There’s something fascinating about small, old car ferries, isn’t there? These dinky vessels imbue a brilliant sense of adventure, particularly when you’re boarding one somewhere remote and spectacular like northern Scotland.
One such boat operating between the Scottish mainland and the Isle of Skye is unique - it’s the last manually-operated turntable ferry in the world. YouTuber Tom Scott has just released an insightful video showing the thing in operation, and it’s a sight of simple engineering brilliance.
The current is strong on the narrows the boat crosses, and the height of the shoreline can vary greatly depending on the tide. So, a long, gradual slipway is needed, but this isn’t enough on its own. The current means that the vessel will move around too much if docked on one end, making things sketchy for disembarking cars.
So, the MV Glenachulish instead moors to one side, with the car platform turned diagonally to let vehicles onto the slipway. This is done manually, and in favourable conditions, the manoeuvre can be completed by just one person. It sounds like the operators get through quite a lot of lubricating oil to keep the turntable silky smooth.
The MV Glenachulish, which can carry up to six vehicles, might have stopped running years ago, were it not for a group of local residents. They joined forces to form the Skye Ferry Community Interest Company and take over the ferry’s operation in 2006 when the owner decided to retire.
All these years on, the now 52-year-old ferry is still going strong. As Tom notes, it’s definitely worth a detour if you’re nearby.
Source: YouTube via Car Scoops