Prior to 1982, travelers north of Inverness had the
choice of the Kessock Ferry or a journey via Beauly. The
Kessock Ferry used to ply between Inverness and
the Black Isle, across the Beauly Firth.
There is an early record of a ferry at Kessock in the
15th century. Over the years various sail, steam and
diesel-powered ferries have crossed the narrows to
provide a direct link between the Black Isle and
The ferry was caught in a storm early in the evening of
23 February 1894, leading to the death of three ferrymen
and three coastguards who were attempting to rescue
The two steam boats Nellie and Maud formed
the Kessock Ferry before, during and until just after
the First World War. They were named after relatives of
Lord Burton of Dochfour, whose family owned the Kessock
Estate and the ferry. In the winter, passengers were
usually outnumbered by cattle, sheep and pigs on their
way to market.
The Eilean Dubh was the first purpose-built
vehicle ferry on the route. Built by James Lamont & Co
of Port Glasgow, she was launched on 7 February 1951
and was capable of carrying eight cars, with a
small indoor passenger cabin. She was retained as relief
vessel in 1967 and went on to do salvage and rig support
work, eventually being scrapped at Invergordon.
The Inbhir Nis, a four-vehicle vessel, was added
in the 1950s.
The Rosehaugh was purchased in 1967, a much
larger ferry boat, with ramps on all four corners. She
was moved to the Corran Ferry after Kessock closed and
is now a multipurpose cargo boat operated by MacDonald
Ferries of Invergordon. Today she acts as tender for oil
rigs in the Cromarty Firth.
Today, the Kessock Bridge - a cable-stayed bridge –
carries travelers across the Beauly Firth, an inlet of
the Moray Firth, between the village of North Kessock
and the city of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.