The road to the small settlement of Kylerhea, branches off the A87. A single track road, it runs through the picturesque Glen Arroch. Before the opening of the Skye Bridge, this was one of the primary ferry routes from the mainland to the Isle of Skye

The Glenelg – Skye Ferry

The ferry today operates as a Community Interest Company. The MV Glenachulish is unique, the last manual turntable ferry in the world. Due to COVID-19, it will not operate during 2020, but with luck will be back in 2021. We wish them all the best.

View over Kylerhea to Glenelg Bay

Swimming Cows!

From the early 17th. century and into the 19th. Highland Black cattle were raised in great numbers on Skye and in the Western Isles. Each autumn, men called Drovers would walk them to cattle fairs in the central belt of Scotland.

The Kylerhea Narrows, the dotted line across the straits represents the ferry route.

The strait between Kylerhea and Glenelg is the closest point between Skye and the mainland. The cattle were swum across the water here, at suitable states of tide. The timing was critical. At the highest tides, a vast volume of water squeezes though the narrow channel. It reaches a flow of up to 8 knots, over 9 mph.

The view from the ferry slipway at the Kylerhea side, to the slipway on the Glenelg side.

Power to & from Skye

Note the electricity pylons in the picture below. These carry the connection between the Western Isles, Skye and the mainland. There is significant renewable electricity generation on the islands. But this connection is necessary too. Notice also, a group of coastal kayakers, enjoying the sunshine.

Looking left (North), from the Kylerhea ferry slipway

Eddies & Overfalls

A little to the right (South) of the Kylerhea slipway, you will notice disturbance in the water. When I took the pictures from the Kylerhea side, the tide was running South.

And looking a little closer.


These can be caused by the speed of the water flowing over rock formations on the sea bed.

A view from the other side

A couple of hours later and on the Glenelg side of the strait. It’s now low tide and there’s no great movement either North or South, “slack” tide.

Looking back to Kylerhea.

On patrol

The Marine Protection Vessel Minna, making passage North through the strait. Minna is one of three fisheries protection vessels operated by Marine Scotland.

MPV Minna

Not a great shot I’ll admit; but this seal was working the kelp out from the slipway. Seals can be often seen round here and if you’re very lucky; an otter, or one of the area’s resident pair of Sea Eagles.


Looking back

Taken from the road which runs from Glenelg to Eileanreach. Looking back to the southern end of the Kylerhea Narrows.

Kylerhea narrows

Looking a little closer, you’ll see a small vessel heading North. Note also the lighthouse on the Kylerhea shoreline, beyond the narrowest point.

Kylerhea narrows