The tiny settlement of Kylerhea is on the East coast of Skye, just south of Kyleakin but it feels much more remote. It is approached either by road or, between Easter and October, by ferry from Glenelg. Either route is an unforgettable experience. Driving to Kylerhea the road is the highest in Skye. Starting at near sea level between Broadford and Kyleakin, it climbs to 279m high over Bealach Udal where the views are extraordinary. It then commences its descent, curling around hair pin bends and clinging to the side of steep slopes as it plunges back down to the village of Kylerhea.
The drive to Glenelg, where the ferry leaves the mainland, is just as breathtaking. The village of Glenelg is itself worth a visit. The ferry is a manually operated turntable ferry of a type no longer used anywhere else in Scotland. The 550m between Glenelg and Kylerhea only takes 5 minutes to cross but it is considered a tricky crossing because tidal currents are very strong. This is the narrowest part of the kyles that separate Skye from the mainland and as such it has been used as a crossing point for centuries. Cattle used to be driven across here for sale in the lowlands and there was a ferry here as long ago as the 1600s.
Kylerhea’s unspoilt natural beauty may be the reason for it’s poularity with Otters. The Forestry Commission Otter Haven has a great reputation. For the price of a donation, visitors can use the well positioned hide to watch for otters, birds and seals.
As a holiday base Kylerhea is perfect for nature lovers who want a remote experience without having to travel too far to get it. The drive to Broadford, and all the facilities and attractions offered there, takes twenty-five minutes. The ferry offers access to Glenelg with its hotel bar and restaurant, shop, post office and sandy beach. Visitors with their heart set on this holiday destination should book well in advance as accommodation is limited to a few self-catering properties.