Location: Skye
gaelic language and placenames, gaelic culture


Neil would hear the bardachd 'Mauchaidh' recited at New Year by his neighbour. He regretfully never learned the poem.

It is said to be written in ancient Gaelic and it is unknown who wrote it, but it was well known to Gaelic scholars. Indeed, Sorley Maclean whom he met at a concert his late wife was performing at, on hearing Neil was from Heaste, asked him/assumed 'you'll know Mauchaidh?' or 'you'll have Mauchaidh' meaning you’ll be able to recite it. He wished he could but he hadn't learned it. The poem talks of two giants having a battle in and around Loch Eishort . Mauchaidh was from the small island of Morsaig and on wanting to travel to Heaste he was being blocked by MacCrusalaig , the other giant .

The story goes that Mauchaidh pleaded with the other giant; if he were to give him a safe passage way over he would make him the finest suit of mail (chainmail) and so Macrusalaig agreed and laid down two large boulders to act as stepping stones in the water. The first is still seen between Morsaig and the Heaste island and the other between the 'Dornie/Dornaidh' area and Heaste itself. And so the giants made peace.

Told on behalf of Neil MacKinnon

More information on visiting the area can be found here.