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…