Broadford, Skye

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For other places called Broadford, see Broadford (disambiguation).
Scottish Gaelic: An t-Àth Leathann
Overlooking Broadford village
Broadford is located in Isle of Skye
 Broadford shown within the Isle of Skye
Population est. 620[1] (2006)
OS grid reference NG650230
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Ross and Cromarty
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town ISLE OF SKYE
Postcode district IV49
Dialling code 01471
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Scottish Parliament Ross, Skye and Inverness West
List of places

Coordinates: 57°14′N 5°53′W / 57.24°N 5.88°W / 57.24; -5.88

Map of Skye showing Broadford

Broadford (An t-Àth Leathann in Scottish Gaelic), together with nearby Harrapool, is the second-largest settlement on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, lying on the SW corner of Broadford Bay, on the A87 between Portree and the Skye Bridge. Overlooked by the eastern Cuillins, Broadford is in a beautiful tranquil area as well as having many services available.


Beinn na Caillich and Goir a' Bhlair from Broadford

Like many places in Skye, Broadford derives its name from Old Norse. To the Vikings this was Breiðafjorðr - the wide bay.[2] The Gaelic name is of modern derivation and assumes that the "ford" element meant a river crossing.[3]

West of Broadford in Glen Suardal, on the lower slopes of Beinn na Caillich, is Goir a' Bhlàir, 'the field of battle' (grid reference NG624234 [4]). The battle concerned was apparently a decisive action by the Gaelic Clan Mackinnon against the Vikings.[4]

Broadford was a cattle market until 1812, when Telford built the road from Portree to Kyleakin. Veterans of the Napoleonic Wars settled during the first half of the 19th century. Writing in the middle of the 19th century, Alexander Smith said, "If Portree is the London of Skye, Broadford is its Manchester."[5]

Legend holds that the recipe for the liqueur Drambuie was given by Bonnie Prince Charlie to Clan MacKinnon who then passed it onto James Ross late 19th century. Ross ran the Broadford Inn (now the Broadford Hotel), where he developed and improved the recipe, initially for his friends and then later to patrons. Ross then began to sell it further afield and the name was registered as a trademark in 1893. [6][7]

Panorama from Broadford pier


Broadford is a key service centre for southern Skye. Services include the Co-op supermarket combined with a 24-hour Gulf Oil garage, a few restaurants (including the Broadford Hotel, Claymore, Dunollie Hotel, Hebridean Hotel and Red Skye), the Skye Serpentarium and a youth hostel. It also has a small airfield (see Broadford Airfield) at Ashaig. The local hospital, the Mackinnon Memorial Hospital, has a small ward and casualty department.

There are two piers, one at the east end of the village by the war memorial, the other and larger at Corry, at the north west end of the bay.[8]

In popular culture[edit]

  • There is a song by the rock band Jethro Tull called "Broadford Bazaar" (on the remastered version of the Heavy Horses album) which is named after this town.


The mineral harkerite was first found near Broadford by the geologist Alfred Harker.[9]


A variety of marine life can be seen at Broadford Bay including otters[10] and occasionally Orca whales.[10]

Birds that can sometimes be spotted at the bay include the Whooper Swan,[11][12] Brent Goose,[11][12] Red-throated Diver[11][12] and the Black-tailed Godwit.[11][12]


  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ Gammeltoft, Peder "Scandinavian Naming-Systems in the Hebrides—A Way of Understanding how the Scandinavians were in Contact with Gaels and Picts?" in Ballin Smith et al (2007) p. 484
  3. ^ Iain Mac an Tàilleir. "Placenames" (PDF). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Archived from the original on 23 September 2011. Retrieved 23 July 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Site Record for Skye, Goir A' Bhlair, Broadford, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, retrieved 2013-11-03 
  5. ^ A Summer in Skye (1865), which includes a lengthy description of Broadford fair.
  6. ^ "The Broadford Hotel is The Original Home of Drambuie". Retrieved 29 Dec 2010.
  7. ^ "A new Dawn". Drambuie. Retrieved 08/03/2013.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[dead link]
  8. ^ Ordnance Survey. Get-a-map (Map). Retrieved 2013-11-03.
  9. ^ Alec Livingstone, 2002, Minerals of Scotland, Edinburgh, National Museums of Scotland
  10. ^ a b "“sightings” page on". Archived from the original on 21 July 2009. 
  11. ^ a b c d Reports page on
  12. ^ a b c d Skye section on[dead link]


  • Ballin Smith, Beverley; Taylor, Simon; Williams, Gareth (eds) (2007) West Over Sea: Studies in Scandinavian Sea-Borne Expansion and Settlement Before 1300. Leiden. Koninklijke Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-15893-1

External links[edit]