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TITLE
Castle Moil and the Old Pier, Kyleakin, Skye
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_CARD_042
PLACENAME
Kyleakin
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Strath
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
12866
KEYWORDS
castles
ruins
islands
Castle Moil and the Old Pier, Kyleakin, Skye

A postcard of the remains of Castle Moil, which overlook the harbour at the village of Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye. Castle Moil (in Gaelic, Caisteal Maol) was a three-story stronghold of the MacKinnons, dating from the 15th century. Tradition has it that there was a much earlier castle on the site, associated with the fourth MacKinnon chief, Findanus, and his Norwegian wife, a princess nicknamed 'Saucy Mary'. It is said that the pair ran a chain across the narrows and levied a toll on passing vessels.

Eilean Bàn, a small island located between Kyleakin and Kyle of Lochalsh is seen here behind Castle Moil. The Eilean Bàn lighthouse was designed by Thomas and David Stevenson and completed in 1857. When the lighthouse became automated, the lighthouse keepers' cottages were put up for sale and were purchased in 1963 by Gavin Maxwell. The naturalist, and author of 'Ring of Bright Water', lived full-time on Eilean Bàn from 1968 until his death in 1969. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1993.

It is thought that King Haakon IV of Norway assembled a large fleet of ships at Kyleakin prior to the Battle of Largs in 1263. Indeed the name Kyleakin is derived from the Gaelic Caol Acain, meaning 'Haakon's Kyle'. Alexander III of Scotland engaged Haakon at Largs in 1263 in a bid to regain control of the Inner and Outer Hebrides and Kintyre, which had been under Norwegian jurisdiction since about 1100. The battle was inconclusive, although Scotland eventually regained control of the lands in 1266.

In 1811, Lord MacDonald had plans to create a bustling town and harbour at Kyleakin. He commissioned James Gillespie Graham to draw up designs of the new town, which MacDonald styled 'New Liverpool'. The plans show Kyleakin filled with rows and crescents of terraced housing and a church with a tall, elegant spire. Only a few houses were constructed before the project ran out of money. In 1845, 'The New Statistical Account of Scotland' described the village as containing, "about a dozen of good slated houses...including some shops, and a very comfortable well-kept inn."

A ferry service operated across the narrows between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin until 1995, when it was replaced by the Skye Bridge.


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Castle Moil and the Old Pier, Kyleakin, Skye

INVERNESS: Strath

castles; ruins; islands

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

Dualchas Postcards

A postcard of the remains of Castle Moil, which overlook the harbour at the village of Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye. Castle Moil (in Gaelic, Caisteal Maol) was a three-story stronghold of the MacKinnons, dating from the 15th century. Tradition has it that there was a much earlier castle on the site, associated with the fourth MacKinnon chief, Findanus, and his Norwegian wife, a princess nicknamed 'Saucy Mary'. It is said that the pair ran a chain across the narrows and levied a toll on passing vessels. <br /> <br /> Eilean Bàn, a small island located between Kyleakin and Kyle of Lochalsh is seen here behind Castle Moil. The Eilean Bàn lighthouse was designed by Thomas and David Stevenson and completed in 1857. When the lighthouse became automated, the lighthouse keepers' cottages were put up for sale and were purchased in 1963 by Gavin Maxwell. The naturalist, and author of 'Ring of Bright Water', lived full-time on Eilean Bàn from 1968 until his death in 1969. The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1993.<br /> <br /> It is thought that King Haakon IV of Norway assembled a large fleet of ships at Kyleakin prior to the Battle of Largs in 1263. Indeed the name Kyleakin is derived from the Gaelic Caol Acain, meaning 'Haakon's Kyle'. Alexander III of Scotland engaged Haakon at Largs in 1263 in a bid to regain control of the Inner and Outer Hebrides and Kintyre, which had been under Norwegian jurisdiction since about 1100. The battle was inconclusive, although Scotland eventually regained control of the lands in 1266. <br /> <br /> In 1811, Lord MacDonald had plans to create a bustling town and harbour at Kyleakin. He commissioned James Gillespie Graham to draw up designs of the new town, which MacDonald styled 'New Liverpool'. The plans show Kyleakin filled with rows and crescents of terraced housing and a church with a tall, elegant spire. Only a few houses were constructed before the project ran out of money. In 1845, 'The New Statistical Account of Scotland' described the village as containing, "about a dozen of good slated houses...including some shops, and a very comfortable well-kept inn."<br /> <br /> A ferry service operated across the narrows between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin until 1995, when it was replaced by the Skye Bridge. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a><br />