Caisteal Maol

Caisteal Maol

This was built by the MacKinnon's in the late fifteenth century. This ruined castle sits on a headland above the village of Kyleakin/Caol Acain on the east coast of the Isle of Skye/An t-Eilean Sgitheanach across the bridge from Kyle of Lochalsh/Caol Loch Aillse. Carbon dating from part of the existing remains suggest that the castle that can be seen now was costructed between 1490 and 1513. However, it is possible that another fort stood here before the present structure.

During the late middle ages the castle was known as 'Dunakin'. The western isles of Scotland formed part of the Norse-Gael Kingdom of Mann and the Isles and had strong links to Norway. In 1263 the Norwegian King Haakon sailed with his fleet through the narrows to meet King Alexander III of Scotland at the Battle of Largs.

Legend tells that the castle was built by a Norwegian princess known as 'Saucy Mary' who was married to a Mackinnon chief. It is said that she derived an income by stretching a large chain across the Kyle. She would exact  tolls from all ships passing through the narrows except from those from her own land. Upon her death her remains were interred beneath a cairn in nearby Beinn na Caillaich so that the winds from her native land could pass over her final resting place.

The ruins of the castle are in a beautiful location and can be reached by a coastal path. However, you need to take account of the tides. It is well worth a visit and at night time the remains of the castle are floodlit and look spectacular standing high above the water.

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Saucy Mary

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