The Scottish Executive is being asked to guarantee the future of two nearby ferry crossings after they promised to remove the tolls on the Skye bridge.
The private ferry crossing at Glenelg to Kylerea, and the Caledonian Macbrayne crossing between Mallaig and Armadale will be at risk of downturn of traffic when the bridge is free, say local councillors.
Highland councillor Charlie King warned that millions of pounds were at stake and said he was not reassured by a letter from the Transport Minister. Nicol Stephen has already stressed that the executive has no plans to withdraw the Mallaig/Armadale service.
Mr King claimed the reply was too open-ended and said he wanted to see financial guarantees for both services.
Geographically, going via the Skye Bridge rather than the Mallaig-Armadale ferry would involve a detour for tourists of some 100 miles. People would have to head north of Fort William towards Kyle rather than turn off towards Mallaig.
The ferry at Glenelg is a lot closer and is more likely to attract tourists who wish an alternative passage to Skye, going via single track roads with breathtaking views. Going via the Skye Bridge would certainly be a lot more easier and convenient.
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 2004.
Most recent revision, 27 January 2004