Isle of Skye Stories and Tips

Kyleakin & Castle Moil

Photo of Isle of Skye, Scotland

Kyleakin is a small village that used to receive the ferries that departed from Kyle of Lochalsh to Skye before the Skye Bridge took over the task.

About 200 years ago, Lord Macdonald planned developing Kyleakin as a model new town of "New Liverpool", but not much of that came to fruition.

The loss of the ferry traffic put the hamlet more off the beaten track somehow, with the main A87 road that goes north bypassing the village. However, it has reinvented itself somewhat as a location for backpackers' hostels and gets actually fairly busy in the summer, while at other times it's a sleepy place.

I wouldn't make a big point of going to Kyelakin on purpose, however if you have an hour or two to spare in the area, it's worth the little detour or a 2-mile walk from the Skye Bridge roundabout.

The views down Lochalsh are pretty good, and the Kyleakin harbour is rather picturesque. You can climb the hill above the village, or for a less taxing little walk, go along the shingle beach opposite the harbour, past some decoratively dilapidated fishing vessels and to the ancient ruin of Castle Moil, a 15th century castle that used to guard the narrows and from which the legendary princess called Saucy Mary (after whom a popular hostel in the village is named) extracted a toll from vessels passing through.

The ruin is small, but the views from the top of the little hillock on which it stands are excellent, especially towards the bridge, and on a not-too-midgey day it's a nice place to have a picnic lunch.

Kyleakin is also the location for Bright Water Visitor Centre, where you can discover the biodiversity of the local area and book the tour of the islet of Eilen Ban. It supports the Skye Bridge now, but it's known for its Stephenson lighthouse and the cottage of Gavin Maxwell, of the ''Ring of Bright Water'' otter novel fame.

Kyleakin hall hosts many local performances, and when the mobile cinema Screen Machine comes to the area, it parks at the Kyleakin village car park.

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