous for being the burial place of Flora MacDonald, but many visitors miss the fascinating stone in the back of the graveyard in the shape of a knight.

It is said that this is the grave of Angus Martin (Aonghas na Gaoithe). He had a reputation of being being fearless and going out to sea in any weather, which earned him a lasting nickname of Angus of the Wind or Angus of the Storm. He also earned himself some good press for his time spent fighting in Ireland.

Now here is where his story gets a bit contested. It is said that he stole this slab from a king’s grave on the holy Isle of Iona, so he could have it for himself. This story is debated, however. First of all, to channel Boromir (nerd alert!), one does not simply walk onto Iona and steal a king’s gravestone from such an important place. There is apparently a written record from well known 17th Century Island wanderer Martin Martin stating that Angus did take the stone from Iona, but he took it by arrangement with Clan MacDonald to bring it to their cemetery in Kilmuir. This seems more plausible than secretly absconding with an important stone only to prominently display it on Skye. But hey, there are a lot of wild stories in the MacDonald clan history!

Who else enjoys a graveyard wander?