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Welcome to

Elgol and Torrin Historical Society

This page displays a selection of photographs held by the Elgol and Torrin Historical Society.

At a gala day back in 1966 three people shared their common concern around the amount of local history being lost because of the lack of a local body to collate, record and store information. They chose to do something about it, called a public meeting and the Elgol and Torrin Historical Society (Comunn Eachdraidh Ealaghol agus Na Torran) was born.

With financial assistance from the Skye and Lochalsh Enterprise, volunteers started the onerous task of scanning and archiving photographs of the local area and from wider afield. To date over 1,600 photographs have been catalogued and a small sample of these are shown on this page.

Please note that all photographs remain the copyright of the original photographers and are published here with the kind permission of the Society.

The Society Today

Click to enlarge
The cover of the 2009 Elgol and Torrin Historical Society newsletter. The photograph of Blaven from Kilchrist is by Donnie Mackay of Elgol.
The 2009 society newsletter.

The thriving Society today has a permanent base in the Elgol Village Hall with in excess of 150 members from all around the globe. In addition to the regular meetings and talks that it organises throughout the year, a high-quality newsletter is published annually in the autumn. The Society also acts as a rich source of genealogical information for the area and has a record of gravestones in the area.

Click to visit the Society's Facebook page

You can join the Elgol and Torrin Historical Society for a nominal annual subscription via their fledgling website here. Since September 2012 the Society has had an active presence on Facebook where photographs from the collection are regularly shared and discussed.

Click on any photograph below to see an enlargement of the image. Once you have opened a photograph hover your mouse over the image to see a toolbar of options that includes a slideshow and manually scrolling from one image to the next.

Elgol

This section contains a collection of photographs from Elgol and the surrounding area. Some of the photographs on this page are credited to Luton-born photographer Eric G. Meadows (1924-2009) who was a regular visitor to the Isle of Skye in the 1950s and 1960s with his Rolleiflex and ¼-plate Sanderson cameras.

"Landing at Loch Scavaig for Loch Coruisk". Click to enlarge.
"Landing at Loch Scavaig for Loch Coruisk"

A postcard showing the original landing steps. The trip across Loch Scavaig to Coruisk is still popular today with day trippers and walkers with the choice of sailings by Bella Jane Boat Trips and Misty Isle Boat Trips from the jetty at Elgol.
Crofting at Elgol. Click to enlarge.
Crofting at Elgol

Seamus and Lachie Mash crofting at Elgol.
"Elgol Village, Isle of Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Elgol Village, Isle of Skye"

An early postcard view of Elgol. The house at the right hand side is now in a ruinous state as may be seen in an infra-red image of it on the Gallery page.
"Elgol School and Schoolhouse, Isle of Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Elgol School and Schoolhouse, Isle of Skye"

A postcard showing the school with quite possibly the best view in the United Kingdom. The cottage with the thatched roof no longer exists but stones from the ruin have been reused in the building of one of Mary's Cottages.
Elgol. Click to enlarge.
Elgol

Jessie Curstaigh Lachlainn who lived on the shoreline in the now extinct cottage between Elgol school and Port Elgol holiday cottage "Eilidh Eoghains".
"Elgol, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Elgol, Skye"

A postcard showing the thatched cottage below "Craigard".
"The Island of Rhum from Elgol, Isle of Skye". Click to enlarge.
"The Island of Rhum from Elgol, Isle of Skye"

A postcard Elgol under an atmospheric sky. Note the two cars and lorry outside the cottage in the foreground.
"Elgol, Skye. Showing the Hill". Click to enlarge.
"Elgol, Skye. Showing the Hill"

Actually this postcard omits to show the steepest part of the "Hill" up from the pier!
Alistair 'Ruaidh' Mackinnon by the School Wall, Elgol. Click to enlarge.
Alistair 'Ruaidh' Mackinnon by the School Wall, Elgol

A wonderfully atmospheric photograph of a proud fisherman. This is probably a very early photography, possibly an albumen print, which required a slow shutter speed. Notice that the fisherman could not keep his upper body still during the long exposure.
The Postie. Click to enlarge.
The Postie

Murdo the postman at Elgol.
Grand View Tea Rooms, Elgol. Click to enlarge.
Grand View Tea Rooms, Elgol

Peggy "Bheag" MacIntosh at Grand View Tea Rooms. The signwriter clearly had to add the additional letter 's' at the end of 'tea' and just managed to squeeze in the 'refreshments'.
Peat Cutting. Click to enlarge.
Peat Cutting

Johnathan Grant cutting peat at Meabost near Elgol. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 26th April 1957.
Making Hay. Click to enlarge.
Making Hay

Angus and Katie Morrison making winter stacks at N°. 13 Elgol. The top of the completed stack will have a piece of canvas placed on it's crown to prevent the rain soaking in to it. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows.
Corn Stooks. Click to enlarge.
Corn Stooks

Lachie Padraig and his sister Nellie making corn stooks at N°. 12 Elgol. Notice the sheaf bound around the top of each completed stook to protect it from the wind and the rain. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows.
Milking. Click to enlarge.
Milking

John MacArthur of "Fernlea" Elgol milking his cow. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 17th June 1957.
Elgol. Click to enlarge.
Elgol

Kate "Bheag" MacIntosh N°. 1 Elgol. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 5th September 1960.
Cow Walking. Click to enlarge.
Cow Walking

Chrissie MacIntosh of the "Old Post Office", Elgol taking a cow for a walk. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 13th June 1953.
Elgol from the Shore. Click to enlarge.
Elgol from the Shore

Another magnificent photograph by Eric G. Meadows taken on 29th May 1950.
Rhum from Ben Meabost. Click to enlarge.
Rhum from Ben Meabost

Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 28th May 1948
Murdo Mackinnon. Click to enlarge.
Murdo Mackinnon

Murdo Mackinnon (Murchadh Thearlaich) of N°. 4 Elgol.
Murdo Mackinnon. Click to enlarge.
Murdo Mackinnon

Murdo Mackinnon (Murchadh Thearlaich) of N°. 4 Elgol.
Elgol Bus. Click to enlarge.
Elgol Bus

Driver Roddy "Ruairidh" Nicolson with the Elgol bus. From 1953 until 1972 Lachlan Mackinnon of "Rockbank", 21 Elgol ran the bus service to Broadford. This picture shows his Austin K2 bus which operated on the route from the late 1950s. Roddy Nicolson continued to drive the route when in 1972 it became only the second Royal Mail Postbus in the country.
Ministry of Information. Click to enlarge.
Ministry of Information

A Ministry of Information van at Elgol school. The Ministry was the central government department responsible for publicity and propaganda during World War II. It was disbanded in March 1946.
Elgol. Click to enlarge.
Elgol

Lachie Mackinnon and wheelbarrow, Elgol. The present-day wooden telephone exchange stands to the left of the bend. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, September 1947.
Dun Grugaig, Glasnakille. Click to enlarge.
Dun Grugaig, Glasnakille

Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 1950.

Torrin

You can read more about the village of Torrin here.

"Ben Blaven from Torrin, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Ben Blaven from Torrin, Skye"

From an albumen print by prolific photographer George Washington Wilson (1823-1893) of Aberdeen.
"Ashbank Boarding House and Blaven". Click to enlarge.
"Ashbank Boarding House and Blaven"

N°. 3 Kilbride near Torrin. Note the car, tractor and lorry outside the house.
Torrin. Click to enlarge.
Torrin

Roddy Anderson his sister Mary and Lily the horse. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 15th June 1957.
N°. 9 Torrin. Click to enlarge.
N°. 9 Torrin

Mary Mackinnon and her son Neil who has recently returned home from the RAF. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 17th September 1947.
Scything. Click to enlarge.
Scything

John MacInnes of N°. 14 Torrin scything. Photograph by Eric G. Meadows.
Torrin. Click to enlarge.
Torrin

Catriona Mackenzie of N°. 2 Torrin. Another superb photograph by Eric G. Meadows, 5th September 1960.
"Torrin and the Cuillins, Isle of Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Torrin and the Cuillins, Isle of Skye"

A Tuck postcard showing Torrin Church in the background. The house in the foreground was extensively rebuild in 1940 when the corrugated shed that housed the Torrin shop was moved to a new site.
Torrin 1898. Click to enlarge.
Torrin 1898

This is thought to be the old house at N°. 14 Torrin and is now used as a barn.
Torrin Shop. Click to enlarge.
Torrin Shop

John and Sybil Mackinnon in the 1960s outside the shop in Torrin. The shop building was moved to here from its original location between 1937 and 1940. The building still stands to day and is used as a shed and garage, see the picture on the Gallery page.
Torrin Post Office. Click to enlarge.
Torrin Post Office

Neil Mackinnon (Neilie Ruadh) in the doorway of Torrin Post Office.
Torrin School. Click to enlarge.
Torrin School

Believed to be in 1924. The school closed in 1961 and is now used by Highland Council as an outdoor activity centre.
Sheep Shearing. Click to enlarge.
Sheep Shearing

Sheep shearing at at Torrin Fank, July 1938.
Butcher and Postman. Click to enlarge.
Butcher and Postman

Torrin butcher Ruari Anderson standing outside his shop in the former Torrin Quarry weighbridge talking to postman Nigel Nice.

Broadford

"Bank of Scotland and Post Office, Broadford". Click to enlarge.
"Bank of Scotland and Post Office, Broadford"

John MacInnes's Store, often referred to 'Top Shop', this is now the Mace Store.
"Broadford, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Broadford, Skye"

A wonderful postcard of Broadford showing the old stone pier.
"White Marble Quarry, Gilchrist, Broadford". Click to enlarge.
"White Marble Quarry, Gilchrist, Broadford"

A postcard showing the narrow gauge rope and steam operated quarry railway. See the Seven Miles page for more information on the quarry.
"Mill Road, Broadford". Click to enlarge.
"Mill Road, Broadford"

This postcard scene is barely recognisable today.
Paddle Steamer "Fusilier". Click to enlarge.
Paddle Steamer "Fusilier"

Macbraynes Paddle Steamer "Fusilier" at Broadford's new steamer pier. The 202 foot long steamer was built by J MacArthur in Paisley and was launched in 1888. She spent most of her life in Skye on the mail route between Mallaig, Kyle of Lochalsh, Broadford and Portree. She was finally scrapped in 1938.
"Broadford Hotel with Beinn na Caillich in Background, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Broadford Hotel with Beinn na Caillich in Background, Skye"

The Broadford Hotel, 'home' of the Drambuie liqueur.
"Broadford and Ben-na-Cailleach, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Broadford and Ben-na-Cailleach, Skye"

The bridge replaced the broad ford from which the village derived its name.
"Cambell's Hotel, Broadford, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Cambell's Hotel, Broadford, Skye"

Campbell's Temperance Hotel to the left was built circa 1880. The buildings to the right used to house a fish gutting and packing factory but were later converted in to stables for Cory Lodge. Today the hotel and the surrounding buildings are a sad sight having been left to slowly decay.
"Broadford Harbour". Click to enlarge.
"Broadford Harbour"

A Valentines postcard of Broadford harbour from the old pier.
"Ben-na-Caillich from Broadford, Isle of Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Ben-na-Caillich from Broadford, Isle of Skye"

The road is somewhat busier these days!
"Broadford from the West". Click to enlarge.
"Broadford from the West"

A Broadford Hotel postcard looking from the Elgol road back towards the hotel and Broadford.
"Milestone at Broadford, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Milestone at Broadford, Skye"

A Judges postcard of a milestone erected in Broadford by the Shaw family who owned the Shaw Saville & Company shipping line. The family owned a house in Sloane Gardens, London near Marble Arch and staff travelled with them from there to Corry Lodge, Broadford. The stone is no longer there.
Dunollie Hotel, Broadford. Click to enlarge.
Dunollie Hotel, Broadford

One of Broadford's three hotels on Main Street.
Old Mill and Bridge, Broadford. Click to enlarge.
Old Mill and Bridge, Broadford

The mill building on the left has long since lost it's ineffective looking water wheel and is now home to the Skye Serpentarium.
"Isle of Skye, Breakish". Click to enlarge.
"Isle of Skye, Breakish"

A Judges' postcard showing a bleak Breakish before de-crofting and the subsequent house-building boom.

Kyleakin

Kyleakin was once a bustling harbour village at the Skye end of the short ferry crossing from the mainland. With the ferries and steamers gone, fishing in decline and the Skye Bridge crossing bypassing the village entirely, it is now much quieter than in the past.

"The Pier, Kyleakin, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"The Pier, Kyleakin, Skye"

This hand-coloured postcard shows the Paddle Steamer 'Glencoe' approaching the wooden steam pier that was built especially for her. She is probably on her regular mail run between Kyle of Lochalsh, Portree and Gairloch. The pier was too short and difficult to use at low tide so it fell in to disuse and was finally removed in the late 1920s.
"The Ferry, Kyleakin, Skye (Showing Mainland)". Click to enlarge.
"The Ferry, Kyleakin, Skye (Showing Mainland)"

This Raphael Tuck postcard dates from around 1920 and shows one of the first turntable ferries at Kyleakin. Prior to this vehicles were carried across Loch Alsh on two planks lashed across the boats.
"A Native of Skye". Click to enlarge.
"A Native of Skye"

A woolly native above Kyleakin sometime in the 1920s. The Celtic cross War Memorial on the hill is made of granite from Peterhead and was unveiled on the 5th April 1921. Off to the left is the now largely abandoned and truncated steamer pier. The pier was removed at the end of the 1920s.
Kyleakin. Click to enlarge.
Kyleakin

This photograph is of Kyleakin prior to 1930. Once I can positively identify the steamer lying off the pier I may be able to say more!
'Broadford' at Kyleakin. Click to enlarge.
'Broadford' at Kyleakin

MV 'Broadford' was built in 1966 by James Lamont & Co. Ltd. of Port Glasgow at a cost of £34,000. In 1971 she and her two sisters were displaced by the new drive-through ferries MV 'Lochalsh' and MV 'Kyleakin'.
"The King's Arms Hotel, Kyleakin, and the Cuillins of Skye. Click to enlarge.
"The King's Arms Hotel, Kyleakin, and the Cuillins of Skye

This is probably the late 1920s. In the foreground the remains of the wooden steamer pier.
Skye Ferries. Click to enlarge.
Skye Ferries

Three turntable ferries at Kyleakin; MV 'Broadford', 'Lochalsh and 'Portree' (though not necessarily in that order.)
"Isle of Skye, Kyle Akin c. 1890. Click to enlarge.
"Isle of Skye, Kyle Akin c. 1890

A 1980 Victorian View postcard showing Kyleakin from Castle Moil.
Kyleakin. Click to enlarge.
Kyleakin

Note the Macbraynes turntable ferry at the pier and Macbraynes bus.
"T.R.H. The Duke & Duchess of York, Landing in Skye". Click to enlarge.
"T.R.H. The Duke & Duchess of York, Landing in Skye"

A Duncan Macpherson postcard of The Duke and Duchess of York landing at Kyleakin and being greeted by Lord MacDonald, Cameron of Lochiel and other local dignitaries. The original photograph was taken on 11th September 1933.

Kyle of Lochalsh

The name Kyle of Lochalsh did not exist before the arrival of the Highland Railway in 1897. Whilst Kyle is not on the Isle of Skye itself it has long been the mainland Gateway to Skye. The ferries from Glasgow, Portree and Stornoway may be long gone along with the queue of cars waiting to travel 'over the sea to Skye'. To many modern day motorists Kyle is little more than another village on the A87 road where they have to slow down to 30mph before crossing the Skye Bridge. Kyle retains a rich heritage and is still a popular railway terminus. Worthy of particular mention is 'The Chemist' Duncan Macpherson (1882-1966) of Kyle Pharmacy who did so much to publicise and popularise Kyle and Skye via his leaflets, books and postcards.

"Kyle of Lochalsh". Click to enlarge.
"Kyle of Lochalsh"

Notice the gate that could be closed across the street to direct livestock to and from the ferry slipway.
"Main Street, Kyle". Click to enlarge.
"Main Street, Kyle"

A similar view to the last postcard but notice that shops now occupy the ground on the inside of the corner.
"Kyle". Click to enlarge.
"Kyle"

Main Street, Kyle near the Police Station.
"Railway Cottages and American Barracks, Kyle of Lochalsh". Click to enlarge.
"Railway Cottages and American Barracks, Kyle of Lochalsh"

Another fine postcard by Duncan Macpherson, this time showing the United States Navy barracks at Kyle during World War I.
"Fishcuring at Kyle of Lochalsh". Click to enlarge.
"Fishcuring at Kyle of Lochalsh"

An early Duncan Macpherson postcard showing the woman at work down near where the BUTEC buildings now stand.
"'Claymore' Leaving Kyle of Lochalsh". Click to enlarge.
"'Claymore' Leaving Kyle of Lochalsh"

The SS 'Claymore' was the first ship commissioned by David Macbrayne. Launched in 1881 she was eventually sold for scrap in 1931 for £75.
"A Highland Cargo, Kyle of Lochalsh". Click to enlarge.
"A Highland Cargo, Kyle of Lochalsh"

A Valentines postcard of the Highland Railway's flat bottomed barge Number 2.
"'Over the Sea to Skye' from Kyle of Lochalsh". Click to enlarge.
"'Over the Sea to Skye' from Kyle of Lochalsh"

This is a Duncan Macpherson postcard of the Paddle Steamer 'Fusilier'. She was built in 1888 and scrapped in 1939. The ship at the railway pier is the Stornoway mail boat TSS 'Lochnevis'.
"At the Ferry, Kyle of Lochalsh". Click to enlarge.
"At the Ferry, Kyle of Lochalsh"

A queue of cars wait at the ferry slipway. The car nearest the camera is a Ford A Tudor dating from around 1928 with a Dundee registered with a Morris Cowley Tourer ahead of it.
Ferry "Portree" at Kyle of Lochalsh. Click to enlarge.
Ferry "Portree" at Kyle of Lochalsh

MV "Portree" at Kyle circa 1960. She and her two sisters were replaced on the route in 1971 after which they all had their turntables removed to accommodate more conventional bow loading ramps.

Skye

As already witnessed above, the Society's fine collection of photographs and postcards extends beyond the immediate area of Elgol and Torrin.

"Armadale Pier, Skye". Click to enlarge.
"Armadale Pier, Skye"

The SS 'Claymore' at the pier was the first ship commissioned by David Macbrayne. Launched in 1881 she was eventually sold for scrap in 1931 for £75.
Unloading at Mallaig. Click to enlarge.
Unloading at Mallaig

Unloading a Morris Traveller from the Macbraynes steamer MV 'Loch Seaforth'. In 2014 a new ferry called 'Loch Seaforth' will enter service with Caledonian Macbrayne. Unlike the her 1947 predecessor, the second ship to bear the name will not be Clyde built.
Skye Ferry. Click to enlarge.
Skye Ferry

The ferry arriving at Glenelg from Kylerhea.
"Portree Hotel and Square, Skye. Click to enlarge.
"Portree Hotel and Square, Skye

A postcard showing Wentworth Street and Somerled Square, Portree.
"Isleornsay Hotel, Skye. Click to enlarge.
"Isleornsay Hotel, Skye

The building has not changed much since this postcard photograph was taken. The same cannot be said for the cars.

Copyright: All of the photographs and postcards reproduced on this page remain the copyright of their original owners and are reproduced here with the kind permission of the Elgol and Torrin Historical Society. Due credit is always given to the original photographer where this known. Please do not reproduce any of these images without acknowledging the photographer and the Society.

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