Category Archives: Corries

Speed, bonny ferry

I had initially planned to save this blog for Sunday, the last day before the trip to Scotland, but I’m short of ideas, and hopefully something will inspire me before Sunday to solve the issue arising then! Lets just say Thursday isnt going to be an issue for blog material, will be a duplicate blog, and leave it at that, for now! 😉 One or two will know why, but for the rest of you, wait and see!

The last time I visited Kyle of Lochalsh would be somewhere in the early/mid 1980’s, and back then, if you wanted to visit Skye, it was go on the ferry boat, or not go at all! I actually did go on said ferry boat, the only time in my life that I have been to Skye, though that was in the 70’s, I did go back after that, but not to Skye. Now, that ferry boat is but a very distant memory, as there has been a bridge to Skye for over 20 years now, which I have only ever seen in pictures, not in person. Next Tuesday, I plan to change that fact while there.

Scotland has always seemed to have a lot of routes that required ferries to get you to your destination, and I’m not just talking to the other islands. There are a lot less now than there used to be, and most of the road ones are now gone, the only one I really know that still exists being the one to go to Cape Wrath, in the very north of Scotland.

Funnily enough, the ferry that was closest to my heart in the Scottish Highlands, was one I rarely used, which was the one crossing Loch Leven, at Ballachulish. There were 2 good reasons for this. Firstly, in summer, the traffic jams to use the ferry was legendary, and it was often quicker to drive around the Loch (about 15 miles), via Kinlochleven, than wait to get on the ferry! More principally for me at least, it was the case I had some distant relatives living in Kinlochleven, so we were heading there, so no point using the ferry! Inevitably a bridge was built, to clear the traffic jams, which opened in 1975, and that was the end of the days of the ferry. Unsurprisingly the road around the loch went from being busy much of the time, to an almost deathly hush!

The final ferry I’m going to mention is another I never got to travel, only over the stunning new bridge that replaced it. Going back to the very north of Scotland, you’ll find a tiny village named Kylesku, heading up the north west coast. Before 1984 the ‘main’ road (it was single track up until the last 40 years or so) simply ran down to the ferry at Kylesku, and you had to take the ferry to Kylestrome (or vice versa) to go any further north. Given it was the late 80’s, or early 90’s before I went up that far, with my partner at the time, the ferry was gone, and the mighty bridge stood above the water. But that night, we stayed at Kylesku, in the little hotel there, and walked down to that ferry point, where so many cars had queued over the years, and looked across the water. The next morning, we left, crossed the bridge, and headed north, and I’ve never been back. Nor am I likely to now, as to put it mildly, public transport in that corner of the world is nigh non existent!

Oh, if you still want to go on a boat, over the sea to Skye, it can still be done, from Mallaig, to Armadale, though that, like the Glenelg, to Kylerhea routes are not the famous crossings of history. No, that was Kyle of Lochalsh, to Kyleakin, a route that Bonnie Prince Charlie would now not be able to use.

No, I’m not planning to cross to Skye, its not easy to do as a non driver nowadays, and besides neither of us are in the first flush of youth (by a long stretch), and we dont have that much time anyway. So I’ll settle for walking down to where the ferry used to leave from, and look across to Skye…and remember!

Oh fine, the video is the very obvious one, really!