Pesda Press

The banquet on the Island of Isay

In the sheltered waters of Loch Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye, lies the Island of Isay. It was the scene of a brutal and vicious incident in the 16th century.

Roderick Macleod of Lewis, called two powerful families to a banquet on the island on the promise that he had something to tell them that was in their favour. These two families had control over land in Gairloch and the over the Island of Raasay.

So during the banquet he proceeded to invite each of his guests one by one, outside to tell them their good news. However it wasn’t good news as he murdered each of guests, one by one. Why? So he could ensure his son could inherit both Raasay and the land in Gairloch.

You will be glad to know that islanders sort out their disputes over land in a far more civilised fashion now, especially with the introduction of the Land Reform Act 2003 which included the historic right of responsible access to the outdoors in the earlier part of this decade. Absentee landlords, the Land Reform Act 2003 and the various interesting chapters in that saga will fill more than one or two blog posts in the coming weeks. It’s a subject close to my heart.

4 Responses to “The banquet on the Island of Isay ”

  1. 1 Ignacio-Wenley Palacios Mar 22nd, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    I wait to read more from the chest of fabulous Highland stories, Cailean.

  2. 2 Cailean Macleod Mar 24th, 2007 at 12:10 am

    I shall do my utmost to keep you satisfied!

  3. 3 Mike Armitage Jul 13th, 2007 at 7:50 pm

    Cailean, my son & I spent two nights on Isay this month and paddled around the area. |I recorded a video diary of the abandoned township and the main house of Roderick macLeod. We were aware of small brown mammals scurring in & out of burrows - any ideas? - rats perhaps - wonderful small island to walk around(no braken !) kittiewakes,ravens, puffens,razorbills, oystercatchers and lots more around the cliffs -seals everywhere - otters sighted off North East beach.

    Islands in Loch Dunvegan wonderful wildlife reserve to paddle around.


  4. 4 Cailean Macleod Jul 13th, 2007 at 11:20 pm

    No bracken = no ticks??? :-)

    Probably rats (small brown mammals) could have been shrews or voles but more than likely rats. Many other islands have a rat problem - Shiants being an example. When you lie in your sleeping bag at night on the Shiants, you hear them all scurrying and rustling the tent flysheet…

Leave a Reply


I'm currently writing a sea kayaking guidebook for the Northwest Highlands; Cape Wrath to Ardnamurchan Point including Skye & the Small Isles. This blog will keep you updated as to my progress and hopefully the blog and in turn the book will inspire you experience the Northwest Highlands by sea kayak yourself.

What I'm reading...