Friday, April 01, 2011

Ferry gliding across the Kyles of Bute.

Night was drawing in as we left Eilean Dubh heading for the East Kyle. We took a last look down the West Kyle before we entered the tidal channel that runs through the Burnt Islands. The tide had turned against us, so we ferry glided from one island to the other, making use of the eddies. In the gloom of the twilight the scene was quite different...

...from the misty sunshine we had seen on the Burnt Islands when we drove the shuttle over the high pass that morning.

As we approached Colintraive, we discovered we were not the only ones ferry gliding across the Kyles of Bute! The skipper of the MV Loch Dunvegan came over for a friendly chat as we were packing up. It turns out that although the crossing is only 5 minutes, it is one of the busiest CalMac srvices in terms of vehicles carried per day and the number of launches and landings. I remember using the MV Loch Dunvegan to cross to Skye in the days before the Skye Bridge was opened in 1995. She was built in 1991 at Fergusons Yard in Port Glasgow. After leaving Skye she was relief vessel on various crossings until she moved to the Kyles of Bute route in 1999.

We finished the day with a tasty meal and chat with the locals in the Colintraive Hotel, which we have visited before! The hotel can even arrange kayak tuition for its guests. If staying in a hotel is over budget or if there is good weather Carry Farm camp site is right on the shore further down the West Kyle. Lower Loch Fyne and the Kyles of Bute make a fantastic sea kayaking destination.


  1. Great trip report of a favourite area Douglas. I lived on Bute for nine years pre-paddling days, (what a missed opportunity!) and have paddled there a lot since.

    My wife's grandfather so loved the view in your second last picture that he asked for his ashes to be taken there; they're interred not far from the spot you took the photo from.

    Eilean Dubh's heronry can produce some very strange noises on a misty day - like sticks being clattered together, very weird.

    Kind Regardds

  2. Hello Ian, yes its a fabulous spot. The heronry was all quiet when we passed but the last time we passed, it was like World War 3, it was herons fencing with their bills. I wonder if that is what you heard?