The Skye Museum of Island Life

A visit to the Skye Museum of Island Life at Kilmuir may well be a pleasant surprise for you. It's a whole lot better than I had expected before my first visit. The museum is housed in a cluster of thatched buildings at Kilmuir, just off the A855. It is about six miles north of Uig, at NG395718.  From small beginnings in the 1960s, it is now an attraction that really lets you see what it would have been like to live on Skye in the past.

Admission prices are good value. There is a lot more to the place than is apparent from the outside.

Each of the buildings has a theme. The weaver’s cottage, the barn, and the blacksmith’s are packed with implements, instruments, tools and artefacts from the past. Sometimes they are from the surprisingly recent past. I loved the wonderful egg box. It was used to pack hens eggs to be posted from the croft to the market in Glasgow. The eggs were removed and the box would be posted back to the crofter with payment for the eggs. Then its journey begins all over again.

The croft house itself, with its open peat fire always burning, gives a real feel for life on a Skye croft in the early 20th century.  It is essentially a living-in kitchen at one end and a bedroom at the other. The older visitors will readily recognise some of the bits and pieces as things that were familiar in their own youth.

The highlight for me is the ceilidh house. Ceilidh means ‘visit’ in Gaelic, and often is used to refer to a small gathering of friends and neighbours. In the days before television and radio, neighbours would meet in a house to make their own entertainment. They would play music, sing and tell stories around the fire. This ceilidh house is filled with old photographs and documents covering a host of subjects to do with Skye. Some are touching, some obscure, some beautiful, some emotional. I could spend hours there. Do give yourself some time to explore these archives. You’ll not regret it.

Museum website