Elgol – The Perfect Place to Relax!
Elgol on the Isle of Skye: Perhaps you have never heard of the little fishing and crofting village but there is a good chance you have seen photos of Elgol’s famous mountain and seascape scenery. The village appears in postcards, Scottish books and even film scenes and television programmes. – and for good reason! From the larger Skye village of Broadford many visitors have ventured down the enchanting Elgol road completely unaware of the magnificent scenes that await them around almost every corner.
Whichever way you travel to the Isle of Skye, you will have come through some of the country’s most spectacular scenery. Even so, the last 15 miles of your journey from Broadford to the village of Elgol will take your breath away. This route is one of ever-changing vistas ranging from fjord-like sea lochs, picturesque crofting communities to the splendour of Blaven and the neighbouring Cuillin range. Add to this the areaís rich cultural and historical background and you have the perfect place to re-charge and refresh.
Elgol – The Origins of the Name.
The Isle of Skye has had a turbulent, and often bloody, history. And, from the earliest Celtic times Vikings, Picts, and Highland Clans, have all tried to dominate and control the island. Some think that the name Elgol derives from the Gaelic for ‘the weeping swan’. Folklore details the story of a Viking captain who perished when his longboat named The Swan came to attack the local population.
Others believe that in the old Norse language Elgol means Holy Hill (Helga Hollr). About 1600 years ago the Gaelic language got a foothold in the south-west Highlands and over the next century or two spread to most of the rest of the country. Elgol, like the rest of the Isle of Skye, is traditionally a Gaelic speaking area and, (in the main,) place names here are either Gaelic or of Gaelic origin. But curiously, the name itself and several others in the neighbourhood, are not from Gaelic but named by Vikings who around a thousand years ago came not only to pillage and plunder but also to settle.
The spiritual link with the village’s name is plausible enough since the district between Broadford and Elgol was the focus of the christianising work undertaken by St Maelrubha or St Maree. In AD 673 he arrived on the Isle of Skye at Ashaig, just south of Broadford and from there his influence spread throughout the whole island. Along the route are many place names suggesting early Christian establishments, for example Kilchrist, Kilbride and, of course, Kilmaree. The ‘Kil’ part of these names is from the Gaelic Cille or church. So Kilmaree means Maelrubhaís Church. If you are lucky enough to be in Elgol on the 27th August, spare a thought for Maelrubha because this is his special day.
Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cave
In his last days in Scotland, Bonnie prince Charlie hid in a cave just to the south of Elgol. The cave is well hidden in this spectacular piece of coastline, and is accessible through an arch in the cliffs. The geology is fascinating, but donít get too distracted, be sure to check locally on the state of the tides, as the cave is inaccessible at high tide, and you don’t want to be stranded! There are various other caves dotted along the coastline between the Elgol jetty and Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cave.
The Mackinnon Family’s Link with Elgol
Near Kilmaree is the now-ruined fort of Dunringell. This was the ancient seat of the MacKinnons, the areaís traditional clan or family. Subsequently the MacKinnon chief and his retinue went to live in the Castle Moil in Kyleakin. But MacKinnons are still very much to the fore in Elgol.
Both Seumas and Stuart (the Misty Isle skipper and crew) were taught at the beautiful Elgol Primary School on the shores. You will see Elgol school as you board the Misty Isle – and will probably envy the children who get their education in such an idyllic setting! Having lived in Elgol all of his life, Seumas began running boat trips to Loch Coruisk back in 1967 and has done so on and off ever since then.
What to do in Elgol.
Elgol is a great starting point to access several famous walks – most notably the coastal walk to Camasunary and on from there to Loch Coruisk, or the less strenuous walk along the other side of the coast to Bonnie Prince Charlie’s cave. Visitors to Elgol are often treated to a large variety of bird and wildlife sightings, often realising with surprise that there are red deer slowly meandering through their garden!
Tourists in Elgol have the opportunity to refresh themselves whiles in the village – There is a Restaurant, a cafe, and of course the village shop which also sells teas, coffees and home baking as well as the famous Art Floats. Also keep an eye out for events taking place in the recently-built village hall while you are staying in the area. There is a little church in Elgol – church services take place there on the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month and a warm welcome is extended to locals and visitors alike.
Bed & Breakfast in Elgol.
Please feel free to contact us for details of other accommodation options in the village.