Long Gone Ferries Ballahullish, Skye, Cape Wrath ! Any memories ?

Ferry memories:

One of the classics was The Old Skye Ferry before the Bridge was built. It used to take us over to Skye for training and for Call outs. In these days there was no Kessock bridge at Inverness. (Work started on the Kessock Bridge in 1976, and it opened in 1982. Its total length is 1056m and the central span is 240m long. )

A journey to Skye could take 4 hours drive in winter the roads were not great in the early 70’s . It could take-longer at time’s, in these days many of us travelled in the back of the 4 toners in all weathers we had sleeping bags and made a bed on the gear . We left Kinloss on a Friday and woke up in Skye it was fun. No Health & Safety then one and wagon pulled a trailer full of fuel. No fuel cards !

We used to tell the new troops that you could get “Duty Free” on the ferry. So off they went by now the Ferry men knew and were in on the joke ! As for the Bridge Tolls after the Bridge was built that’s another story.

The Skye Bridge was opened 20 years ago, on 16 October 1995, to replace the ferry and revolutionise road transport to and from the island. Built as a a private finance initiative, the bridge initially had the highest tolls in Europe which led to a decade of non-payment protests.

The old Skye ferry .

Daz Steatham “Still using it when I first joined Kinloss. Remember when the bridge first went in – we used to get waved through/free access to the Isle for callouts but then they used to charge us full price to get back off the island once the job was done!! 🤣🤣”

Ballahullish Bridge

The Glenelg ferry is still running a wee ferry with a great history. Run by locals and well worth for a trip to Skye.

Imagine no bridge across Loch Leven to Glencoe and the only way was a long drive by Kinlochleven if you missed the ferry! Another classic ferry.

As for the Bridge when it was getting built a few of us crossed on the bridge supports along with a few of Scotland’s top young climbers. We got a severe warning from the local police who were waiting for us at the other end. The bridge was built by the Cleveland Bridge & Engineering Company and opened in 1975, replacing the Ballachulish ferry.

Kylesku Bridge – another favourite and when this was getting built a few of my Team bungy jumped of it ! Again we were lucky the Police got in touch .

The cost of the bridge was £4 million, although was earlier budgeted at £2.75 million. The bridge opened to traffic in July 1984, and was formally opened by the …Construction cost: £4 million start: August 1982 : July 1984 opened

Cape wrath ferry – we we used this wee ferry on a few call outs a great adventure. Then the local mini bus to take us to the search areas.

Grand memories maybe next time maybe the big Ferries Arran Rum Harris Orkney and others ?

Comments and stories welcome !

Stan Sherman “It was worse when you arrived at the crossing and found you had missed the last ferry, we spent the night sleeping in the carriages of the Inverness Train one winter.”

About heavywhalley.MBE

Mountain Rescue Specialist. Environmentalist. Spent 37 years with RAF Mountain Rescue and 3 years with a civilian Team . Still an active Mountaineer when body slows, loves the wild places.
This entry was posted in Articles, Enviroment, Equipment, Friends, History, Local area and events to see, Mountain rescue, Mountaineering, People, Sailing trips, Views Mountaineering. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Long Gone Ferries Ballahullish, Skye, Cape Wrath ! Any memories ?

  1. I remember very well ridding shotgun the Bedford MJ 4X4 across the Skye Ferry. Accident Hawker Hunter FGA.9 XK151, 12 Feb 1980. I managed to get a front seat because the rest of the team took a Puma.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ian Jones says:

    The Team parked up for the early morning ferry to Arran in Ardrossan, come back from the pub and troops doss in and under the wagons. A few more “adventurous” (drunk) troops manage to find their way onto the ferry moored alongside in search of a more comfortable doss. The ship was in darkness so after a number of wrong turns we find ourselves in the main lounge, just getting settled when a torch shines on us and frightens us to death. The owner of the torch it transpires was a policeman who also was equally frightened of is unexpected guests. After some explanations and some quick sobering up from us he was quite happy for us to bed down for the night as he was only interested in watching the carpark for car thieves. He was gone when we woke ready for the ferry to depart the next morning.

    Liked by 1 person

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