Speed bonnie boat like a bird on the wing. . . .
Skye is a romantic island and getting here is not without some romance. The most traditional way is to take the original ferry crossing between Glenelg and Kylerhea on the world’s last manually operated turntable ferry, the MV Glenachulish. This was the original crossing to Skye and drovers route (apparently the cattle were tied nose to tail!) and is by far the most beautiful way to find yourself on the island, taking in a stunning, almost alpine road to Glenelg. Simply turn off the A87 at Sheil bridge. The ferry is operated between Easter and the end of October (check the website for availability) by a cooperative. Once over onto Skye, continue from Kylerhea into Broadford.
Broadford to Glasnakille
Once in Broadford, I suggest you take advantage to stock up on provisions at the Co Op, as the shop in Elgol only really carries provisions for top-ups (but has excellent cakes!). To get to Glasnakille, continue through Broadford towards Portree for approximately 200m then turn left for Elgol taking the B8083 approximately 200m after the Co op.
The B8083 is famed for being the prettiest on Skye but is single tracked and can be quite congested in the Summer. Just take your time (things move at a slower pace in Skye) and enjoy the stunning views. Once you get to Elgol, you need to continue down the steep hill where you’ll see the directions for Glasnakille off to the left. Drive over the moor (quite a twisty last bit) and once you come into Glasnakille, turn right at the red telephone box and No 6, Stone Cottage is 200 meters on the right.
There is a larger roll on roll off ferry between Mallaig and Armadale which is operated by Caledonian MacBrayne and operates year round (weather permitting). Check their website for availability (www.calmac.co.uk) or call 01475 6501000. Take the turning for Mallaig after Fort William and you’ll be treated to some fabulous scenery getting to Mallaig. Once across at Armadale, turn right, following the signs for Portree (A851). When you reach Broadford (approx 17 miles), follow the directions (above) to get to Glasnakille.
Or you could always cross over the Skye bridge to get to the island, which has the advantage of being open 24/7. Turn right on the roundabout after the bridge to Broadford (7 miles) and follow the directions above.
The nearest airport to Skye is Inverness which is approximately two hours drive away along very scenic roads following Loch Ness. There are daily flights from London, Luton, Gatwick, Manchester and Bristol with Easyjet, Flybe and BA. To check the timetable please go to Inverness Airport’s website. There are several hire car places at the airport or you can get the train to Kyle of Lochalsh and hire a car there.
Whether you travel from Inverness to Kyle of Lochalsh, or from Fort William to Mallaig, you will experience one of the world’s great train journeys. The Jacobite Steam Train runs to Mallaig from May to October, a thrill for steam enthusiasts and Harry Potter fans alike as it chugs over the famous Glenfinnan viaduct, well known from the film. If you need further information contact: Scotrail: www.scotrail.co.uk