Monday, April 1, 2013

Atop Eriskay 4

After descending Beinn Sgiathan we have to walk around the head of the harbour Acairsaid Mhor before starting the climb to the top of Ben Stac, the highest terrain on the southern half of Eriskay.

Acairsaid Mhor
From the harbour it's a short climb to the top of Beinn Stac. The next photo shows the cairn at its summit. In the distance is Barra and its highest point Heabhal. 

Looking to Barra from Beinn Stac
To the south of Beinn Stac lie Na Stacan Dubha, the dark stacks, usually called The Stack Islands. In the next photo the small building you can see atop one of them is Caisteal an Reubadair. This is the Reiver's, or Pirate's Castle. I have also seen it translated as the Weaver's Castle, but that's a corruption of the Gaelic. What kind of weaver would have a castle? 

Otta Swire begins her book The Outer Hebrides and their Legends with the story of how the tower was once home to a nine-headed giant. I won't recount the whole story, so you will need to read it to find out how eight of his heads became the islands of Bernera, Eriskay, Mingulay, Vallay, Grimsay, Taransay, Pabbay and Killegray. Another part of his anatomy became the Butt of Lewis. And no, it's not what you think, it was his ninth head.

Stac Islands and Caisteal an Reubadair


  1. Here with Dia. We put our nine heads together and still couldn't think of giant weaver joke. Julius.

    1. The tale of the Pirate Weaver has many threads, and he looms large in the history of the islands. He was severely injured during a battle on the River Tweed, but the doctors stitched him up.

  2. Soon you will be punning in Gaelic...Scots beware!