Waternish is still very much a peaceful traditional crofting area, little affected by the passage of time and one of the most unchanged parts of Skye. Magnificent views west to Dunvegan Head, and out over the Minch to the Outer Hebrides, can be enjoyed from much of the peninsula, together with views east across Loch Snizort to Trotternish.
Activity: There are plenty of fine walks, long and short in Waternish alone. The area is rich in wildlife and flowers, with eagles, otters and an abundance of orchids. It is also a good base from which to explore North West Skye and visit the Cuillins. There is also a diving centre (Dive & Sea the Hebrides) and a jetty.
Eating & Drinking: Stein is well served for visitors. It is home to the oldest pub on Skye, the Stein Inn, which offers real ale, a fine selection of whiskies and good food in the bar and dining room, all within the setting of a sensitively restored 200 year old building of great charm and character. 100m away at the other end of the village is the well known Loch Bay Sea Food Restaurant. Other establishments a little further afield include the fine cuisine of the restaurant at the Greshornish House Hotel, the warm welcome and great food at the Edinbane Lodge, or the acclaimed award-winning menu of The Three Chimneys at Colbost.
Leisure: Many of Skye's craft workers are in the North West and should not be missed. In Waternish there are the SkyeSkyns tannery & shop, the Halistra Pottery, The Skye Shilasdair Shop knitwear and Brae Fasach Ceramics & Painting Studio.
And, of course, Dandelion Designs craft workshop and Images Gallery on the ground floor of 'The Captain's House' itself! Nearby are Edinbane Pottery, and the Croft Studio at Dunvegan.
Interest: The history and folklore of Waternish encompass a romantic and turbulent past ranging from the Clan Wars of the MacLeods and MacDonalds, through the supernatural to the tragic and intriguing tale of Lady Grange, secretly imprisoned in the Hebrides for 15 years by her Jacobite husband, she was buried at Trumpan.
Local historic sites abound, including a number of ancient monuments such as Trumpan Church, scene of a bloody battle when, on a Sunday in 1578, the Clan Macleod were surprised at worship, locked in the church and burned alive within, by the MacDonalds of Uist, who were themselves massacred within hours on a nearby shore! Others include Dun Hallin and several famous Clan battle sites, as well as the village of Stein itself.
Stein: The village was originally established by the British Fisheries Society in 1786 as a model fishing village along with Tobermory & Ullapool. Stein was designed by Thomas Telford but, on Skye, the brave venture failed and the buildings of Stein were left to slumber on for two centuries, forming a fascinating contrast with the grandiose scheme in Telford's master plan.
As a result, the village and its buildings are little changed, most of them being listed of architectural and historic value (including The Captain's House). The village is also a Conservation Area with an idyllic setting on the shore.
'The Captain's House' has its own intriguing and romantic story ...
Local legend has it that early in the 19th Century a Russian trading ship put into the loch. It's Captain fell in love with a local girl and returned later to marry her and build The Captain's House.
It is known that by 1850 the house belonged to Captain Carl Lillia, a Russian Finn, who had married Margaret Nicolson, daughter of the local merchant at Stein on Waternish. They had three sons, the youngest of whom followed in his father's footsteps.
Norman Lillia served his time before the mast on clippers doing the China run. He went on to captain windjammers, the last and largest of the great sailing ships, later going on to serve in the Royal Navy during World War 1. His life reads like a 'Boys Own Comic' adventure story.
Their descendants still visit the house. So too, we hope, will you.