The Clan Donald Lands Trust by Robert McDonald Parker

Greetings from the Clan Donald Centre on the beautiful Isle of Skye. For those of you who have never visited us, or perhaps have never even heard of us, I will attempt to tell you over the next few paragraphs, a little about the development of the Centre and our future plans.

You may already know, that in 1971 the Clan Donald Lands Trust was formed in an effort to raise money for the purchase of the 15,000 acres of Clan Lands, which was at that time for sale. A worldwide appeal successfully raised the money to buy the land and a Board of Trustees, established to administer the running of the Estate. The idea of turning a portion of the ruined Armadale Castle into the Clan Donald Centre, was developed and thanks to some major contributions from North American Clansmen, the dream became a reality. In 1975 the entrance to Armadale Gardens and the Clan Centre were opened to the public for the first time and sjrice that time we have welcomed over 100,000 visitors. 

The Centre has improved in leaps and bounds and our original Museum, Craft and Bookshop and Restaurant have been added to, by the inclusion of an Audio-Visual Room. This winter will see the installation of a security system and glass showcases, which will allow up to put on display some of the valuable Clan Relics in our possession. Work has also been completed on the sculpting of the ruined walls of Armadale Castle and it is hoped that spring 1981 will see this area once again open to the public. Add to this, our farm and Estate Activities with its sheep and cattle plus a small sporting operation (fishing an stalking) and all in all it adds up to employment for seven people year round and a further eight people when the Centre is open. We are the main tourist attraction in the south end of Skye and our presence adds greatly to the local economy, by bringing visitors to the Hotels, Bed and Breakfast etc.

It would be marvellous to write that all of these activities are self-­supporting but as yet we have not reached that plateau. Thanks to the regular support of our membership and the tremendous generosity of the Glencoe Foundation Inc. USA we can continue to operate. The Clan Centre urgently needs the help and participation of every member of Clan Donald, both home and abroad. We should not be looked upon as competitors to the Clan Societies but in fact partners in furthering the growth of the clan movement. For those of you who read this article and feel that they would like to learn more about the Trust’s work and the development of the Centre, please write to us at the address shown below.

With at least three-quarter of a million pounds worth of development ahead of us, we urgently need your support. As members of Clan Donald, you should want our Clan Centre to follow the example of our ancestry by being the mightiest, biggest and best in the Highlands. Other clans look to Clan Donald for leadership, we have no better way of showing it than by continuing to develop our Clan Centre on Skye.

I extend to each and everyone of you, an invitation to come to Skye for a first hand look at our property and promise to be on hand to give you a complete rundown on our future development plans.

Come over the Sea to Skye!

Yours sincerely,

Robert McDonald Parker, International Director, Clan Donald Lands Trust, Armadale, Sleat, Isle of Skye, IV45 8RS, Scotland.