Kyleakin is a Village on the Isle of
Skye, by the Skye Bridge, 33 miles south
of Portree, largest town on Skye.
The Village is popular for the
Brightwater Visitor Centre covering the
book about Otters by Gavin Maxwell,
visits to Eilean Ban Island where Maxwell
lived, and Glass Bottomed Boat Trips.
View a Click on Map for the Area
Attractions and Mountains.
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
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
Saucy Mary's Lodge is
an 86 bed Hostel with a Bar Diner, also looking
across Loch Alsh. This Hostel is named after a
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 situated by the Harbour with a
Bronze Otter outside. The Centre covers the
Book and Film - Ring of Bright Water, released
by Gavin Maxwell
in 1960. Maxwell lived in this area from 1956
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 can
book tours through the Brightwater Visitor
Centre. There is a small car park on the Skye
Bridge for visits.
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
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
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
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
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
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
1968 - Gavin Maxwell's cottage burned down,
leading to him moving to a cottage on Eilean
Ban Island between Kyle of Lochalsh and
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
1995 - the Skye Bridge was completed, leading to
the end of the Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin