The image top is from the old Ferry Slip at
Kyle of Lochalsh looking north to the
Skye Bridge. Before the bridge was built in
1995, this was the main ferry crossing to the
Isle of Skye, from Kyle of Lochalsh to Kyleakin
village on Skye, about a 2 mile crossing.
Part of the Bridge was built on Eilean Ban Island, once home of
the author Gavin Maxwell,
best know for the book and film Ring of Bright
Water. The Island is now a visitor attraction
that can be visited by appointment.
Skye Bridge History
1746 - the Battle of Culloden by Inverness
was the final defeat for the Jacobite's, last
major Battle on the British mainland. Bonnie
Prince Charlie escaped Government Troops at
Culloden by traveling by boat to the Isle of
Skye. Flora MacDonald from Skye helped him
return to safety in France. This romantic event
led to Skye becoming the most famous Island in
1819 - the Road from Inverness was completed
to Kyle of Lochalsh.
1842 - Queen Victoria took the first of many
tours of Scotland, giving top reviews, leading
to more tourists.
1884 - the Skye Boat Song was published
including the section - Speed bonny boat like a
bird on a wing, Onward the sailors cry. Carry
the lad that’s born to be King, Over the sea to
Skye. Many people visiting the area were
inspired to do so by this song.
1897 - the Railway from Inverness reached
Kyle of Lochalsh, through one of the most
remote and scenic parts of Scotland. This led
to Kyle of Lochalsh becoming the main slip for
Ferries to the Isle of Skye.
1956 - Gavin Maxwell acquired a cottage in
the very remote area of Sandaig, 28 miles south
of Kyle of Lochalsh. Maxwell had with him an
Otter he found while on a trip to Iraq. This
led to him writing a top selling book about
Otters named Ring of Bright Water, that lead to
1960s - there were often very long queues of
cars waiting to board the small Ferries for the
short crossing between Kyle of Lochalsh and
Kyleakin on Skye. These Ferries could only
carry 6 cars.
1968 - Gavin Maxwell's cottage burned down,
with him then moving to a cottage on Eilean Ban
Island at Kyle of Lochalsh.
1969 - Gavin Maxwell died, with Eilean Ban
Island then becoming a tourist attraction.
1970 - new larger Ferries were added to the
Isle of Skye crossing that could carry 28 cars.
These larger ferries were soon struggling to
cope with the vast numbers of tourists visiting
the island in summer.
1995 - the Skye Bridge was completed costing
around £25 million, leading to the end of the
Kyle of Lochalsh to Isle of Skye Ferries.
The Bridge was built with private money,
with Tolls set so the money could be recouped
by the builders.
1999 - the Scottish Parliament was set up to
deal with local issues, with the Skye Bridge
Toll being one of the top issues of the
2004 - the Toll to cross the Skye Bridge had
increased to about £6 each way, leading to the
Islanders protesting more vigorously and
refusing to pay. The company running the bridge
was accused of having made about £33 million on
Tolls by that time.
2004 December - the Scottish Parliament
stated they had bought the Skye Bridge for £27
million, with the Tolls stopping
2005 - Luann Nichols from Oklahoma could not
believe there was a bridge to the Isle of Skye.
One of her main reasons for wanting to visit
Scotland was to get the boat to Skye, as in the
There is still a Ferry from
on the mainland to Armadale on the south of
Skye, for those who just have to visit the
Island by boat.