Loch Duich

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Loch Duich from the north-west, with Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Long (L), Loch Alsh (R), and the Glen Shiel Hills

Loch Duich is a sea loch cutting into the western coast of Ross-shire. At its head stands the village of Shiel Bridge where the River Shiel enters the loch, and above this point is the beautiful, mountain-fringed Glen Shiel.

Loch Duich opens not into the open sea but is joined by Loch Long at Dornie and the two open into Loch Alsh, which separates the Isle of Skye from the mainland.

Its name is from the Gaelic language, in which it is named Loch Dubhthaich, meaning "Dubhthaich's Loch" apparently after St Dubhthaich, an eleventh century saint.


In 1719, Crown forces burned many homesteads along the loch's shores in the month preceding the Battle of Glen Shiel, driving the rebels into the field, to be defeated in Glen Shiel.

Eilean Donan Castle

Loch Duich and Eilean Donan Castle, with Skye in the distance

Eilean Donan Castle stands at the meeting point of Loch Duich, Loch Long, and Loch Alsh.


A legend connected with Loch Duich states that three brothers who went fishing at the loch one night became enraptured by three selkies, seal-maidens, who had thrown off their furs, assumed the likeness of humans, and danced in the moonlight on the sands. The brothers stole their furs, intending to claim the seal-maidens as their wives. The youngest brother, however, moved by the seal-girl's distress, returned her seal-skin. For his kindness, the girl's father allowed the youngest brother to visit the maiden every ninth night. As for the other two brothers, the middle brother lost his wife after the seal-maiden he had captured found her stolen fur, while the eldest brother burnt his wife's fur as a preventative measure, only to burn her accidentally in the process.


  • Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain (London: The Reader’s Digest Association, 1973), 444.

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about Loch Duich)