By Roz Macaskill
History-soaked ruins, breathtaking gardens, a fascinating museum and an impressive archive – one could spend all day exploring south Skye's Armadale Castle, Garden and Museum of the Isles.
Whether you want to ramble through woodlands, admire the manicured lawns or enjoy the spring colours, Armadale Gardens provides a welcome retreat - and a chance to step back in time.
The woodland garden was formed in the early 1800's - with some trees dating back almost 200 years.
Situated in the historic gardens, the Museum of the Isles tells the stories of the Highlands & Islands through the history of the powerful Clan Donald.
Armadale was once the seat of the Macdonalds of Sleat and is today seen as the Clan’s ‘spiritual home’.
With six permanent galleries and an additional space for changing exhibitions, there is plenty to see. The museum has the added distinction of being accredited by Museum Galleries Scotland, meaning visitors can be assured of a quality experience.
This year in the special exhibitions gallery the museum will be marking the end of World War I. The Coming Home exhibition includes a travelling show developed by Highlife Highland, and the work of pupils from Bun-sgoil Shleite (Sleat Primary School).
Museum Manager Sue Geale explains: “The pupils have been working with an animator, Henry Cruickshank, to develop stories about soldiers coming home to the Highlands from World War One. They’ve been delving into the archive and coming up with some really creative ideas. It shows a different perspective on what we do here - as well as revealing the Highlands' history through the Clan stories, we are also very much about the community and the real stories of people who lived on Skye.”
The museum team are dedicated to keeping the experience fresh, so even repeat visitors can find something new. “We are always developing new activities and events,” says Sue. “We are also keen to see children enjoying the museum, and offer activities throughout the year with added family fun sessions in the school holidays.”
Sue adds: “There is so much to see in south Skye. It's relatively undiscovered and, if you are using the ferry from Mallaig, we are right on the road. We are a five-star visitor destination, and definitely on the Must See List for anyone coming to Skye!”