Crossing the Kessock Narrows – From Ferry to Bridge

When I was a little girl, the only quick way to cross the Kessock Narrows between North and South Kessock in Inverness was by ferry – the alternative was a long drive that necessitated having to follow the ‘old’ coastal route from Inverness to Beauly then doubling back again along the other side of the Beauly Firth, which if I remember rightly was a circuitous trip of at least twenty-something miles or so each way.

The short shuttle ferry crossing between the two Kessocks both thrilled and scared me equally – you had to drive down a solid ramp towards the sea, then cross over onto the undulating ferry at a sideways angle on an equally undulating flimsy metal ramp where you could clearly see the sea moving beneath onto the little boat (that held about 8 cars and additional foot passengers). The crossing itself took less than ten minutes, then we had to repeat in reverse the precarious process of getting from boat to shore.

Then in 1982 the expansive Kessock Bridge was opened, suspended high over the water and rendering the little ferry crossing obsolete, but yesterday I took a walk to explore the old ferry ramp of my childhood memory, still very much in situ. Looking eastwards from the old ramp you can even see the new bridge that replaced it, and looking across towards North Kessock you can see the other ramp still in place too, to the far left of the southern ramp.

In my younger days, the entire area of South Kessock was always known locally as ‘The Ferry’ and is seems it’s still called that today, even though there has been no ferry crossing there for almost 40 years now! 🙂

PS For bridge aficionados (looking at you here, Dan!), according to Wikipedia the Kessock Bridge has a total length of 1056m (3465ft) with a main span of 240m (787ft). The bridge carries the main A9 trunk road from the South through Inverness to the Black Isle and the North, and due to the Great Glen Fault the bridge has been built with seismic buffers over the line of the fault.

PPS I’ve driven over the bridge countless times in my life, but have never once walked it – so maybe that’s something better left to a future balmy summer’s day, rather than atempting it over the chilly winter months…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Follow

Inverness at Night

Every time I walk home across the Victorian footbridge over the River Ness, I look across and think how lovely it must be to capture the lights of the main bridge reflected in the river – so tonight I took my camera for a walk to see how I got on… I even remembered to take my mini tripod, and to set my ISO on as low a setting as possible, and to set the shutter timer to prevent camera shake.

So overall it went OK, in that happily I definitely got loads of sharp images, but nevertheless I find the colours of the lights are disappointing, insipid somehow – the lights on the main bridge change at regular intervals, and although that probably looks great at a fast shutter speed, it seems the quick change almost cancels out the vibrant colour range over a longer exposure…

I’m happy enough with the way this shot turned out, though, and I know I’ll have plenty of opportunities to try and try and try again to get it right, just exactly the way I want it 🙂

Kessock Bridge from Clachnaharry

The Kessock Bridge crosses the eastern end of the Beauly Firth at Inverness, carrying the A9 main road across the water. Before the bridge was built, a ferry used to run the short distance between North and South Kessock – a ferry trip I remember very well from childhood 🙂