Years before the Skye Bridge was built, or indeed, any previous ferry crossing from Kyle of Lochalsh, the ferries used to go from Gleneig to Kylerhea. In bygone days Black Cattle were taken to the mainland tied nose to tail to swim the hundred meters behind a rowing boat. The littlle six car ferry still crosses the minch and goes daily to Skye. It runs every fifteen minutes during busy times and thirty minutes in quieter periods. Monday - Saturday sailings are from 9.00 - 18.00 & Sunday 10.00 - 17.00
Prices - car + 4 passengers £8.50
passenger only £1.00
Perhaps a more romantic crossing in our rush to get about.
Listen here to the Skye Boat Song
The Skye Bridge is now free of it horrendous tolls which saw great oppossition among the People from Skye and the Mainland. A lot of people were taken to court for refusing to pay the tolls on a bridge which was a necessary part of the road net work. These court appearances proved to be too costly as the nearest court is in Dingwall so the tolls were scrapped. Well done to the group Skye & Kyle Against Toll (SKAT) who refused = we can now all go for free.
Caledonian MacBrayne have a very good roll on roll off ferry service from Skye to Malliag. Using the ferry cuts out a long road trip and saves a good deal of time. I nearly died laughing when shut up in what felt like a tin can I read the sign above my head!
The price seems steep but if your direction of travel is the West Coast it will save you a lot on petrol and time.
Cost = £18.00 for the car
£3.30 per car passenger & the same if you are on foot.
A frequent service is provided from Monday to Sunday usually every hour or so = if you just miss one like we did in Armadale, guess what? More time to sightsee!!
Coach services to Skye are excellent, with the CityLink heading daily for Portree and on to Uig (connecting with the ferry to outer islands).
However, many travellers find themselves stranded in Portree, on a sunday, with no or a too limited local bus service to enable visiting the places they desperately want to see. Car hire is expensive,but they do much business for this reason.
Your own wheels will be a significant advantage to most tourists.
the baot to Skye has always been the romantic way to reach Skye.
You can get a ferry from Mallaig on the mainland to Armadale on the southern tip of Skye.
The trip takes about 25minutes, and you can take your car, or travel as just a foot passenger.
Until recently Skye was onlr reachable by ferry. Now though you can drive over the bridge to Skye.
When it was first built the bridge was controversial, mainly for its high toll charge, one of the dearest crossings in Europe (and it's not that far!)
Now though it is thankfully free, as it has now been paid for in full (by harrasseed motorists)
The nicest part of biking around the island is that you can stop wherever you want and take pictures. No worries about obstructing the way, no worries about parking tickets and no worries about where the next gas station will be... However make sure you filled out in water, that you have warm clothing and also a good shell to protect your against the rain.
Although you can get up to and around Skye by public transport, if you are in a hurry then you cannot beat the old car.
Skye has many narow and single track roads, so I would not reccomend anything too big.
Car hire is available at all main UK airports, or bring your own.
The main road to the Isle of Skye will take you through some of the most scenic areas of the highlands on the road A87 from Inverness or Ft. Williams from the Scottish mainland over a bridge in Kyle of Lochalsh. You will pass by Eilean Donan Castle - shown in my 2nd picture, a scenic castle that is open also for visitors.
Some time ago it was quite expensive to drive over that bridge, but now it is totally free of charge after some severe protests of local people !
If you want to see things then you have to go by car. (or you must be a very good walker and go a multi day hiking tour).
Be aware tho that the roads are very small, but that does to the atmosphere, at least i think it does.
There are NO trains in the Isle of Skye, BUT you can get from Ft. Williams to Mallaig by train and from there you could take the ferry-boat to the Isle of Skye.
That trainline is called "the Jacobite" and Harry-Potter-fans might remember this scenery and the steamtrain from these movies. And once a week every summer there will be a steamtrain like in my picture going from Ft. Williams to Mallaig as a daytrip - make your reservations as soon as possible, that train is mostly fully booked and there are NO standing-places available !
Another way to drive by car to the Isle of Skye is on a side-road over Glenelg & Arnisdale, two lovely, but really remote places in the Scotish Highlands. The street will take you first through some scenic woods and you will end at Kylerhea, where a ferry takes you to the remote south of the Isle of Skye.
Click on the weblink below to find more details about this car-ferry that is operated ONLY in the summertime from Easter till mid of October. They will go daily between 10.00am and 06.00pm every 20 minutes or when-ever required !
The fastest way to get to the Western Hebrides is also through the Isle of Skye: In Uig, on the north-west-coast of the island the ferry will take passangers and cars to Tarbert in Harris and to Lochmaddy in North Uist. These ferries are quite expensive and when you have a high motorhome you also need to make a reservation some time ahead.
I have done that once and spent 3 days in the western Hebrides, where the weather might change very fast and strong winds might make an end to a joyfull vacation !
As of the 21st december 2004 (this morning!), the Skye Bridge from Kyle on the mainland to Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye, is absolutely free of charge! I simply had to tell everyone the great news!! Hoorah!
Although I would always recommend doing at least one of the Ferry journeys either to or from the island (my personal favourite being the original Isle of Skye Ferry from Glenelg on the mainland to Kylerhea on Skye), the real importance is that we now have a totally FREE option for coming and going, so you can stay on Skye and tour the mainland, or stay on the mainland and tour Skye - either way, the touring bit doesn't have to be restricted by what you can afford!!
This ferry is of course operated by Caledonian MacBrayne (Calmac) and offers an interesting alternative to the route via Glen Shiel and the Skye Bridge. Sailing time is about half an hour, a single trip for a car and one passenger costs about 20 pounds. Especially if you are headed for/from south Skye, this is an expensive, but time saving and convenient approach for the Great Misty Isle. The car drive from Fort William/Ardnamurchan will save you about an hour's driving and it involves some magnificent views from the mainland to Skye and the Small Isles. The route is also handy for people arriving at Mallaig with the "Harry-Potter" train.
Be sure though to check your connections from Armadale -- if your destination is in North Skye (Portree and further) it might be better to use the train to Kyle of Lochalsh and take the bus from there. There are also regular coaches travelling from Glasgow to Portree via the Skye Bridge and Broadford and further to Uig, the ferry port for the Outer Isles. Especially on Sundays, you might get stuck in Armadale. A taxi to Broadford will cost you about 20 quid and it's still a long way from Broadford to North Skye!
The ferry has a wheelchair lift and toilets on board, thus offering very good disabled access.