Kyle of Lochalsh Stories and Tips

The Skye Bridge Ville: intro to Kyle

Skye Bridge Photo, Isle of Skye, Scotland

Since the construction of the Kyle Bridge, the village of Kyle of Lochalsh, which had lost a lot of its tourist traffic and some importance as a main ferry crossing point to Skye, has somewhat reinvented itself as a bit of a destination in its own right, with several shops selling gifts and souvenirs as well as basic (and not so basic) provisions, a few eating places, a choice of accommodation and a few visitors' attractions.

Many tour buses make a stop in Kyle, and if you are travelling by public transport to the area you might need to change here as it's the terminus for the trains and some coaches. If you are driving it's still worth at least a brief stop, especially on a sunny day when views to Skye are rather good.

If you are planning on self-catering in southern Skye (especially in Sleat area), Kyle is your last supermarket stop – a big co-op is located on the hill and has a variety of provisions.

But the best practical shop in Kyle is called Marine Stores, and although nominally a chandler's, is in fact a universal ironmonger/DIY/household store that sells everything from camping chairs, blow-up mattresses and gas cylinders to household items, power tools, paint and minor electricals. Essentially, if you need anything practical of a non-food nature in the Kyle/southern Skye area, Marine stores is your best bet.

Marine Stores are located near the obvious village centre, by the small car park between the souvenir shop that offers bookings for the Atlantis semi-sub (the chief Kyle attraction) and the woollens shop (which has some nice knitting).

Kyle pharmacy opposite has, quite surprisingly, a good selection of local books and maps as well as all kinds of Skye gifts including excellent (if expensive) cosmetics and candles.

In the same area is Hector's cafe, which offers standard cafe type food in a sit-down setting, while across the main road, Hector's 2 Go is a chip shop that in addition to fish suppers (good fish, not so good chips) sells a vast selection of other fast food items from pizza to sandwiches, kebabs and burgers.

The more civilised eating options in Kyle include the Waverley restaurant up the main street past two banks and a seafood place on the train station platform, while both hotels (Kyle and Lochalsh) have eating places too. Recently, a small fish deli which also sells good ice-cream opened in a portacabin near the slipway and pontoons.

In addition to the Atlantis semi-sub, Kyle attractions include a small museum of the Kyle railway line as well as, from the bridge, access to Eilean Ban islet with a lighthouse (possibly the one from Virginia Woolf's novel) and museum of Gavin Maxwell of the ''Ring of Bright Water'' otter novel fame. You can also have a peek in the Lifeboat Station and take a fishing trip on the Spirit of Adventure.

Kyle also boasts the Leisure centre, which, although serving mostly the locals, might be a lifesaver on cold, rainy days especially if you have young 'uns with you.

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