Most people going the Isle of Skye from mainland Scotland drive over the Skye Bridge. But those who opt instead to reach the island by crossing the Kyle Rhea strait are in for an extra special experience: a ride on the world’s last manually operated turntable ferry.
The MV Glenachulish is a small but fascinating vessel. The nearly 50-year-old ferry previously served other crossings, but has been making the winding route between Glenelg and Kylerhea since 1982.
About six cars can pack onto the ferry. Once the cars and their passengers are loaded, dock workers manually pull and push the top part of the Glenachulish, which was built atop a giant turntable, to spin it around. Once everything’s facing the correct direction, the ferry sets off on its journey across the strong currents of the strait.
The local community bought the unusual vessel in 2007 after its previous owner retired. More than a decade later, the boat is still sailing strong. It was renovated in 2017, so travelers can look forward to many more future crossings on this rare ferry.
A local charitable trust owns and operates the ferry in 2023. It still operates on schedule and connects the awesome roads on either side. The descent from the Kyleakin side should leave drivers begging for parking spots. Do take your time, it’s one of the best drives, certainly on or around Skye, maybe the UK.
Know Before You Go
The ferry operates seasonally, from April to October. A car with up to four passengers is £18.00 one way. Check its web page for times. The ferry is operating normally in June 2023.