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Updated 05/01/2020

 


Kessock Ferry

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 Inverness.

         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 them.

         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.