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Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry

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Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry
Location Map ( geo)
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From:  Glenelg
To:  Kylerhea (Skye)
Distance:  0.6 km (0.4 miles)
Current Operator
Isle of Skye Ferry Community Interest Company
£10 (£15 return) per car (2009)
On road(s)
 • Unclassified


Sailing from the pier at the end of the Bernera road in Glenelg, the ferry crosses the narrow Kyle Rhea, to the village of Kylerhea on Skye during the summer months. Other than the Mallaig-Armadale Ferry, it is the only way to sail 'over the sea to Skye' since the Skye Bridge opened in 1995. Today the ferry sails every 20 minutes from 10am - 6pm between Easter and October.

It certainly is not the quickest way to get to Skye, since although the road to the ferry follows a slightly shorter route than the A87 for the most part it is a windy single track road.

The Ferry

All of the below vessels were of the turntable type.

Name IMO Operator Dates Notes
Kylerhea 1935-39 / 1945-51 / 1959 2 cars. No IMO
Kyleakin I 1952-55 2 cars. No IMO
Queen of Glenalbyn 1960-61 2 cars. No IMO
Appin Chief Murdo MacKenzie 1961-71 4 cars. No IMO
Glen Mallie Murdo MacKenzie 1969-82 4 cars. No IMO. Hired out at relief on various other routes during the winter months.
Glenachulish Murdo MacKenzie; Roddy MacLeod; Isle of Skye Community interest company 1983-date 6 cars. No IMO - MarineTraffic link

The ferry operated on the route at the moment is the last turntable ferry left in operation in Scotland. This means that the ferry docks nose- or bow-in at both sides, with the cars all parked on a deck that turns 180 degrees to prevent any reversing. Unlike modern ferries which allow cars to drive on at one end and off at the other. Interestingly there is no motor assistance to move the turntable, it is entirely done by hand by the ferry operators.

The ferry "Glenachulish" used to operate on the Loch Leven service, before the Ballachulish Bridge was built.


While the Kyle of Lochalsh crossing was still a ferry, this was a profitable service, providing a very scenic alternative for those in the know. It took only 4 minutes to cross the 550m wide channel, as opposed to 10minutes at Kyle, and in 1963 cost 10s, which was on a par, but all passengers were covered, not just the driver! A couple of years ago, the family that had operated it for generations decided to sell up when the last 'captain' retired, and so the ferry is now run by a community company, and the majority of crossings made are by tourists who want to take the 'alternative' way to Skye.


Tom Scott - The world's last turntable ferry has a really clever design

In Glenelg, on the west coast of Scotland, there's the Skye Ferry: the last turntable ferry in the world. And the reason for that turntable is a lot more clever than I initially thought.

Watch video > >


Glenelg - Kylerhea Ferry
Related Pictures
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Glenengferry.jpgBig L POTM IMG 20190816 122315120 HDR.jpg
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