The View from Ratagan Pass

After our adventures in Fort William and InverLochy our Rabbie’s Tours mini-bus continued up north on Highway A82 until we reached Invergarry when we turned off to Highway A87 which goes all the way to Skye. But when we reached the south-east tip of Loch Duich at Shiel Bridge we turned off that road, too, in favor of an old mountain road that was called The Old Mountain Road and would take us up and down hills and around a few hairpin turns to an alternate route to Skye: the tiny ferry at Glenelg. In the middle of this crazy ride we stopped at a viewpoint on Ratagan Pass and marveled at the spectacular view.


Looking down at the village of Shiel Bridge from Ratagan Pass.

Click on any photo to see a larger version of that photo.

The plan for Rabbie’s Tours is to use A87 for both the road to and return from Skye but our driver / tour guide convinced us that it would be better to go to Skye via the ferry and drive back from the island via the Skye bridge on A87 that connects Skye to the mainland. So he collected an additional £2 from each passenger to pay the ferry fare and off we went to the palindrome known as Glenelg.


Loch Duich and some of the Five Sisters.


Another view from Ratagan Pass.


Highway A87 runs along the east shore of Loch Duich on its way to Skye.   The Old Military Road runs another nine miles from Ratagan Pass westward to Glenelg.


Plaque at viewpoint with names of the Five Sisters.

Ratagan Pass is also called Mam Ratagan and even Bealach Ratagain. Whatever you want to call it the viewpoint offers a spectacular view of Loch Duich and the mountains called the Five Sisters of Kintail. Just like Glencoe we couldn’t see the tops of these mountains because of the low-hanging clouds.


Another look at Shiel Bridge.


This is the view to the right of the previous photo.


Scottish daffodils.


Viewpoint plants.

This old road used to be the main route to Skye. Drovers first used this route to lead their cattle to Glenelg. The cattle would then have to swim to Skye over the Kyle Rhea Strait. The English military established garrisons all over the Highlands in the 18th century to control the feisty Highlanders during the various Jacobite Rebellions and built this road in the 18th century to connect to the barracks at Glenelg. In the 19th century the road was rebuilt by Thomas Telford and it was vastly improved in the 1980s. It still is mostly a single track road, though, but with many passing places.

In my next posting I will cover our ride on the ferry from Glenelg to the Isle of Skye.

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
This entry was posted in Scotland, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The View from Ratagan Pass

  1. StillWalks says:

    Having been born in Scotland (near Edinburgh) but only going to the south west these days, I have been reading your posts on your travels there with fascination. It is 35 years or so since I was last in Edinburgh and have never been to the Highlands and Islands – you are making me want to change that the first opportunity I get. Thanks 🙂

  2. You’re welcome! I probably have another month’s worth of Scotland postings. Besides the bus trips to Loch Lomond and Skye we also visited Ayrshire and Culzean Castle. I also have a few more posts for both Edinburgh and Glasgow. It was a most enjoyable three-week trip!

  3. GP Cox says:

    Whoa! Almost surreal.

  4. chattykerry says:

    These are really excellent shots of the old country. Makes me feel a little chilly, though. 🙂

  5. Amy says:

    Breathtaking views! Thank you for sharing your fantastic images with us! The first one is a fine artwork, well done! 🙂

  6. Peter Klopp says:

    Rugged and beautiful country! It makes me wish to visit. Thanks for a very interesting post!

  7. your images are like paintings!

  8. Ridercentral says:

    Nice post. I am trying to some interesting stuff so please check my blog.

  9. mvschulze says:

    Nice pictures of beautiful country – sort of enhanced by the weather!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.