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Kyle of Lochalsh

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Kyle of Lochalsh is a Village next to the Skye Bridge, 74 miles northwest of Fort William, 80 miles southwest of Inverness.

Kyle of Lochalsh is popular for a number of Boat Trips with one having a Glass Bottom, Railway Museum with scenic 90 minute Train Trips, for exploring this remote part of the Scottish Mainland, as a Base for exploring the Isle of Skye, and for visiting Eilean Ban Island with the home of Gavin Maxwell, author of Ring of Bright Water.

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The roads north from Kyle of Lochalsh take you to the small, remote and extremely scenic Villages of Applecross 40 miles north, and Torridon 45 miles north, through Mountains and over the 2,053ft Bealach na Ba, one of the top Driving Roads in Scotland.

Eilean Donan Castle is 8 miles east of Kyle of Lochalsh at Glen Shiel, one of the top Castles to visit in Scotland.

The Image top right is of the road running down into the Kyle of Lochalsh from the south. The second image is of the Town centre where there is a Visitor Centre that gives information on the Village, Area, and Boat Trips.

The Lochalsh Hotel has great views across to the Isle of Skye, and to the Skye Bridge.

The Slip at the Lochalsh Hotel is where the Ferries used to run across to the Village of Kyleakin on the Isle of Skye. The Skye Bridge was completed in 1995, leading to the end of the Ferries.

The Kyle Line Railway Museum is at the Train Station by the Pier. The Train Journey between Kyle of Lochalsh and Dingwall, 15 miles northwest of Inverness, is popular with tourists, crossing one of the most remote parts of Scotland. Wiki Page.

Seaprobe Atlantis is a Glass Bottomed Boat that provides Boat Trips to view Wildlife, and a World War II Shipwreck. This company also provides fast RIBs for more exhilarating trips.

Spirit of Adventure is a smaller Boat used for Wildlife Trips, Fishing, and Diving.

Eilean Ban Island is on the north side of Kyle of Lochalsh, now with part of the Skye Bridge built on it. The Island is popular for Wildlife, and as it was the home of Gavin Maxwell, author of the book Ring of Bright Water, about Otters. You can book tours of the Island through the website.

Kyle of Lochalsh History

800s - Vikings began populating the Western Isles of Scotland including the Isle of Skye. The Vikings then began brutal raids throughout the Scottish Mainland.

1200s - Eilean Donan Castle was built for King Alexander II, 8 miles east of Kyle of Lochalsh, to try and prevent Viking raids, and Scottish Clans from feuding amongst themselves.

1200s - the Vikings were forced out of the Western Isles, leading to Clan MacDonald becoming the Lords of the Isles. The MacDonald's were involved in a number of feuds over the following centuries with Clans on the Mainland.

1500s - a Settlement is believed to have grown at the Kyle of Lochalsh, at one of the shortest crossings from the Mainland to the Isle of Skye.

1746 - the Battle of Culloden by Inverness was the final defeat for the Jacobite's, last Battle on the British mainland.

Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped the Government Troops at Culloden by traveling by boat to the Isle of Skye where Flora MacDonald helped him return to safety in France. This romantic event led to the Isle of Skye becoming the most famous Island in Scotland.

1809 - Sir Walter Scott tours Scotland leading to him writing the books: Lady of the Lake, and Rob Roy. These books helped promote Scotland as a popular tourist destination.

1819 - the Road from Inverness reached Kyle of Lochalsh.

1842 - Queen Victoria takes the first of her many Tours of Scotland, giving great reviews, leading to more Tourists.

1884 - the Skye Boat Song is published contain 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 was completed between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh, through one of the most remote parts of Scotland.

1897 - the large Lochalsh Hotel was built next to the Railway Station and Ferry Slip.

This led to Kyle of Lochalsh becoming the main Port for Ferries to the Isle of Skye.

Larger Mail / Passenger Ships were also introduced at that time to operate between Kyle of Lochalsh and the Isle of Lewis, about an 80 mile trip by sea.

1956 - Gavin Maxwell moved to a Cottage in the very remote area of Sandaig, 28 miles south of Kyle of Lochalsh. Maxwell had with him an Otter brought back from a trip to Iraq. This led to him writing a book about Otters named Ring of Bright Water, becoming a best seller that also lead to a Film.

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, leading to him moving to a cottage on Eilean Ban Island at Kyle of Lochalsh.

1969 - Gavin Maxwell died, leading to Eilean Ban Island becoming a Tourist Attraction.

1970 - new larger Ferries were added to the short Isle of Skye crossing that could carry 28 cars.

1973 - the introduction of much larger Ferries for the Isle of Lewis crossing led to Ullapool being used for this service. Ullapool is 85 miles north of Kyle of Lochalsh, with a much larger port, and crossings from there are shorter at around 53 miles.

The best known of the Kyle of Lochalsh to the Ilse of Lewis Ferries was MV Loch Seaforth (1947).

1995 - the Skye Bridge was completed, leading to the end of the Kyle of Lochalsh to Isle of Skye Ferries.

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