Britain 2011 - Day 19


After a good breakfast at the Three Chimneys Restaurantwe were ready to start.The day had dawned fine but with scattered cloud and a fair wind, so we went west to the isolated Neist Point Lighthouse, then drove back along Skye, almost to the new bridge over to the mainland. But rather than just drive we decided to use the small ferry that plies across the narrow water between Kylerea and Glenelg. From there we found some of the best preserved brochs in Scotland, then over the Ratagan Pass and on to Aviemore (which proved to be a bit further than we had realised).

Neist Point Lighthouse

After a good breakfast we took the winding road to the isolated lighthouse at Neist Point, the westernmost point of Skye. The road ended at the top of a steep cliff, with the lighthouse below you and further out. There was a stiff wind blowing, but the walk out to the light was relatively sheltered.

Neist Point sign.
Yes, you can live in a lighthouse...
but its over there, beyond the hill.
The views south along the coast are spectacular.
So is the track down....
past the winch for the flying fox
and looking down onto the beach.
Finally youcan see the lighthouse
and the flat point it is built on.
More of the rugged coast..
Then you have to climb back up the cliff
to the car somewhere up the top.

The Glendale Land Leaguers

At the top of the hill leading back from Neist Point, was a small memorial beside the road. It is to the Glendale Land Leaguers who challenged the Government stand against crofters/squatters in this region. Some were arrested and this led to widespread protest.

Typical rural Skye
The road back to Loch Dunvegan.
The Glendale Memorial.

The road to the Kylerhea Ferry

We now headed back down through the western part of Skye, following the A863 back through Bracadale to the junction at Sligachan. Then it was the A87 towards the new road bridge back to the mainland. But we had decided that ferries were the way to get on and off the island and the small Kylerhea to Glenelg ferry was still operating. This is run by a local trust, and is one of the last remaining turntable ferries left in the world. But first we had to get there. The narrow road took us up and over a steep pass, but as we progressed the cloud lifted and the day became fine and warm.

Typical rural Skye..
The road back to Loch Dunvegan.
The heavy clouds were still around
The roads were not heavy with traffic at any stage.
Near the top of the pass
The road over the hills to Kylerea
Looking down towards Kylerea.
Glenelg in the distance
Going down....
the road gets narrow...
but Glenelg and the Five Sisters can be seen in the distance.
Finally at the bottom near the water.

The Kylerhea to Glenelg Ferry

The ferry is a small boat carrying up to 6 cars. It crosses at the narrowest point between Skye and the mainland. The jetty at each side is a stone platform rather than a wharf or ramp and the ferry docks side-on to the coast. To get the cars on and off, the vehicle deck is mounted on a turntable that can be turned around so cars can drive on or off either end. It is a very simple system, but very effective.

The ferry on the other side...
They are keen on this sign in Scotland.
The usual do's and don'ts
A phone box - here?
The narrow strait with a small yacht braving the strong current
The ferry about to leave
heading up the strait against the tidal flow.
a long way up and about to enter the strongest current
Meanwhile, back on the jetty
this heron was stalking lunch. And of course caught a nice fish just as I put the camera down.
The ferry arrives alongside the jetty....
and the turntable rotates to let the cars off....
They beckon us on...
and soon we are off across the waer.
The poor car squashed on the deck.
At the other end the deck rotates and the ramp is lowered - all by hand
and we can drive off
and back onto the single track road.


Despite its rural location, the small settlement of Glenelg is well known - its name is a palindrome, being spelt the same forward and backwards. It was a pretty place, on the fine warm afternoon we drove through, but I suspect it could be cold and bleak in winter.

The hills close to Glenelg...
The signs to Glenelg and the brochs.
For a small settlement it has a large war memorial.
With the usual classical figures although they seem out of place intertwined with the Scots soldier in his kilt.

Dun Telve and Dun Troddan

Not far from Glenelg, and up a sheltered, forested valley are two well preserved brochs - Dun Telve and Dun Troddan. They are two of the best preserved brochs in Scotland. They have exactly the same design as the other brochs we have visited, on Skye and the Isle of Lewis.

The road up the valley.
The forested hills, rather unusual for Scotland..
On the roadside is the sign...
and the broch.
This is how they might have looked...
The low entrance
looking through the passageway between the walls
The stairway between the two walls.
the internal structure
The smooth curve of the outer wall.
the outer wall in detail
The overall internal view
The view up the valley
The next broch about 1km away
This one is not as well preserved and is on a steep hillside.
The overall design is identical
The internal passage and stairs
Looking back down valley to Dun Telve.

Ratagan Pass and the road to Aviemore

After driving back to Glenelg we headed north and up to the top of Ratagan Pass. The road is rather steep and winding, but the top of the pass gives superb views of the Five Sisters and Loch Shiel..... on a fine day. Then it was down to Shiel Bridge, along the A87 to Invergary, the A82 to Spean Bridge and eventually to Aviemore. Along the way we had to stop for strange stone men (a tourist artifact), a boat (on the Caledonian Canal) and the sun (shining off Loch Lochy). But we made it to Aviemore and our accommodation at the Cairngorm Hotel. It was a nice room, dinner was pleasant and we had high hopes of a good day climbing the railway to the top of Cairngorm Mountain.

The road up towards Ratagan Pass.
Still climbing..
Higher, but still on the Glenelg side..
and then the top..
Ratagan Pass...
The Five Sisters
Loch Duich
The Five Sisters and Shiel Bridge
The Stone Men of Loch Loyne (otherwise known as the tourist's folly) .
Loch Loyne
Tourists - perhaps they built a stone man?
Loch Loyne from the top of the A87
Stopping for a boat!!
Where the road crosses the Caledonian Canal. The Laggan Swing Bridge.
The low sun striking Loch Lochy
Getting close to Aviemore and signs of Autumn..
The Cairngorm Hotel
And our room.

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Last updated: 19/06/2017