Glenelg – a guide for visiting the gateway to Skye in 2023


Our guide about the Isle of Skye was so popular that we thought we'd write about another of the nearby areas worth a visit, Glenelg. Despite a population of around 1500 people and a scattered layout, there is plenty reason to visit Glenelg. We thought we'd round up a few of our favourite things to see and do in the area, let's get into it:

Visit the 3 Brochs at Glenelg

Brochs are found across Scotland, and we've featured a few very famous Brochs in some of our other articles. There are 3 main Brochs to be seen at Glenelg - Dun Telve, Dun Grugaig, and Dun Troddan. You'll find them lying along Gleann Beag. Dun Telve and Dun Troddan are especially good to see as they're very well preserved, however Dun Grugaig is still worth a look (although it's a 2 mile walk from the other 2).

Glenelg War Memorial

Even if you're not interested in visiting a war memorial during your time in Glenelg, The Glenelg War Memorial is worth visiting if just for the stunning backdrop of Glenelg Bay and the hills of Skye. However, we would absolutely recommend that you visit this memorial. It depicts a Cameron Highlander alongside a kneeling female figure appealing to Peace, but the eyes of the soldier have been expertly designed and carved to depict sadness, and rather than a sense of victory this memorial feels desperately sad. It's a moving location to visit, but we feel it is worth your time.

The Skye Ferry

There's no getting around the fact that one of the best reasons to visit Glenelg is its proximity to Skye, and a trip on The Skye Ferry is well worth your time. The "Glenachulish" is the last manually operated turntable ferry in existence and is a very special vessel to ride aboard. Not only is the trip fun, but you'll also get the chance to spot a variety of wildlife including seals, herons, and maybe even an otter if you're lucky. Learn more here -



Sandaig is a small bay at Glenelg and is perhaps best known for being the location that author Gavin Maxwell chose as his retreat, in a smallholding previously used by the Lighthouse Keeper. The area is very secluded and provides views of Loch Drabhaig as well as the sea and the surrounding Sandaig Islands. Sandaig is walkable from Arnisdale, a location you can easily drive to (there is also a bus).


Maxwell referred to this area as 'Camusfearna' in his book 'Ring of Bright Water'.

Bernera Barracks

Although these barracks were built in the 18th century, the building remains in remarkably good condition. This is because it was rarely used, and although it was built to guard the route from Skye, the barracks were abandoned by the end of the 1700s. We still think they're worth a look and are an interesting part of the local history.

Interesting facts about Glenelg:

Glenelg has quite an interesting history, here are some facts about the area:

  • Glenelg is twinned with Glenelg on Mars, an area next to the landing site of the Curiosity rover.
  • The author Gavin Maxwell had a retreat at Sandaig (he wrote books such as 'Ring of Bright Water')
  • Terry Nutkins was one of Gavin Maxwell's otter keepers at Glenelg

Useful Resources

Glenelg hotels -

Glenelg weather -

If you enjoyed this guide, check out our guides about Arran, Jura, Eigg, and Mull.

Finn is the editor of You Well and has been writing about travel, health, and more for over 10 years.

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