In part, all are the result of his passion for a way of life that is passing from this remote island, where puffs of sheep back up against views of the Minch, the strait of Atlantic seawater that divides the Highland archipelago.
But they are also an offshoot of his battle with bipolar disorder, he said. His projects, he explained, are a way to channel bouts of mania into productive work, allowing him to fixate on hewing rubble to build a replica croft wall, or digging up every last piece of information on a giant who shares his last name.
“I flip — and that’s the word to use — and I have to bear the consequences,” Mr. MacAskill said with a laugh. “Now I’ve lived 28 years with a giant.”
It doesn’t matter to him that the giant isn’t even from Skye; Angus was born on a nearby island and at about 6 years old, moved to Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, where there is another Giant Angus MacAskill Museum.
As Danny MacAskill grew up, he played inside the museum, beside the giant’s 17 1/2-inch feet. He also first honed his skills there, flipping his bicycle off the roof of his home, beside the thatched croft.
Illicitly rifling through the box holding admission fees, the younger Mr. MacAskill said, paid for sweets — but was not enough to cover frequent repairs to his mangled bikes. A video he posted in 2009 of his tricks in the streets of Edinburgh, biking along wrought iron fences and somersaulting over police barricades, went viral and started his professional career as a trick, or street trials, rider.
Over the years, the museum has acquired documentation of his feats. Glossy magazine spreads of him mid-wheelie are tacked beside exhibits like descriptions of the giant hauling a one-ton anchor from a quay, and replicas of Angus’s voluminous wool stockings and supersized coffin. That currently holds brochures.
But even though Mr. MacAskill grew up on stories of Angus, his father’s grand visions loomed larger than the giant’s exploits. In Dunvegan, with a population of 300 working-class residents, most of whom raise sheep as a side business to make ends meet, big dreams can seem to be for people from elsewhere. His father not only dreamed things up, he made them happen.
“My father, he’s come up with these slightly more unusual, eccentric ideas, but then he’s gone out there and followed them through,” said the son, who has been airlifted to the tops of mountains to skid down their side, and built a supersized replica of his childhood toys to shoot a video of him doing 360s over enormous children’s books and playthings. “I see that kind of madness in myself.”
Today, more people who have seen videos of Mr. MacAskill jumping cliff-to-cliff on the Black Cuillins show up at the museum, than anyone who ever heard of the Giant Angus MacAskill and his chest that was more than six and a half feet around.
That Angus is in his son’s shadow these days is fine with Peter MacAskill — to a point. “The giant lived in a time without modern communications,” he said. “He would have been more than well-known if he was on YouTube.
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