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The Chatelaine's Scottish Castles

Caisteal Maol

Kyleakin, Isle of Skye

Castle Mao, Scotland
Castle Maol © Anthony Dodd | Dreamstime.com

Opposite Kyle of Lochalsh and the Skye Bridge, Caisteal Maol sits on a small island just to the east of Kyleakin. The name of the village comes from 'kyle' - the narrow strait of water between Skye and the mainland - and 'akin' after the Norwegian King Haakon IV who sailed through here in 1263 on his way to defeat at the Battle of Largs which ultimately decided the ownership of the Hebrides.

castle photo
© The Internet Guide to Scotland

Near the main car park in Kyleakin, take the gravel path up to the cross on the hillock as it is a viewpoint where you will get some good photos (this one was taken in August 1999 when the heather was in full bloom).

It is thought that a Norwegian princess started the first toll here - by stretching a chain across the strait and stopping boats getting through without paying. Known as Saucy Mary, she is reflected with her name in the village today! Tradition says that she built Caisteal Maol when she was married to one of the MacKinnon chiefs. It is known to have been built around 1490-1500 and was at one time called Dunakin (Hakon's fort). Bits of the castle collapsed in 1949 and 1989 but the remaining walls have now been secured to prevent further collapse.

photo
© The Internet Guide to Scotland

Kyle of Lochalsh photo
Kyle of Lochalsh viewed from Kyleakin
© The Internet Guide to Scotland

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