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.
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!! 🤣🤣”
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.”