Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Skye, Isay

Township (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Skye, Isay

Classification Township (Period Unassigned)

Alternative Name(s) Iosaigh

Canmore ID 10917

Site Number NG25NW 4

NGR NG 2194 5715

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2019.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

  • Council Highland
  • Parish Duirinish
  • Former Region Highland
  • Former District Skye And Lochalsh
  • Former County Inverness-shire

Recording Your Heritage Online


(Norse: porpoise isle) Small isle at the entrance to Loch Bay, with ruins of a fishing station founded in 1830 for those evicted from Bracadale. In 1841 it supported some 15 families'in considerable comfort', but was cleared soon after. The settlement comprised a street of more than 18 cottages, and a general store. For more on Isay's history see p.257. Isay House, 18th century, with core of c.1540 Ruin of small but significant three-bay house with a stone balustered forestair serving the piano nobile on the south front.

[It was at Isay House that Roderick Macleod of Lewis ('Nimheach' - the venemous) implemented a gruesome trick in the 16th century, resulting in the murder of two whole families in order that his grandson might inherit Raasay and the lands of Gairloch. In 1773, the venerable Dr Johnson was greatly amused when his host, Macleod of Dunvegan, offered him Isay as a gift on condition he resided there at least one month every year. The offer greatly took his fancy, but was gracefully declined.]

Taken from "Western Seaboard: An Illustrated Architectural Guide", by Mary Miers, 2008. Published by the Rutland Press

Archaeology Notes

NG25NW 4 2194 5715.

(NG 219 570) Isay: shown as a township c.1600 (J Blaeu 1662) .... total depopulation before 1875 (OS 6"map, Inverness-shire, 1st ed., 1880).

J Blaeu 1662; Visited by OS (A C) 20 January 1961.

The township of Isay was built c.1830 by MacDonald of Waternish as a small fishing community for people evicted from Bracadale, but did not last for more than about 30 years. The houses were constructed by a mason brought from Edinburgh, assisted by local labour (Information from Mr MacDonald, Land-owner, Waternish House).

The depopulated township comprises about 13 large ruined houses of a type not normally met with in Skye, with outbuildings and yards which stretch along the E shore of Isay, just above high water mark. There are also extensive areas of lazy-beds.

The large building at NG 220 517 was built c.1750 as a summer-house for the MacDonalds (Information from Mr MacDonald). It is of two storeys, constructed of rubble masonry, but now roofless. (Visible on RAF air photographs CPE/Scot/UK 175: 1385-6)

Visited by OS (A C) 20 January 1961.

A township, comprising twenty-eight unroofed buildings and eight enclosures is depicted on the 1st edition of the OS 6-inch map (Inverness-shire, Isle of Skye 1880, sheet xv). Twenty-eight buildings and three enclosures are shown on the current edition of the OS 1:10560 map (1968).

Information from RCAHMS (AKK) 15 October 1996.


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions