Font Size

100% 150% 200%

Background Colour

Default Contrast
Close Reset

Skye, Kyleakin, General

Village (Period Unassigned)

Site Name Skye, Kyleakin, General

Classification Village (Period Unassigned)

Canmore ID 99313

Site Number NG72NE 84

NGR NG 75266 26383

NGR Description Centred NG 75266 26383

Datum OSGB36 - NGR


Ordnance Survey licence number 100057073. All rights reserved.
Canmore Disclaimer. © Copyright and database right 2021.

Toggle Aerial | View on large map

Digital Images

Administrative Areas

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

Recording Your Heritage Online

Kyleakin (Caol Acain) (Norse:Haakon's Sound or Narrows) Former ferry village, the lifeblood of which has been ebbing away beneath a parade of heritage lamposts since the Skye Bridge effectively cut it off. Not that it ever amounted to much more than a pleasant settlement around a pier, with a couple of churches and a handful of houses and hotels. Certainly, Kyleakin is a far cry from Lord Macdonald's grand vision for a metropolis here, for which he proposed the name New Liverpool. James Gillespie Graham, commissioned in 1811 , designed a crescent-shaped town of elegant spires and terraces embracing a port 'for the convenience of vessels frequenting this great thoroughfare of navigation'. But building work reached a standstill, and by 1829 only four principal houses had been constructed, leaving their builders bankrupt; '… few persons of capital or respectability… declared a Report on the Macdonald Estate in 1830, 'could think of building in so remote a place as Kyleakin either for business or pleasure …'. By 1845 the best Kyleakin could boast was a dozen good slated houses, a few shops and a well-kept inn. Later, plans for a Skye railhead here also proved abortive. The Free Church, J. Pond Macdonald, 1896-7, is cottagey gothic with red ridge tiles, now shorn of its timber bellcote. The Kings Arms Hotel has J. Gillespie Graham's inn of c.1812 -20 at its core - visible today from the rear, where part of a terrace is reminiscent of those at Stein and Dornie.

[In 1263 King Haakon anchored in Kyle Akin with 100 ships before sailing south through Kyle Rhea en route for the Battle of Largs, where he was defeated by Alexander III.]

[Georgian Planned villages in the Highlands were conceived as centres of commerce and industry rather than rural paternalism. Nic Allen has contrasted the "urban absurdity"of Georgian terraces and crescents straggling across the peat hags of Skye' with the 'absurdity of the rural idyll - cottages ornees and Gothyke dairies - which we associate with the planned estate villages of the south'.]

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

Architecture Notes

NG72NE 84 centred 75266 26383


Skye, Kyleakin-Township.

Architect: James Gillespie Graham. c. 1810


Scottish Record Office.

Plan of the proposed town of Kyleakin.

Account for a 'reduced plan' and the printing of 300 impressions of the engraving. It amounts to 44.14.3

Certified as correct by James Gillespie, Architect, and receipted by John Bell.

1811 GD 221/28/17, Account and GD 221/49/2 Payment noted.

Building erected at Kylekin for fishing offices.

Letter concerning the work, from James Ferguson to John McPherson, Chamberlain at Portree.

1812 GD 221/27/18

Names for streets and squares of the new village.

James Gillespie informed Lord Macdonald's Commissioners that Lord Macdonald had declined to name the streets and squares. The Commisioners therefore submitted names to Lord MacDonald on a plan and asked him to approve or alter. Minutes.

1812 GD 221/48/17

Freight of Plans for the new village.

Receipted account from John Laird and Co.

The freight included plans, a frame for a plan and the Feu contract.

1813 GD 221/68/3/1

Laying the foundatin of the village.

Expense of entertainment.

Expense of meat to workmen cutting and lining the front street, measuring the streets and laying the back street.

Items included in account from Mr Gillespie, Architect.

1812-1813 GD 221/49/2

Report on lack of progress in building the projected town. Building is at a standstill. It is considered that it was begun on too great a scale and those who built the four principal houses are bankrupt. Smaller houses costing 150 pounds are to be encouraged but the principal street is to be left for the envisaged larger houses. James Ferguson is to investigate the possibility of making a large unroofed house into an Inn. Report on Lord Macdonald's Estate in Skye.

1829 GD 221/121


Scottish Record Office.

Skye, Kyleakin.

RHP 5998. - J. Gillespie - engraving of plan and elevations of houses.


MyCanmore Image Contributions

Contribute an Image

MyCanmore Text Contributions