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TITLE
The Scur of Eigg
EXTERNAL ID
PC_PRISCUS_SCO5295
PLACENAME
Eigg
DISTRICT
Lochaber
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Small Isles
PERIOD
1890s
CREATOR
George Washington Wilson
SOURCE
Mark Butterworth - Priscus
ASSET ID
29579
KEYWORDS
islands
sgurr
scuir
caves
atrocities
annals
caverns
Macleod
Skye
reivers
reiving
Celts
Macdonald
caves
Cave of Francais
skeletons
The Scur of Eigg

This photograph was taken by Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson (1823-93) and was used to illustrate talks he gave on Highland history. The following description is taken from Washington Wilson's own lecture notes.

The Isle of Eigg is the most remarkable looking island in the British seas. The Scuir rises to a height of 1272 feet, and as seen from the deck of the steamer is very imposing. In this Island there is a remarkable cave, which was the scene of one of the most hideous atrocities narrated in the Scottish annals. The entrance to this cave lies at the base of a cliff near the south-east shore of the Island, and barely admits of one person crawling through at a time. The cavern inside is both lofty and spacious, being 260 feet long, 27 feet broad, 20 feet high, and bears all the appearance of having been scooped out by the action of the sea. About 230 years since a party of Macleods from Skye landed on Eigg on a reiving expedition but were captured, tied, and sent adrift in their boat. They in return, nursing the hatred and revenge which were recognised virtues in the Celt, came back in force to put the natives of Eigg to the sword. They, however, fled to the Cave of Francais, and might have been perfectly secure had not one of their number ventured out too soon in order to see what the enemy was about. He returned to the cave, and told the rest that the homesteads of Eigg had been given to the flames. The Macleods were at their boats, and about to return home when they observed the Macdonald from the cave on the sky line of the Scuir; a slight shower of snow made it an easy matter to trace his footprints to the cave's mouth, at the entrance of which they piled up whatever would burn, and setting fire to it prevented the escape of the unfortunate inmates, who eventually succumbed to suffocation. It is recorded that 200 Macdonalds perished in that cave, and very recently there still remained 67 skeletons in it.

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The Scur of Eigg

INVERNESS: Small Isles

1890s

islands; sgurr; scuir; caves; atrocities; annals; caverns; Macleod; Skye; reivers; reiving; Celts; Macdonald; caves; Cave of Francais; skeletons

Mark Butterworth - Priscus

Imaging the Past

This photograph was taken by Scottish photographer George Washington Wilson (1823-93) and was used to illustrate talks he gave on Highland history. The following description is taken from Washington Wilson's own lecture notes.<br /> <br /> The Isle of Eigg is the most remarkable looking island in the British seas. The Scuir rises to a height of 1272 feet, and as seen from the deck of the steamer is very imposing. In this Island there is a remarkable cave, which was the scene of one of the most hideous atrocities narrated in the Scottish annals. The entrance to this cave lies at the base of a cliff near the south-east shore of the Island, and barely admits of one person crawling through at a time. The cavern inside is both lofty and spacious, being 260 feet long, 27 feet broad, 20 feet high, and bears all the appearance of having been scooped out by the action of the sea. About 230 years since a party of Macleods from Skye landed on Eigg on a reiving expedition but were captured, tied, and sent adrift in their boat. They in return, nursing the hatred and revenge which were recognised virtues in the Celt, came back in force to put the natives of Eigg to the sword. They, however, fled to the Cave of Francais, and might have been perfectly secure had not one of their number ventured out too soon in order to see what the enemy was about. He returned to the cave, and told the rest that the homesteads of Eigg had been given to the flames. The Macleods were at their boats, and about to return home when they observed the Macdonald from the cave on the sky line of the Scuir; a slight shower of snow made it an easy matter to trace his footprints to the cave's mouth, at the entrance of which they piled up whatever would burn, and setting fire to it prevented the escape of the unfortunate inmates, who eventually succumbed to suffocation. It is recorded that 200 Macdonalds perished in that cave, and very recently there still remained 67 skeletons in it.