Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke, 1578, Isle of Skye, Macleods and Macdonalds. The deep feud between the Macleods of Waternish and the Macdonalds of Uist came to a head in a church on Skye in 1578. Scotland’s clans often fought among themselves AS WE WELL KNOW. The Macleods were assembled for a service at Trumpan when the Macdonalds, who had earlier landed in a fleet of eight ships at Ardmore Bay, surrounded the church and set it on fire, this was typical of the time. All the worshippers were burned alive apart from one young woman, who managed to escape by a window. Macleods, alerted by the smoke and the fire, flocked to the church. Before the Macdonalds could regain their boats, which by the receding of the tide, were high and dry upon the rocks at Ardmore, they were attacked by the Macleods, a desperate struggle ensued in which all the Macdonalds were killed. Their bodies were range in line alongside a turf dyke…and the dyke was tumbled over on the top of them – a quick but unfeeling form of burial.”
The Eigg Massacre, Isle of Eigg, 1577, Macleods and Macdonalds The entire population of Eigg was wiped out the year before, after the Macleods suffocated to death more than 350 Macdonalds in a cave after lighting a fire at its narrow mouth. It was another bleak slaughter amid the feud of these two clans. The Eigg Massacre was triggered after Macleod men were banished from the island, bound hand and foot and cast adrift in their boat, after insulting a number of young Eigg women. The boat washed up at Dunvegan, the enraged Macleod chief set sail for Eigg with a number of his men to avenge the ill treatment of his kin. The Macdonalds, aware of the approaching Macleods, hid in a large cave, the Cave of Frances, in the south of the island for some time. A watchman was spotted by the Macleods as their boat was preparing to depart following a fruitless search of the island. His footprints were traced back to the cave. The Macdonalds refused to surrender in belief the narrow entrance would be enough to protect them from their enemy. Macleod then lit a large fire of turf and ferns at the entrance of the cave with the smoke suffocatin all those inside.