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Scottish Gaelic: An Caolas Cumhang
Kylesku is located in Sutherland
 Kylesku shown within the Sutherland area
OS grid reference NC230336
Civil parish Assynt
Council area Highland
Lieutenancy area Sutherland
Country Scotland
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town LAIRG
Postcode district IV27 4
Police Scottish
Fire Scottish
Ambulance Scottish
EU Parliament Scotland
UK Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Scottish Parliament Caithness, Sutherland and Ross
List of places

Coordinates: 58°15′20″N 5°01′03″W / 58.25554°N 5.01743°W / 58.25554; -5.01743

Kylesku (Scottish Gaelic: An Caolas Cumhang) is a small, remote fishing hamlet in Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands. Until 1984, it was the site of a free ferry.


Kylesku is located where Loch Glencoul and Loch Gleann Dubh join to form a sea passage Loch a' Chàirn Bhàin which links to Eddrachillis Bay. It is in the Scottish council area of Highland.

Kylesku and surroundings

The village stretches back along the road from the slipway that used to be the southern end of the ferry crossing. Now by-passed by the main road carried over the bridge, the Kylesku Hotel overlooks the slipway.[1] Nearby is Eas a' Chual Aluinn, Britain's highest waterfall. This can be visited on a boat trip aboard Rachael Clare.[1]

Kylesku sits at the centre of a 2,000 km2 (770 sq mi) area which has become Scotland's first 'Global Geopark'.[2] There is abundant wildlife and a wide range of outdoor pursuits in or on the lochs, mountains and white sandy beaches, including bird watching, seal and otter spotting, fishing, climbing and hill walking.


Queen of Kylesku in 1971

There was a passenger ferry (a rowing boat) in the early 19th century.[1] Commercial traffic mainly comprised cattle on their way to central Scotland, and they had to swim across. Over the years, various ferries came and went, and small car-carrying ferries first appeared between the wars. The Kylesku Ferry was unusual in being free for much of its life.[1]

The Maid of Kylesku, a two car ferry, was built for the Kylesku crossing in the early 1950s, where it served until replaced by the Queen of Kylesku in 1967.[1] When no longer needed, the Maid of Kylesku was simply beached and lay, grounded on the opposite side of the bay.

In 1976, the Maid of Glencoul, built in Ardrossan, became the first vessel capable of carrying fully loaded commercial vehicles.[1] After the opening of the Kylesku Bridge she went on to serve as the Corran Ferry.

The new bridge carries the A894 road across the Kyles from Kylesku to Kylestrome


The ferry service became known as a dreaded bottleneck on the route north - south and was replaced by a bridge in 1984.[3] This was opened by the Queen. The bridge is 276m long and crosses a 130m stretch of water.[1] The curving, five-span, continuous, pre-stressed concrete, hollow bridge,[4] has been described as one of the most beautiful bridges in the world.[2] The bridge was built by Morrison Construction Group, designed by the architects Arup (to complement the natural beauty of the site) and has won several design and construction awards.

A cairn on the north side, erected in 1993, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the formation of the XIIth Submarine Flotilla, a unit of "X-craft" and "Chariot" miniature submarines, which trained in Lochs Glendhu and Glencoul from 1943.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Kylesku". Undiscovered Scotland. Retrieved 19 September 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "More about the Kylesku Area". Kylesku Hotel. Retrieved 19 September 2009. 
  3. ^ Atkinson, Tom (1986). The Empty Lands. Luarth Press. ISBN 0-946487-13-8. 
  4. ^ "Kylesku". Gazetteer for Scotland. Retrieved 19 September 2009.