Star.pngStar.pngStar.pngStar grey.pngStar grey.png

Skye Bridge

From Roader's Digest: The SABRE Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Skye Bridge
Drochaid An t-Eilean Sgitheanach
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (7)
From:  Kyle of Lochalsh
To:  Kyleakin
Kyle of Lochalsh
Ross-shire • Inverness-shire
Highway Authority
Transport Scotland
Opening Date
Free. Toll abolished 2004.
Additional Information
Bridge Type:  Concrete Bridge
On road(s)


For many years, successive generations of ferries crossed across Loch Alsh, between the villages of Kyleakin and Kyle of Lochalsh. In 1937 the ferry was only able to operate at high tides during daylight (no Sunday service), and cost 8s or 12/6 depending on horsepower. By 1963, the tide was no longer an issue and the service ran from 7/8am to 11pm Monday-Saturday, with additional night-time sailings on demand. Fares had barely changed, and the crossing took about 10 minutes. Two ferries were employed in the summer months.

The Bridge


By the late 1980s, the summer queues for the ferries on either side of the narrow Kyle were becoming unmanageable, and so it was agreed that a bridge should be constructed. In the meantime, two new ferries (see below) were ordered to provide a better service. It was still one of the shortest, and most expensive crossings in Scotland however.

The Skye Bridge was opened on the 16th October 1995 by the Secretary of State for Scotland. Upon opening, the A87 road was extended from Kyle of Lochalsh across Skye, through Broadford and Portree and on to Uig, where the ferries for Harris and North Uist sail from.


The bridge was controversial from the very first day of opening, if not before. Built partially under a Private Finance Initiative agreement, the tolls levied as a result were to prove a highly contentious issue with both mainlanders and islanders alike. They provoked fierce opposition with a number of resulting Court cases. The locals especially complained that, as the tolls were so high, and in both directions, it was entirely inappropriate. There were several 'non-payment' protests, most notably by 'Robbie the Pict'. Local businesses also complained that tourists were staying away from Skye due to the high tolls on the crossing.

Tolls abolished

The tolls were finally abolished on the 21st December 2004 by the Scottish Executive, after a deal to buy the bridge from the owners.


When driving along the A87 towards Kyle, the bridge is often in view ahead, its graceful curve spanning the narrow Kyle (narrows) of Loch Alsh, but nothing prepares you for actually arriving at the bridge. It seems incredibly steep as you climb up, from either side, and while this is to ensure enough clearance below for the ships, it is still quite an adventure the first time.


Ferries operating on the service before the opening of the Skye Bridge in 1995:

Name IMO Operator Dates Notes
Loch Fyne 9006411 Caledonian MacBrayne 1991-1995 36 cars
Loch Dunvegan 9006409 Caledonian MacBrayne 1991-1995 36 cars
Lochalsh 7101607 Caledonian MacBrayne 1971-1991 28 cars
Kyleakin 7028386 Caledonian MacBrayne 1971-1991 28 cars
Coruisk Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1969-71 9 cars
Broadford Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1967-71 9 cars
Portree Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1965-70 9 cars
Kyleakin Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1960-71 6 cars
Lochalsh Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1957-70 6 cars
Broadford Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1954-66 4 cars
Portree Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1952-65 2 cars
Lochalsh Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1951-58 2 cars
Cuillin Caledonian Steam Packet Co 1942-54 2 cars
Moil David MacBrayne; Caledonian Steam Packet Co (for LMS) 1936-54 2 cars
Kyleakin David MacBrayne; Caledonian Steam Packet Co (for LMS) 1928-51 1/2 cars deck enlarged in 1931
Kyle David MacBrayne (for LMS) 1918-38 1 car


Skye Bridge
Related Pictures
View gallery (7)
A87 Skye Bridge - Coppermine - 6947.jpgA87 Skye Bridge - Coppermine - 1317.jpgA87 - Flickr - 4783137899.jpgIMG 4297 (Skye Bridge Panorama).jpgBigL POTM IMG 3709.jpg
Other nearby roads
Kyle of Lochalsh
Crossings to and between the Inner Hebridean Islands
Firth of ClydeBrodick Ferry • Kilbrannan Sound • Portavadie Ferry • Cumbrae Ferry • Rothesay Ferry • Kyles of Bute Ferry • Gourock to Dunoon
Inter HebrideanGigha Ferry • Islay Ferries • Jura Ferry • Colonsay Ferry • Clachan Bridge • Luing Ferry • Oban to Craignure • Lochaline to Fishnish • Tobermory Ferry • Iona Ferry • Lismore Ferries • Coll and Tiree Ferry • Mallaig Ferries • Mallaig to Armadale • Small Isles Ferry • Glenelg to Kylerhea • Skye Bridge • Raasay Ferry
Other AreasIrish Sea • Inner Hebrides • Western Isles • Shetland • Orkney • North Sea • English Channel • Solent • Inland Crossings • Other Island Crossings

SABRE - The Society for All British and Irish Road Enthusiasts
Discuss - Digest - Discover - Help