Waternish is a geographical name of multiple, analogous meanings. Geophysically it is a peninsula in the north of Skye extending southward from Waternish Point, which is a Scottish Gaelic name of Scandinavian etymology. In the Kingdom of the Isles period a political unity developed under the rule of the Macleod Clan, based at Dunvegan Castle on the west base of the peninsula. When clan rule ended Waternish became an estate, their personal property. Waternish Estate survives today and is brokered by the modern clan, which also manages the castle, a tourist attraction with expanded botanical gardens, and a private art museum. Crofters had been encouraged to settle in a number of hamlets, termed towns, or villages. The Scottish Parliament referred to the area as a district. To the Scottish church it was also a parish. Starting in 1973 the Local Government (Scotland) Act united Waternish into a single community, which would be governed by an elected body, the Waternish Community Council. Today the informal term Waternish, or Waternish township, might refer to any or all of the hamlets in the community, which are termed loosely villages or towns.


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