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Speedboat Trip on Lochalsh, Isle of Skye, Scotland UK
An evening speedboat trip around Lochalsh, from the harbour at Kyleakin,
under the Skye Bridge and on past a few seals to Eilean Donan Castle.
25th July 2009 at 8.00 p.m.

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Loch Alsh from the Skye Bridge

View from the Skye Bridge looking East across Lochalsh.
Before the bridge was built, the main crossing to the Isle of Skye was a ferry from Kyle of Lochalsh (on the left) to Kyleakin.
All Aboard the Blue Jack

It was a lovely July evening and the sun was kissing the Cuillins behind the Skye Bridge when I donned the waterproof clothing (no extra charge) to board the Blue Jack, a sleek wee (6.8 metre) rigid inflatable boat at Kyleakin (pronounced – Kyle Akin) harbour, Isle of Skye.

This fast craft was skippered by Jessica, a blond haired, blue-eyed, young woman of obvious Viking descent.
Her ‘First-mate’ (her father) bore an uncanny resemblance to Kirk Douglas, the most famous Viking (I saw the movie) of them all — OK . . . the light was fading a bit.

The people of the Hebrides are very proud of their Viking ancestry. Vikings were the greatest seafarers that ever dipped an oar in the water and those oars could propel them at 15 knots.

Blue Jack speed boat
Kyleakin harbour

Some young men get a bit embarrassed when Jessica shows them what to do with the long dangling strap at the back of the life jacket (nautical name — Crotch Strap).

Jessica described the bits hidden inside the life jacket. I can’t remember what they all were but there was a small gas bottle and a whistle and there may have been a packed lunch but I could be confusing that with refreshments after the trip.

Our passenger-manifest was three Koreans, two Scots and one Irish.
We stepped down into the boat (long legs are an asset) and swung a leg over the ‘motor-cycle’ style seats.
We powered off and passed underneath the Skye Bridge in both directions.

I took out my notebook and put a tick in my list of ‘things-to-do-before-I-die’.

life jacket    passenger

passengergroup

Passing the Kyle of Lochalsh, we saw some seals. They did not seem very impressed by us. On we powered over Lochalsh (Loch Alsh). We saw some tourists climbing around Eilean Donan Castle but they did not have the unique view that we had.

We enjoyed a good view of the Five Sisters of Kintail mountain range and heard about the three strong tides that simultaneously buffeted our boat, but our Viking crew were such competent seafarers that none of us landlubbers even noticed.

The boat was incredibly comfortable and the seat design gave a strong feeling of security. Even the non-swimmers forgot their fear and stood up for a better view when the boat was stationary during the information sessions.

skipper

 

The trip lasted about an hour and our local knowledge was much increased as we returned to Kyleakin harbour (hope you’ve got the pronunciation correct by now). We had heard stories and legends:

How did the Five Sisters of Kintail get its name?
Who is the female buried on the Hill of the Old Woman?
Why can’t you buy ‘Duty-free’ on the Blue Jack?

Jessica and the Blue Jack can be spotted at various parts of the Inner Hebrides. Elgol to Loch Curuisk or the Isles of Soay, Rum, Canna and Eigg.

Hill of the Old Woman

If you are visiting the Isle of Skye, this boat trip should be number two on your list of priorities. Number one is of course finding accommodation.

Kyleakin is small, picturesque, quiet and well located for visiting Skye and surrounding areas such as Plockton.
I stayed at the Kings Arms Hotel on the seafront — nearly everything in Kyleakin is on the seafront. This is a two star hotel and the prices are very good — just don’t expect a five star hotel at these prices.

I had a good twin room overlooking Loch Alsh (make sure you get a room with a sea view). It had a bath but no shower.
The hotel coped very well with the three coach loads of tourists who appeared to speak every language except English. Fortunately the hotel staff covered a few languages themselves.

Breakfast was good and served quickly. I breakfasted late (8.30) to avoid the coach parties. The dinner was good but the food was not quite to my taste, so on the second evening I enjoyed ‘fish and french-fries’ at the very reasonably priced Castle Moil restaurant.

Everything in Kyleakin is just a short walk away and the seafront is a very pleasant walk after dinner. There are some benches where you can sit and enjoy the sunset over the Skye Bridge and the far Cuillins mountain range. Hope for a gentle breeze to keep the midges away.

Kings Arms Hotel

restaurant castle moil

You can check beforehand where the Blue Jack will be at Jessica’s official web site http://www.57nboattrips.co.uk/index.html
or try her Facebook site:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/57-North-Boat-Trips/111518045546055?sk=info

email jessica@57nboattrips.co.uk
telephone 07743 266 098
international +44 7743 266 098

Jessica operates under the name 57° North Boat Trips (57 degrees North Boat Trips).
This is a snappy name with reference to the latitude of the Isle of Skye (it’s a map thing) but makes for a rather awkward web address.

Jessica has a very sexy boat but she really must hire the services of a professional sign-writer to make her portable office as sexy.
Blue Jack Shack
Sexy posing does not help the Product Shot
   

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