logo image


RS Home

Kyleakin is a Village on the Isle of Skye, by the Skye Bridge, 33 miles south of Portree. The Village is popular for Glass Bottomed Boat Trips, and visits to Eilean Ban Island where Gavin Maxwell lived, covering the book about Otters by Gavin Maxwell named Ring of Brightwater. Postcode: IV41 8PL

For Images on Mobile swipe right

Kyleakin Map Large Images
Hotels B&Bs Restaurants
Shops   Self Catering

Click on Map for Area Attractions

Attractions List

Camping & Touring Parks in area

The image top is from the Skye Bridge looking south to Kyleakin with the Boat being the Glass Bottomed Boat named Seaprobe Atlantis. This trip allows you to view Wildlife and a Shipwreck from above the water and below. There is also a fast RIB. Website.

The second image is from the Shingle Beach that runs from the Skye Bridge to Kyleakin Harbour.

The Kings Arms Hotel is in the centre of the Village looking across Loch Alsh to the Kyle of Lochalsh Village. Before the Skye Bridge was completed in 1995, regular Car Ferries ran between these two Villages, about a 2 miles crossing.

Saucy Mary's Lodge is an 86 bed Hostel with a Bar Diner, also looking across Loch Alsh. This Hostel is named after a Viking Princess.

By the Harbour is a Gift Shop and Cafe /Diner named Castle Moil.

The Harbour has a modern seating area with views across to the ruins of Castle Moil, a 1400s Castle of Clan Mackinnon.

The Brightwater Visitor Centre is by the Harbour with a Bronze Otter outside, Currently Closed. The Centre covered the Book and Film - Ring of Bright Water, released by Gavin Maxwell in 1960. Maxwell lived in this area from 1956 to 1969.

The Skye Bridge crosses Loch Alsh about 1 mile north of Kyleakin. Part of the Bridge is built on Eilan Ban Island, where Gavin Maxwell lived from 1968 till he died in 1969.

The Cottage where Maxwell lived on Eilan Ban is now a Museum that can be visited. You used to be able to book tours through the Brightwater Visitor Centre, but that is closed just now. There is a small Car Park on the Skye Bridge for visits.

Kyleakin History

800s - Vikings began populating the Western Isles of Scotland and the Isle of Skye.

900s - Findanus MacKinnon, 4th Clan Chief, is said to have taken control of this area after marrying a Viking Princess known as Saucy Mary. They built a Fortification at Kyleakin Harbour and used a heavy Chain across the narrow passage so they could extort money out of passing Ships.

1263 - King Haakon IV is said to have assembled his fleet of Longships at Kyleakin before the Battle of Largs. Haakon's defeat at Largs led to the Vikings being forced out of the Western Isles, and later, the Northern Isles.

1400s - the Castle Moil seen today is built for Clan Mackinnon at Kyleakin Harbour.

1500s - Settlements are believed to have grown at Kyleakin and Kyle of Lochalsh, as it is one of the shortest crossings from the Mainland to the Isle of Skye.

1600s - Castle Moil was abandoned by Clan Mackinnon.

1746 - the Battle of Culloden by Inverness was the last defeat for the Jacobite's, final major Battle on the British mainland.

Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped the Government Troops at Culloden, then traveled by Boat to the Isle of Skye where Flora MacDonald helped him travel to safety in France. This event led to the Isle of Skye becoming the most famous Island in Scotland.

1819 - the Road from Inverness was completed to Kyle of Lochalsh, leading to the main Ferry route being between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin.

1842 - Queen Victoria takes the first of her many tours of Scotland, giving great reviews, leading to many Tourists visiting Scotland.

1884 - the Skye Boat Song was published with the section - Speed bonny boat like a bird on a wing, Onward the sailors cry. Carry the lad that’s born to be King, Over the sea to Skye. Many people visiting Skye were inspired to do so by this song.

1897 - the Railway between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh was completed, through one of the most remote areas of Scotland.

This led to the Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin ferries becoming the main route to the Isle of Skye.

Larger Mail / Passenger Ships were also introduced at that time, operating between Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Lewis, about an 80 mile trip by sea.

1956 - Gavin Maxwell moved to a Cottage at Sandaig, a remote area 28 miles south of Kyle of Lochalsh. Maxwell had an Otter he brought back from a trip to Iraq. This led to his book about Otters named Ring of Bright Water, a best seller, also used for a Film.

1960s - the small Ferries for the short crossing between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin on Skye could only carry 6 cars, leading to long lines of Cars waiting to cross in summer.

1968 - Gavin Maxwell's Cottage burned down, leading to him moving to a cottage on Eilean Ban Island between Kyle of Lochalsh and Kyleakin.

1969 - Gavin Maxwell died, with Eilean Ban Island being converted to a Tourist Attraction.

1970 - new larger Ferries were added to the Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin crossing that could carry 28 Cars.

1973 - much larger Ferries for the Isle of Lewis trip led to Ullapool being used for this service. Ullapool is 85 miles north of Kyleakin, with a much larger Port, and crossings from there are about 30 miles shorter.

1995 - the Skye Bridge was completed, leading to the end of the Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin Ferries.

RS Home


Kyleakin Photos