Skye’s Hidden Heritage
Discover the historic settlement of Rubh’ an Dùnain
English Gàidhlig
Rubh’ an Dùnain

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Have you a comment or opinion on Rubh' an Dùnain, this website or our vision for its future?  We'd like to hear from you.  Please register to add your comments and join the emerging new community.  We will keep you up to date on our repopulation plans unless you indicate otherwise.

We'd kindly like to remind you that this is not a clan website and we are unable to provide assistance with family or genealogy research.  Visitors looking for ancestral information are advised to visit our Library section and follow any of the appropriate links.  The Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre is also recommended for genealogists.

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Comments: 29 (Add)

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Leigh Miller on August 28 2023 at 07:32

I am visiting Skye this September. I am a descendant of Allen McCaskill who left Skye for North Carolina some time after 1770. Are we be able to hike out to Rubh' an Dùnain or is it a closed site? My daughter is about to begin her Masters Program at The University of Edinburgh in Medieval European Archeology. She is very interested in studying structures that have had generations of habitation and have built upon previous structures.

We can’t wait to see Skye and would love to meet up with other McCaskill descendants if there is anyone left in the area.

Jennifer Norris on March 20 2023 at 20:37

Hello everyone,
I've been trying for some years on and off to find some more information about my grandmother, who was from Glendale. I live near Oban in Scotland.

My grandmother was Marion ('Minnie';) McCaskill, born 28 October 1900.
Her parents were Morag (nee Macleod or McCloud??) and Norman.

Marion was one of 6 siblings (not necessarily in order):
1)(Isa)Bella, oldest (1898?)
2) Marion (1900).
3) Mary,
4)Jessie (female)
5) An escapee!!! (female).
6) Norman (jnr).

Norman Snr was a ham curer. My mother remembers her grandmother, Morag, carrying incredibly heavy sacks of fish. My mother also remembers drinking warm milk straight from the cow when they visited. She never liked it!

Norman died before his wife and at some point Morag went to live in Glasgow (Knightswood) with all the 6 children.

Morag McCaskill went back to Glendale for a visit and died there. Year?

Marion (my grandmother) worked in Glasgow as a dental receptionist.

At some point Marion met and married Jim hair (around 1935) and moved out from her mother's home in knightswood.

My mother, Helen Hair, was born 1936.

I've been to Glendale a couple of times and tried to find Norman and Morag's graves but with no luck.
If anyone knows anything about them I'd love to hear from you.

Ben (Hudson) Caskey on June 21 2022 at 04:47

@Christie Weber I actually really like that tartan. It's beautiful, more so than I expected.

I've found through Leod we are related to the Ui Imair? If anyone could fact check this that would be nice. I'm very confused about the origins of the whole name. If anyone could give me a quick rundown that would be very nice, especially since this is the largest gathering of our kind I've ever seen.

Christie Weber (granddaughter of on April 29 2022 at 18:33

@Hudson Caskey: We DO have a tartan. It's an inversion of one of the 2 MacLeod Tartans.

The clan/sept system actually didn't go anywhere. The court of Lord Lyon is the only remaining active heraldic registry in Europe, as far as I know. But we are a sept, not a clan. Though I suppose, if we fully claimed Rubh an Dunain, that could be argued. If we felt like it. Seems like a lot of challenge for not much reward.

Anyway, the tartan:

Don McCaskill on January 15 2022 at 19:37

I am a decendant of the McCaskills that immigrated to Canada in the 19th century. They first settled around Lindsay/Bethany Ontario then moved west to homestead around McGregor/Hart/Austen Manitoba. My great grandparents spoke only Gaelic. There are still McCaskill families in both locations in Ontario and Manitoba. Many of the McCaskill were farmers but later generations (including my grandfather) moved to Winnipeg Manitoba. It is interesting that there were many McCaskills in Manitoba who were in various law enforcement roles including a Winnipeg Police Chief (in keeping with the family'f traditinal role in the clan).
I taught at Trent University in Peterborough Ontario for 47 years and now live in Toronto.
I visited Rubh' an Dunain in the 80's and loved the stark beauthy of the place. I hope to go back for a longer time to do the family history. I think that this idea of a virtual community.

Robert Caskey on September 13 2021 at 22:09

Descendant of the McCaskey's who settled in the Eastern Kentucky region. I'd love to visit especially after learning about the roots in Calgary, Canada. Can't wait to see how this whole project goes and be able to connect with other kin.

Martha on September 1 2021 at 23:52

My Mother was a McKaskle. There are a whole bunch of descendants with that spelling in the U.S. from our one ancestor, Daniel "Donald" McKaskle, 1755–1815 and his wife Mary Ann McCoy,1770–1825.

We would love to connect back to Scotland.

Supposedly the spelling was a mistake by either Bonnie Prince Charles or his father and which ever ancestor is Scotland that received the letter said if it was good enough for them, its good enough for us.

Hugo Lambeets on June 14 2021 at 09:50

I am belgian living now in France for almost 45 years
The first time I was in Drynoch (The isle of Skye) was in 1968 (i was 17 y) and i was hitchhiking.
Mr Macaskill James picked us ( me and a schoolfriend) up and we stayed 1 week camping in his garden
He told us he came back from Rhodesia and he was a shepherd
He also said us he had a few children studying in Glasgow I think or maybe
He tild us he had a son named Alastair
I visited him again in 1973 and in 1980 ( I even helped sheepscheering)
He told us a lot of stories of the macaskills and mcleods
I would like to know if the Alastair managing this website is related to James Macaskill and if so would he be able to give me some news
My email =
I really enjoyed visiting the Isle of Skye and I remember that there were only 4 or 5 houses in Drynoch whereunder a house owned by an english guy named Mr Wakefield if my memory is ok

Thank you in advance
Hugo Lambeets

Wharekehi McCaskill on June 1 2021 at 09:40

I'd love to know more about my Scottish heritage

Hudson Caskey on September 25 2020 at 17:39

Hey guys do we have an offical tartan? maybe we should restart the clan system. Who knows? hopefully i can meet some of you guys someday

Hudson Caskey on September 25 2020 at 15:03

I will try to help in whatever way i can. I want to see our lands be gloried in Scotland once again. Me and my family are visiting Europe in a year or two so we will definitly visit on our way to Ireland (sorry for my bad grammar i am still a kid). I want to see the family lands flourish again as if it was 1100 again (or whenever it was great) i will definitly consider becoming a virtual citizen.

Hudson Caskey on September 25 2020 at 14:50

I have never been to this place but i am a descendant of the McCaskey family also known as McAskill I hope someday i may come to the homeland and meet some cousins that are still in the area. I would love to talk to anyone that is a relative i have never been out of the US and hope to have the privlage to come someday and see my true home.

Ian McCaskill on September 15 2020 at 03:15

I visited Rubh' an Dunain mid 2015. I first visited the churchyard ruins then spent the rest of the day at Rubh' an Dunain. It was quite an emotional time as I reflected on the life my ancestors lived. I was in awe of their ability to shift such masses of large rocks to build the dun and the long rock wall. I am keen to return with my young family as soon as we are able to share this place with them while we still can.
Donald McCaskill 1798–1872 • Craignish, Minginish was my 3rd great-grandfather

Adam James on September 12 2020 at 04:14

I had the privilege to visit Skye in 2018, and visited the old clan church ruins, it was real honor to be on the land McCaskill Clan worked.
It was a spiritual moment of reconnecting to my ancestors.
I was unware at the time the old village was nearby otherwise l would visited it too.
But Very Sad to see there were no signs, walking paths, display boards or memorials mentioning McCaskills, and seeing the church in such ruins.

I hope this Group with Cooperation of the Residents of Skye, the McLeod Clan, Scotland Tourism/Government , Scotland Hertiage, Current Land Owners and any other interested parties willing aid/assist, create an aim and mission to preserve and of improve existing McCaskill ruins of Clan.

Im a double Great Son Peter McCaskill born lse of Skye b1840 and departed for Geelong, Victoria Australia in 1852 with his parents and siblings.

Desiree McCaskill on January 25 2020 at 00:45

My husband and I are visiting Skye in July 2020. We would love tp meet up with any McCaskill's. We will be staying near Struan at Ose. I see a comment here about visiting the Viking settlement by boat. Where does this go from ?

Maree McCaskill on October 23 2019 at 12:37

I am a descendant of the McCaskill/MacAskill family that left Skye in 1852 for Geelong in Victoria Australia. I have traced my family back to 1776 in the area and established that they were crofters.
I have visited Skye 7 times, but the last trip in 2012 was the highlight as I chartered a fast boat to take me to Rubh' an Dunain and up the canal to the Lock where the birlinns were placed in dry dock and the site housed the remnants of the Viking settlement. It was just breathtaking and for me it was almost visiting a very spiritual place that gave me a sense of "home". I have explored a number of the graveyards, some of them abandoned and requiring access via fording a stream. I too was concerned that an amazing historical record is likely to be damaged beyond repair.
Being so far from Skye and the larger groups of MacAskills/McCaskills that centre on the USA and Canada, this site will be a brilliant way of connecting all of us who trace our heritage to Rubh' an Dunain. I would be willing to help in any way possible.

Karla Rodebush (MacCaskey) on August 24 2019 at 18:39

Hello. I was in Skye just last month (July, 2019) with my mother to trace ancestral roots. We are descendents of the McCaskey lineage (aka MacAskill,, who immigrated to Canada and the USA in the1800s.

I felt a very deep connection to Skye and continue my research of my past and people. How fortunate to stumble upon this website. We did not get to the graveyard on Rubh' an Dunain, but I am planning my next trip (2020). I would love to be part of this project and connect with others of similar lineage. I, too, think the concept of repopulating this area via an online community is exciting. I would love to help in whatever way possible.

Roberta Langford on June 8 2019 at 05:33

I have MacAskill/McCaskill lineage and also have Ancestry DNA (as well as my male twin). I am related to the McCaskills that immigrated to the USA in North Carolina starting in the 1770s. I visited Skye and walked on part of the land, Rubh' an Dunain in October 2018. I was told by a local to visit an old graveyard a few minutes drive away where the family is buried. And on a cool rainy day, we did that.

Very old and with slabs with swords etched in the stone. BUT I am concerned about the graveyard and the condition that it is in. This graveyard with an old church? has McCaskill and MacLeod family members along with other surnames from the 1400s-1800. There is a bush growing in the McCaskill graves, and overturned very heavy and large stone. Moss is growing on the words. Words that are harder to read and appear to be a genealogy record etched on the stone marker--the largest I have seen, I have a picture and video of my sister and I read this headstone. I have more pictures. I want to try and to repair, and cut that bush out--but need help. Who can I contact or is willing to go me to help? I am 50 years old. I fear much will be lost.

I will return in Spring 2020. My email is if you have an interest. I found a book on relics and the actual name of the graveyard. Some of the relics are store in Edinburgh from this graveyard/church when the book was written in the 1920s.
I also want to make the full walk on Rubh' an Dunain to see what I missed.

William Haig Hodge McCaskey 16th on January 22 2019 at 09:51

Born in Edinburgh in June 1959 I have always been told that my family history comes from the Isle of Skye. Living in Australia from the age of 5 and without relatives around me I have never had the urge to find out anything more about my Scottish ancestry till I visited Skye approx 20 years ago.
I have returned a number of times, signed up on and undergone DNA testing, discovering I am 36% Scandinavian. My ancestral trail brings me to the MacAskills under the Macleod clan, bringing me to Rubh'an Dunain.
Currently one of my hobbies is underwater archeology and I would love to volunteer my time and equipment sometime to assist discovering more about our heritage.

Tricia Barson on November 1 2017 at 23:49

My direct maternal line ends with Catherine & Ewan McAskill born between 1790-1800. I doubt I will find any further records. We were also cleared and immigrated to Canada. I had the opportunity to visit Isle of Skye last May with my mother. It was amazing. While there visiting the records at Armadale castle the lady helping us told us about Rubh' an Dunain. We did the walk and I can't wait to go back. I appreciate this website and going through the virtual walk. I hope more excavations can happen so we can learn more. Fun place!

David McCaskill on March 13 2017 at 09:38

As an exiled McCaskill I have studied the history of my West Highland roots for many years and have found your website a source of great information and entertainment. To be able to view the land of my forefathers from my home in western Canada is a joy. It delivers a real sense of belonging.

The concept of repopulating this area via an online community is a novel approach and exciting. It seems to offer a wealth of opportunities across a wide spectrum, but particularly for Gaelic culture, history and language. Developed in the right manner, I think it stands a good chance of capturing the imagination of young people who so often feel the need to migrate to large cities and other lands.

I will be happy to lend my support in whatever way you think best and look forward to further details.

Gustaf Anthony Keen on September 27 2015 at 22:54

On 2 September 2015 my wife and I from Cape Town in South Africa travelled by train from Glasgow to Mallaig en route to Skye for a visit to my wife's sister recently moved to there . In the train we sat opposite an elderly gentleman who turned out to be one David MacFadyen of Tarskavaig on Skye .He told us briefly about a Viking canal at Rubh' an Dunain and mentioned he had picked up a piece of a ship's timber dated to about 1200 . My sister in law and husband had also heard of this Viking canal and were interested in visiting the area so we resolved to take a walk there a day or two later from Glen Brittle car park .This we did on a fine clear day with the Cuillins free of cloud . We walked and discovered many things new to us . We had only the Landranger topo map as guide but we found the tacksman house , the lochan with canal and adjacent ruins , the cave , and the Dun wall , and we visited the chambered cairn . We scrambled up the heights to get excellent views of sea and mountain . We had a wonderful day out in the wilds of Scotland with clearly a lot of fascinating history under foot . Upon return to civilisation we dived into the internet to find out more about these exciting places we had visited . Then we found your excellent website with all its fascinating information and links to fill in the background . Your "virtual journey" is almost exactly what we had done and remains as a wonderful reminder of our visit . The references you hide away under "Library" deserve much better display . The 2015 essay by Colin Martin is particulary interesting . The RCAHMS and their "canmore" websites have a wealth of information and illustrations , all cross linked . Our whole journey has proved fascinating and very much helped by your really very good website . Perhaps we should have done our homework first - studying your website before visiting , but there is much satisfaction in exploring totally unknown territory and finding things for yourself and then reading about it . Thank you for your help .

Ronald Macaskill Watt on August 26 2015 at 09:57

I came across the article in History Scotland. Which led me to your site.
Not digested it yet but most interesting.

When we tried to walk to Rhu an Dunain my wife was not well and we had to turn back a few hundred yards short, so I greatly appreciate the virtual walk.

My mother wrote an article on The Macaskills of Rhu an Dunain but Bill's is much more detailed.

Now I will be looking for work on the Macaskills who remained on Skye. Our lot moved north to Ramasaig in Duirinish but were again cleared at least twice

Ronald Macaskill Watt

Don Currie, Edinburgh on June 25 2015 at 16:26

What a great resource - really imaginative and original.

Calum MacAskill on April 13 2015 at 14:12

Well done to all involved a very professional and informative site

Coinneach on April 12 2015 at 10:39

Excellent work - looking v. professional .. I'll disseminate to guides

Joanne Dodge, Charlotte, North C on April 9 2015 at 15:16

Excellent site. The virtual tour is wonderful.

Marjory Danskin on March 30 2015 at 15:40

I will be visiting Skye on holiday soon and it is wonderful to have a chance to learn about some of its history, without necessarily having to make such a long walk. Your virtual tour is perfect for a 'senior' like me.

M J Danskin, Bedford, England

Brian Macdonald on March 30 2015 at 15:34

What a treat to find this site! I visited Rubh an Dunain last year on a family holiday and am heading back to Skye this summer. But I had no idea about the history of the place when I visited.

Absolutely fascinating. Thank you!