A BRIEF HISTORY
Since 1543, Edinbane Lodge has been a warm and welcoming haven on the Isle of Skye. Initially known as Tigh a Linne, it is one of three change houses that offered food and hospitality on the ancient island road which leads to Dunvegan Castle. The other two properties having long closed, the Lodge is the last remaining symbol of a largely forgotten era when warm hospitality was a renowned and highly regarded feature of Highland life.
The Lodge first welcomed guests in the same year that King, Henry the VIII of England married his 6th and final wife, Catherine Parr. A further three generations of travellers would pass through its doors before the Pilgrim fathers set sail for the New World and another one and a half centuries would come and go before this remote island retreat followed the rest of our country and shed its independence to become part of the United Kingdom, under a law which came to be known as the Act of Union.
The Lodge has witnessed the great hardship of the island's crofting people, as well as the great wealth and kindness of a philanthropic owner. For nearly 5 centuries it has been known as a place to rest your head and rest your soul. The Lodge has also been a place where justice has been dispensed. As a courthouse it has seen the wrongdoer punished. The ultimate sentence being carried out on a long dead tree which stood in the woodlands which surround this old property.
Once known only to the local traveller, the fortunes of Edinbane Lodge dramatically changed when Kenneth MacLeod, a close relation of the clan Chief, purchased the property in the mid 1800's. Using part of a large fortune amassed in India, Kenneth MacLeod converted and extended it for use as a hunting lodge to entertain his Victorian era guests, who came to fish our abundant waters and stalk the deer which grazed on the hillside above the Lodge. Under his ownership, The Lodge would rise in prominence and become a focal point of the small township he modelled and nurtured until his death in 1869. Among his many acts of generosity his greatest was the gift of Gesto hospital, the first community hospital on the island that was completed shortly after his death in 1886. Immortalised as "the landlord" in Alexander Smith's " A Summer in Skye" Kenneth MacLeod's legacy can be found all over the island. Several prominent homes and buildings in Skye owe their existence to Skye's most beloved philanthropist.
In the 1920's the Lodge was acquired by laundry magnate Edward Langdale Hilleary who had married into the MacLeod family. The Hilleary's funded a hydro electric scheme which drew power from the nearby Coishletter river and brought light to the neighbouring hospital and the Lodge. The Edison style lighting installed during the recent restoration of the Lodge is our small tribute to Edward and Edith Hilleary and the generous spirit which brought light to their community in many more ways than this short article could ever hope to cover.
As genial hosts, Edward and Edith welcomed prominent businessmen, politicians, writers and even royalty into their island home. Although now long departed from Edinbane Lodge the memory of their kindness and hospitality remains in the hearts of the people of Edinbane.
When the Whatley family took custody of the Lodge in the 1970's it was to fulfil a dream of re-establishing one of the oldest small hotels on Skye. Despite the untimely death of her husband, Mrs Whately realised their ambition and, along with second husband, Charlie Mackinnon, she ran a very successful hotel and restaurant business with a reputation for friendliness and great food.
The family still reside in Edinbane where Stuart Whatley runs the family owned Edinbane Pottery We highly recommend a visit during any stay at the Lodge.
The hotel would change hands 3 more times before it was purchased by two local families, the Grant's & Montgomery's in late 2017. By then, it had fallen into a serious state of disrepair. In mid winter, they set about the painstaking task of stabilising and restoring this unique old building for the community and for our guests. Thus began a careful, and loving renovation of the near 500 year old Lodge. A project which continue today.
As brief custodians of this historic island retreat, it is our great pleasure to warmly welcome you to Edinbane Lodge.
Join us for dinner or stay in our recently renovated rooms at the historic Edinbane Lodge.