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Not to be confused with the Glenelg beach suburb of Adelaide in South Australia, or the Glenelg rock feature near the Curiosity Rover landing site on Mars.

Glenelg[dead link] is a small village on the coast of Wester Ross in the Scottish Highlands, which historically was one of the main crossings to and from Skye. The cattle swam across on their way to market, while the humans took a ferry. Paradoxically the ferry was boosted when the road bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh opened in 1995, as this had high tolls, prompting community protests, refusals to pay, and work-around routes. The bridge became toll-free in 2004 and now takes the bulk of the traffic but the Glenelg ferry still sails in summer.

Glenelg and the coast to Arnidale had a population of 291 in 2011. The village has helpfully put up a sign on its outskirts confirming that you've reached the Glenelg that's on Earth, not the one on Mars.

Get in[edit]

The only road in is the narrow lane branching off A87 at Shiel Bridge at the head of Loch Duich. It climbs over the hills to Glenelg then continues south for 10 miles along the shores of Loch Hourn to dead-end at Arnisdale and Corran. Macrae Kintail Bus 712 runs once in the morning M-F from Corran via Glenelg (around 08:00), Dornie and Kyle of Lochalsh (09:30) to Plockton. It immediately turns round for the return, passing Kyle at 11:40 and Glenelg at 12:50. Inter-city buses between Glasgow / Inverness and Skye stop at Shiel Bridge but from there it's a seven mile walk to Glenelg.

By train: the nearest railway station Kyle of Lochalsh is ten miles north as the crow flies, but over 30 miles by road winding around Loch Duich. Kyle has four trains a day to Inverness; buses to Portree and Uig on Skye meet these trains. With bike on train, consider cycling from Kyle over the Skye Bridge then doubling back to Kylerhea for the ferry to Glenelg.

1 Glenelg-Kylerhea Ferry. Easter till mid-Oct; daily 10:00-18:00, Jun-Aug until 19:00. This unusual contraption runs every 20 min in summer. The deck is a turntable platform that can just about fit six cars. The ferry comes in alongside the pier, then the turntable is swivelled manually so vehicles can drive on and off. Car with less than 5 passengers £15, motorcycle £7. MV Glenachulish (Q6719561) on Wikidata MV Glenachulish on Wikipedia

Get around[edit]

The barracks, brochs and ferry jetty are easily reached on foot; there's no onward transport from Kylerhea on the Skye side.


  • Kirkton is the tiny main settlement. The parish church is from the 18th century.
  • 1 Bernera Barracks. After the 1715 Jacobite rebellion, the government were determined to tighten their grip on the Highlands, and built several forts and garrisons at strategic locations. These barracks, built 1717-1723, were for troops controlling the crossing from Skye. These fortifications all proved ineffective in preventing or subduing subsequent rebellions, and the barracks were abandoned in 1797 and fell into ruin. They're unsafe and you can't enter, so admire them from the road or fields. Bernera Barracks (Q2390103) on Wikidata Bernera Barracks on Wikipedia
  • 2 Dun Telve (2 miles south of Glenelg up lane to Balvaid). Always open. Two iron age brochs (about 2000 years old) stand close together; they're some of the best preserved in Scotland, in spite of having their stone pilfered to build Bernera Barracks. Dun Telve, the larger, is a drystone tower 18.3 m in diameter and 10.2 m tall; its walls are 4.3 m thick at the base. The two brochs were "cleaned up" by officialdom in the early 20th century without any archaeological supervision, and have never been excavated. Free. Dun Telve (Q3342584) on Wikidata Dun Telve on Wikipedia
  • 3 Dun Troddan. Always open. Near Dun Telve, this is the other broch, 17.5 m in diameter and 7 m tall. Free. Dun Troddan (Q2131824) on Wikidata Dun Troddan on Wikipedia
  • 4 Dun Grugaig is a broch a further mile up the glen by a steep path. This is a "semi-broch", D-shaped rather than circular, some 17 x 12 m in area. It's not to be confused with Caisteal Grugaig broch by Loch Duich, see Dornie.


Bernera Barracks
  • Wildlife: watch for ospreys anywhere along the waterside. They're often seen near the ferry pier.


  • Glenelg Shop, 3 Kirkton, Glenelg IV40 8JR (next to Glenelg Inn), +44 1599 522221. M-Sa 08:30-17:00. Grocer and gift shop.


"The inn was furnished with not a single article that we could either eat or drink."
- Boswell and Johnson had a miserable stay in Glenelg on their 1773 “Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland”.
  • Wild West Cafe in the village centre is open daily 10:00-17:00.
  • The Wagon Cafe, Gleann Beag (near the two brochs). Summer Su-F 10:00-16:30. In an old showman's wagon by Dun Troddan.


Dun Troddan broch

Glenelg Inn is the only pub.

On the road towards Glenelg, Dr Johnson glad-handed a group of soldiers with money for drink. They got wasted.


  • There's one B&B and a handful of self-catering cottages.
  • 1 Glenelg Inn, +44 1599 522273. With restaurant & bar open to non-residents (Nov-Mar only open Th-Su from 17:00). B&B double from £120.


As of July 2022, Glenelg has 4G from EE, O2 and Vodafone, but nothing from Three. There are many dead spots on the approach road, and no signal on the road from the opposite ferry pier across Skye. 5G has not reached this area.

Go next[edit]

  • Dornie has the scenic Eilean Donan Castle.
  • Kyle of Lochalsh is where you cross the bridge to Skye.
  • The lane on the other side of the ferry crossing leads to Broadford on Skye, where you have to double back to reach Armadale.
  • Plockton harbour is popular with yacht and dingy sailors.
  • Glenelg on Mars was named as a palindrome, as Curiosity was planned to return there. However it has kept going and going, and is now exploring Mount Sharp 24 km away.

This city travel guide to Glenelg is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.