Àird a’ Bhàsair – Ardvasar

One of the oldest inns on Skye, The Inn at Àird a’ Bhàsair is situated in “Gàrradh an Eilein” – the “Garden of Skye” – overlooking the waters of the Sound of Sleat and the majestic hills of mainland Knoydart beyond.

The Inn is located in the small village of Ardvasar – Àird a’ Bhàsair, in Gaelic, approximately 800 metres from the pier at Armadale where the Caledonian MacBrayne ferry from Mallaig brings you “Over the sea to Skye”.

The Inn was built in the early 19th century to replace the old change house that was there. At that time, Ardvasar was a township of three crofts – one for the ferryman, one for the blacksmith and one for the innkeeper.

The Inn at Àird a’ Bhàsair is an ideal base to enjoy hill walking, sailing, fishing and spending time in this most special of Hebridean landscapes. The diversity of local wildlife includes seals, otters, porpoises, dolphins, whales, sea eagles and even golden eagles. Book one of our Outdoor Activities to make the most of your stay.

The Inn at Àird a’ Bhàsair joined the Eilean Iarmain group of businesses in 2017.

Sir Iain Noble & Lucilla, Lady Noble

Sir Iain Noble was one of Scotland’s most far-sighted and influential entrepreneurs. A man of remarkable vision and the most innovative businessman of his generation.

Through his foresight to ensure Scottish investment and career opportunities in areas of commerce, finance and industry he set up a succession of wide ranging, ambitious and pioneering enterprises from oil exploration and shipping to finance, banking and whisky.

He was instrumental in establishing Edinburgh as one of Europe’s financial centres and played a vital role of raising the profile of Scotland in the world of international business, imparting an inspiration to a younger generation.

“It was his sheer tenacity and energy, invested on behalf of Scotland, which made him so innovative and original. Many of the things he established we take for granted today.”

He was committed to reviving Scotland’s Gaelic heritage, founding the Gaelic College of Sabhal Mor Ostaig, on the Isle of Skye in 1973.

Today the college is recognised internationally as the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture. It is also an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands and a multi-million pound complex, unique in offering further education through the medium of Scottish Gaelic.

The Gaelic College has acted as a vibrant catalyst in the economic and social regeneration of Skye,and is a key contributor to the local economy.

With an intuitive understanding of linguistic and cultural heritage being fundamental to economic development, particularly in rural communities, Sir Iain focused his energies on promoting and developing the rich heritage of Gaelic through establishing commercial enterprises and initiatives to create long-term employment and career opportunities on the Isle of Skye.

In recognition of the significance of Sir Iain’s contribution to the revival of the Gaelic language he was appointed OBE in 1989.

Following his request for this honour to be awarded in Scotland as it had been “earned in Scotland”. – Sir Iain received the OBE from Her Majesty the Queen at Holyrood Palace.

Lucilla Noble’s family roots are in Ross-shire, where her father Colonel HAC Mackenzie, doyen of the whisky industry, was proprietor of Dalmore Distillery. With her love of the Isle of Skye, its heritage, language and culture, and the inspiration imparted by her late husband, Sir Iain, she is passionate in her role of custodian of Fearann Eilean Iarmain.

Lucilla is committed to building on Sir Iain’s achievements in promoting and developing the local economy through the Gaelic language, its cultural heritage and community, continuing and strengthening the legacy of Sir Iain with new enterprises and charitable initiatives, ensuring the long term perspective for the businesses of Fearann Eilean Iarmain.

It is with her enthusiastic approach that Lucilla admits; “It’s a commitment of heart, as well as head.”

Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture

Nearby is Sabhal Mòr Ostaig – the National Centre for Gaelic Language and Culture and an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands – founded by the late Sir Iain Noble. It is the only institute of its kind in the world and offers many learning opportunities, both on campus and via distance learning programmes, in Gaelic, traditional music, education, culture, history and the media. It also hosts residential short courses through Easter and the summer months for those who wish to try out traditional music, Gaelic language and culture.

Màiri Mhor nan Òran and Flora MacDonald

Màiri Mhor nan Òran

Màiri was a Scottish Gaelic poet, singer and also a nurse, from Skeabost, Skye. Her work mainly focused on highland clearances and the land struggles. Her work was used as a way of spreading information to Gaelic speaking communities. Màiri Mhor writes fondly of her visits to Eilean Iarmain in her song ‘Ath-Ùrachadh m’Eòlais’:
‘Nuair nochd mi ri Eilean Iarmain, Dh’fhalbh na striochan às mo mhala’
‘When I reached Eilean iarmain, the furrows left my brow.’

Flora MacDonald

Flora played a vital role after the defeat of the Jacobites at the battle of Culloden. She successfully smuggled Bonnie Prince Charlie ‘over the sea to Skye’ from Benbecula, dressed as her Irish maid!
She was later taken captive and said to have boarded the ‘Unicorn’ from the stone pier here at Eilean iarmain, bound for the Tower of London where she was imprisoned for her part in his escape.
The part that Flora MacDonald played in his escape is honoured in the ‘Skye Boat Song’.