Kylerhea, Skye

Descent to Kylerhea, Skye
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Descent to Kylerhea, © 2021, The Boon Companion

With Covid lockdown lifted (at least for now) but international travel still looking like a Very Bad Idea for the rest of the year, the Boon Companion and I are back to travelling around Scotland. Our most recent trip was to Kylerhea, at the eastern end of the Isle of Skye.

It’s not a particularly easy place to get to. From the rest of Skye, it’s reached by a scenic, tortuous, single-track road, the last section of which you can see in the image above.

From the mainland, in summer, it can be reached from the palindromic village of Glenelg, via the little six-car ferry that plies back and forth across the Kyle Rhea narrows. The tide rips through this narrow strait at a rate of knots, such that the ferry occasionally has to travel almost sideways between its two piers.

Kylerhea ferry
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Kylerhea ferry, © 2021, The Boon Companion

But Glenelg is connected to the rest of Scotland by another scenic, tortuous, single-track road.

Road to Glenelg
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Road to Glenelg, © 2021, The Boon Companion

So it’s an interesting place to get to. But once there, we were comfortably installed in a self-catering “cottage” with a fine view over the narrows to the mainland.

Kyn, Kylerhea
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Kyn, Kylerhea, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Interior of Kyn, Kylerhea
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Interior of Kyn, Kylerhea, © 2021, The Boon Companion

The weather was … well … Skye in May. So a bit of mixed bag, but we had a period of sunshine every day, as you’ll glean from the photographs.

We did our usual thing of driving somewhere and then spending a few hours walking through the scenery, but we did also need to keep pulling over to admire the views along the way, too.

Head of Loch Duich from Ratagan pass
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Head of Loch Duich from Ratagan pass, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Blabheinn from Torrin
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Blabheinn from Torrin, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Beinn na Chaillich from Loch Cill Chriosd, Skye
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Beinn na Chaillich from Loch Cill Chriosd, © 2021, The Boon Companion

From the little village of Plockton we walked along the coast through an honest-to-god rhododendron forest, to the baronial pile of Duncraig Castle, which, like Dunrobin Castle, has its own little railway station, complete with an octagonal wooden waiting room (first-class only, I imagine).

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Plockton, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Rhododendron forest, Plockton
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Rhodondendron forest, Plockton, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Duncraig Castle, Plockton
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Duncraig Castle, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Duncraig railway station
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Duncraig railway station, © 2021, The Boon Companion

On another day we wended our way past the Talisker Distillery to reach the lovely little Talisker Bay.

Track to Talisker Bay, Skye
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Track to Talisker Bay, © 2021, The Boon Companion

The sand at Talisker is a slightly surreal mix of volcanic black and cockleshell white, which sorts itself continuously into new patterns as the tide ebbs and flows.

Talisker Bay, Skye
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Talisker Bay, © 2021, The Boon Companion

And we drove past the striking war memorial at Glenelg to reach the brochs of Gleannbeag.

War Memorial, Glenelg
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War Memorial, Glenelg, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Dun Telve Broch, Glenelg
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Dun Telve Broch, Glenelg, © 2021, The Boon Companion
Dun Troddan Broch, Glenelg
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Dun Troddan Broch, Glenelg, © 2021, The Boon Companion

I’ve written about Scottish brochs before, when I made my Three Brochs Tour during lockdown, but now I can give you an impression of what the original structures must have looked like. The view of Dun Troddan, above, shows the complex structure of the walls, which contained internal stairs and what seems to have been a passive ventilation system so that rainwater which penetrated the outer drystone wall did not make the interior space damp.

On the wildlife front, we had a few distant deer, a white-tailed eagle above the Talisker road, and this little fellow, who clonked off the picture window one evening:

Willow Warbler or Chiffchaff?
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© 2021, The Boon Companion

It might be a Willow Warbler, it might be a Chiffchaff. Their song is reportedly the best way to tell them apart, but it was understandably not in the mood for singing. But after a while it had a little experimental hop around (straightening those alarmingly bent toes), gave me a reproachful look, and flew off.

So. Our first trip of 2021, after a lockdown cancellation earlier in the year. There are more planned—we’ll see how that turns out.

Rainbow at sunset, Kylerhea
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Rainbow at sunset, Kylerhea, © 2021, The Oikofuge

9 thoughts on “Kylerhea, Skye”

  1. Great record of your trip with BC’s calendar worthy photographs. (no “snaps” there )
    I was fascinated by the image of the road into Glenelg –what is around the corner ..sheep, another car, a man with a cow etc . What was the rug on the floor of your digs . My first thought was what poor animal gave up it’s skin for it. . The rhodo.. forest picture was very eerie and no rhododendron in sight. I had the pleasure of walking through a pine and rhododendron forest in Nepal when the the rhodos.. were in full bloom .. Can picture it to this day. . Poor wee birdie but a healthy looking lone sheep on the road to Talisker

    1. Yes, often a surprise around the corner–sheep, Highland cattle, tractors, people toiling up the hill on bikes, someone stopped in the middle of the road to take a photograph…
      I’m not sure about the object on the floor. It was either a very white goat, or something synthetic.
      There were a few more sheep, some rather bold lambs, and a friendly cat farther down the Talisker Bay track.

  2. For some reason unable to “Like” this post, so doing so verbally.

    Greetings from 5 miles north of Dunrobin Castle (as mentioned) and its seasonal rail station – I live within train-whistling distance of the next station up on the Far North line.

    In between Dunrobin and Brora, our local Moray Firth-view-broch is Carn Liath – a broch base only.

    Loving your blog posts and eclecticism, Yoiks!

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying my various rambling on whatever is currently preoccupying me. The WordPress “like” button seems to behave a little like Brigadoon, appearing only to a lucky few. So far, I’ve been at a loss to fix it.
      I wrote a few years ago about our own trip to Dunrobin and points north; the post is here.

  3. It must have been really pleasing to be able to make a nice trip like this again. And as usual the photos are gorgeous.

    This is the third time that the Kyle Rhea ferry has come to my attention in the last 2 weeks. Firstly, it was shown in a repeat of the TV Show “Vintage Roads” with Peter Davidson. Then there was a piece about in a new, here, episode of “Secret Scotland” presented by Susan Calman. And now on your blog. It must be a plot to make me visit there after the present unpleasantness is finally under control.

    I must be more of an TV addict than I realised as I was trying to remember why Plockton rang a bell – and of course it was the filming location for “Hamish Macbeth”.

    That Rhododendron forest looks almost impassable. I remember, a few years ago, discussing with you about the problems that plant was causing after our trip to Ireland. Is much attempt being made to control it on the west coast of Scotland?

    1. It was certainly nice to have a change of scenery.
      Yes, Plockton and Kyle of Lochalsh provided the locations for Hamish Macbeth.
      A lot of big public landowners in Scotland (Forestry and Land, John Muir Trust, National Trust) are pumping millions into clearing rhododendron. Some years ago, when the CCCP were in Torridon, an entire valley was being cleared, with people carrying chainsaws descending by ropes into the gully, and cranes lifting out cut branches. But it depends on the landowner, and I suspect local councils (eternally cash-strapped) would be the people responsible for clearing rhododendrons from road verges and public pathways, so that’s less likely to happen.

  4. Ok I am a bit worried now. The only CCCP I know of is the ‘old’ Soviet Union – I believe it is the literal (?) translation of the Cyrillic name for what we called the USSR. Was there a secret invasion designed to beautify Scotland that has been hushed up? Searching around the Internet made me none the wiser.

  5. Ah yes thanks – I do remember your post about them. The acronym slipped my mind – sorry. I am now much relieved that the territorial integrity of Scotland was not breached.

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