Kyle of Lochalsh
|Kyle of Lochalsh
Caol Loch Ailse
|Location Map ( geo)
|Kyle of Lochalsh
|Forward Destination on
|Next Primary Destinations
|Fort William • Inverness • Uig
|Places related to the A87
Kyle of Lochalsh, generally known as Kyle, is a small town and Primary Destination in Wester Ross. It is also considered by many to be the Gateway to the Isle of Skye, as the Skye Bridge is only half a mile or so west of the 'town' centre. Despite the small population, Kyle has a good range of shops and services, both to serve the huge number of tourists who pass through every year, and also the large rural hinterland, which not only covers a large area of Ross-shire, but also the Isle of Skye.
The town grew up as the main ferry port for Skye, with the shortest crossing point from the mainland being across the narrows to Kyleakin. The wide ferry slipway can still be found next to the hotel, and shows how busy the crossing must have been with at least 2 ferries shuttling back and forth every day, and as many as four ferries operating in the peak summer season. All of this came to an end with the opening of the Skye Bridge in the 1990s, but Kyle still thrives as a popular stop for tourists on the west coast.
In the days of the ferry, the A87 terminated in Kyle, the A850 picking up the route from Kyleakin across Skye. However, with the opening of the bridge, the A87 was extended west across the Island to Uig for the ferries to North Uist and Harris. Prior to that, the route of the A87 into Kyle had been changed. Previously passing around the back of the hill from Balmacara, a new shore road was built to bring the road in more directly to the town. The old road is still open, and forms part of the unclassified route from Kyle to Plockton, a pretty village a few miles to the north which was made famous by the BBC Drama Hamish MacBeth.
Plockton lies on the banks of Loch Carron, and the road continues to meet the A890 from Auchtertyre, which then runs around the loch to Strathcarron. This is the famous road where the Strome Ferry bypass was built along the southern shore to avoid the ferry. Unfortunately, the road is often built below unstable cliffs and slopes, which in 2012 saw a landslip close the road for several months, and the reinstatement of the ferry! A long term solution is currently being sought to this difficult problem. The A890 eventually reaches the A896, which doubles back along the north shore into Loch Carron, a pretty lochside village which looks to Kyle and Plockton for many services, highlighting the importance of a solution to the road. A few miles north, the famous Bealach na Ba crosses the hills to Applecross.
Another famous pass lies to the south west of Kyle, at the head of Loch Duich. From Shiel Bridge, the Mam Ratagan Pass climbs up and over the hills to the scenic and picturesque villages of Glenelg, and it is from here that a ferry service still crosses to Skye (Another operates from Mallaig). This ferry uses the last sea-going turntable ferry in the country, a vessel originally built in 1969 for the Ballachulish Ferry.
|Fort William, Inverness
|Fort William reached by A82. Inverness by A887 and A82
|Uig, Portree, Broadford
|Across Skye Bridge, former A850
|Lochcarron reached by A896
|via A890 and A896
|via A87 to Shiel Bridge
|Kyleakin, Broadford, Portree
|A87 extended across Skye when Skye Bridge opened