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TITLE
Caistel Maol
EXTERNAL ID
HCD_PRINT_007
PLACENAME
Kyleakin
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Strath
DATE OF IMAGE
1995
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
David L. Roberts
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
13203
KEYWORDS
castles
ruins
reconstruction
Mackinnons
Caisteal Maol
Caistel Maol

This watercolour reconstruction by David L. Roberts shows Caisteal Maol at Kyleakin on Skye as it appeared around 1600. It is situated on a rocky outcrop in a strategically commanding position overlooking the strait between Skye and the mainland, where until 1995 a ferry crossed daily.

The castle, the home of the Mackinnons of Strathaird, probably dates from the late 15th century. Tradition relates that a Norwegian princess married to a Mackinnon chief held the castle and exacted tolls from passing vessels, ensuring payment by stretching a chain across the narrows. 'Saucy Mary' as she was known, is said to be buried at the top of Beinn na Caillaich where winds from her native country can fan her resting place.

The castle was originally known as Dunakin, named after King Haakon of Norway, as is the village of Kyleakin close by, suggesting that an earlier fort may have stood on the site. In 1263, Haakon's fleet sailed through the strait to defend the lands under Scandinavian rule, but was met with defeat at Largs. The name Dunakin seems to have survived at least until the late 16th century, and the Mackinnons abandoned their residence for more comfortable surroundings elsewhere on Skye fairly soon after. The castle assumed its present name, meaning "bare", after it had been deserted and following collapse.

In structure, the building was similar to Caisteal Uisdean, a small but substantial rectangular tower of perhaps three or four storeys, with the only entrance through a door on the first floor. Neglect and the elements have taken their toll, however, and only part of one wall remains.

The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to provide reconstruction paintings of historical buildings for Dualchas, the local Museums Service. Based on surviving ruins, antiquarian illustrations, and a certain amount of educated supposition, the paintings were produced to illustrate The Mediaeval Castles of Skye and Lochalsh, first published in 1990. This book, republished in 2007, gives detailed descriptions of the architecture of each castle.


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Caistel Maol

INVERNESS: Strath

1990s

castles; ruins; reconstruction; Mackinnons; Caisteal Maol

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

David L. Roberts' Prints and Drawings

This watercolour reconstruction by David L. Roberts shows Caisteal Maol at Kyleakin on Skye as it appeared around 1600. It is situated on a rocky outcrop in a strategically commanding position overlooking the strait between Skye and the mainland, where until 1995 a ferry crossed daily.<br /> <br /> The castle, the home of the Mackinnons of Strathaird, probably dates from the late 15th century. Tradition relates that a Norwegian princess married to a Mackinnon chief held the castle and exacted tolls from passing vessels, ensuring payment by stretching a chain across the narrows. 'Saucy Mary' as she was known, is said to be buried at the top of Beinn na Caillaich where winds from her native country can fan her resting place.<br /> <br /> The castle was originally known as Dunakin, named after King Haakon of Norway, as is the village of Kyleakin close by, suggesting that an earlier fort may have stood on the site. In 1263, Haakon's fleet sailed through the strait to defend the lands under Scandinavian rule, but was met with defeat at Largs. The name Dunakin seems to have survived at least until the late 16th century, and the Mackinnons abandoned their residence for more comfortable surroundings elsewhere on Skye fairly soon after. The castle assumed its present name, meaning "bare", after it had been deserted and following collapse.<br /> <br /> In structure, the building was similar to Caisteal Uisdean, a small but substantial rectangular tower of perhaps three or four storeys, with the only entrance through a door on the first floor. Neglect and the elements have taken their toll, however, and only part of one wall remains.<br /> <br /> The artist, David L. Roberts (1931 - 1997), set up the Orbost Gallery on the Isle of Skye after moving there in 1975. With a background in architectural studies, he was able to combine his artistic talents and knowledge of structures to provide reconstruction paintings of historical buildings for Dualchas, the local Museums Service. Based on surviving ruins, antiquarian illustrations, and a certain amount of educated supposition, the paintings were produced to illustrate The Mediaeval Castles of Skye and Lochalsh, first published in 1990. This book, republished in 2007, gives detailed descriptions of the architecture of each castle. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image can be purchased.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href= "mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com" >Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>