Waternish is a peninsula about 7.5 miles long and traditionally inhabited and owned by the Clan MacLeod of the nearby Dunvegan Castle. It contains the townships of Stein and Lusta in Loch Bay in the south east and Halista, Hallin and Trumpan. The name is believed to come from the Norse word 'Vatnenes' which translates as headland of the pond.
On the peninsula itself, the ruined church of Trumpan with its terrible and bloodstained history is worthy of a visit. Following the massacre of the congregation of Trumpan Church in May, 1578 by the MacDonalds of Uist, the ensuing battle between them and the men of the Clan MacLeod resulted in the annihilation of the MacDonald perpetrators.
The battle was named the 'Battle of the Spoiling of the Dyke' or 'Blar Milleadh Garaidh' - so called because, when all was over the MacDonald clansmen were buried by the toppling of a great dyke or wall of turf onto their bodies. A famous 'pibroch' or pipe tune commemorates the event.
The inscription on the monument on the photograph on this page which commemorates an earlier battle reads:
Cross of John's Son - White Cross.
To commemorate Roderick MacLeod of Unish who fell in the second battle of Waternish which was fought on this moor against the MacDonalds of Trotternish circa 1530. Roderick was the the son of John of Waternish and grandson of Alasdair Ruadh of Trumpan.