Leaving Skye - Glenelg ferry

A Greek island, perhaps? Rocky shores, crystal azure water, sunhat and sandals - where else could it be but Skye. On our return to the mainland we crossed by the Kylerhea to Glenelg ferry, which goes between the narrow strait between the island and the mainland. The road bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh has replaced the romance of going over the sea to Skye at the main crossing point (and the queues of traffic), but there are still ferries at Glenelg and at Armadale in the south of the island. The Glenelg ferry is a community enterprise, and is the last manually operated turntable ferry on the west coast. (The two girls are mine - my daughter and her French friend. The hat, sandals and dog belong to someone else.)

The road to the ferry is spectacular, with a series of single-track switchbacks. First of all there are vistas of the island you're leaving.

Then the mainland of Scotland appears across the water.

The ferry makes the crossing every 20 minutes or so. We waited in a 'queue' of 4 cars, watching the loading on the other side of the water.

I have no photos from our own crossing. It's a very friendly ferry, and I was engaged in conversation by a German tourist who related his family's wonderful time on Skye, complete with golden eagle spotting, and then their plans for a dash to Orkney.

There's a small-scale lighthouse on either side of the water, in close-up below, and just discernible in the following shot of the turntable being manually turned.

Every ferry should have its attendant dog, who either comes along for the ride:

Or keeps a lookout from the shore.

If you cross before 4pm you can prepare for the next section of switchback single track road by having tea in the village hall at Glenelg. We were just too late, but having taken the ferry once I'd want to cross to Skye this way again, and hopefully include a scone or pancake at the village hall.
And if you'd like to see more of the Glenelg ferry, there's a blog (of course) about this national treasure.


  1. What a delightful blog this is. I am a confirmed Scotophile having married
    a man whose roots are firmly embedded on the western isles and a mother from Fort William. We were on Skye last Saturday and it was fabulous.

  2. Here is my dream about your blog: One day you will include an audio file of you reading the post. Then I would know how all those lovely Scottish words and place names are pronounced. Perhaps just once?

  3. wonderful way to leave Sky , better than the bridge , and by a sunny day , perfect :)

  4. I love this post, what a gorgeous place! What is switchback single track road though? Does it mean that one car has to move to the side of the road to let another car coming in the opposite direction go by?

  5. Love the blues in that first pic and thee views as you drove along the road - wonderful!

  6. That looks so lovely, great shots. Everything I've seen makes me want to visit Skye, but I doubt I'd get weather like that. Although since we get 300 sunny days a year where I live, I actually enjoy clouds and rain, it was a highlight of our family trip to Seattle and Vancouver earlier this year.

  7. What a quaint place. I love seeing Scotland through your lens. One day, sigh, I hope to visit there and capture some of what you've shared.

    Thank you.

  8. Oh that looks like the perfect afternoon activity. Your photos, as always, are a delight. I particularly love the last one, of the sentinel dog. I've never travelled this way, but it's on my list. I remember way back when, before the Skye bridge, when you had to wait in Kyle for the ferry to take you Over the Sea.

  9. Breathtaking, particularly the one where one could catch a glimpse of the water from the winding road. Picturesque to the core!

  10. really fantastic! thank you for sharing your day out and the ferry ride. your post has made me even more determined to get to the islands some day soon. a four-car ferry ... just super. :)

  11. Must be more than 20 years ago when we took the ferry from Glenelg - what a lovely route it is indeed.

  12. It had to be fun to ride that ferry!! I do wish that we had something like that to do within a decent days driving. Oh well, every place has it's own special beauty, I'm sure. It's just that every place you go seems to be so spectacular. Your posts are so interesting, Linda, and I'm so happy to be your blogging friend.

  13. The cuby poet - thanks for your visit. Skye must be lovely at this time of year - it would be great just to pop over for a quick visit.

  14. Oh wow, clairz - I've come over all shy at the thought of doing an audio file. Hiding behind photos is one thing - recording myself????? But you never know - the idea is growing on me.

  15. Babzy, it was miles better than the bridge, even tho we had miles of single track road to negotiate to get to the ferry.

    Karine, a single track road is just that - only wide enough for one car. There are small bays every so often to let cars travelling from opposite directions pass each other. It leads to the occasional game of chicken!

    RedPat, the views were superb. It took a long time to cover a short distance, as kept stopping to take photos.

    Al, I've heard that Seattle is very wet (courtesy of 'Sleepless in Seattle'). I can't quite imagine rain being a holiday highlight, but if I was deprived of rain for a few months I daresay I would miss it.

    Peg, yes, you must make the pilgrimage one day!

    Christine, there's so much more traffic now on the main roads that it's hard to imagine queuing up for the major routes.

    Suman, we were really lucky with the weather. Not a shred of Scotch mist to be seen.

    Journeys to Scotland, a four car ferry was such a personal way to travel.

    Gerald, it's great that the ferry is still going. It must take a huge community commitment.

    Darlene, your area is so exotic to me - you'd be surprised what I would find interesting among the things you take for granted. Hope you're recovering from your fall.

  16. Is it a Border Collie ? I love these dogs !!!


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