The world’s latest manual turntable ferry is a very smart solution to the challenges of nature



Almost all car ferries are alike. There is a straight platform for cars to park on, a place for the captain to navigate to the side, and ramps at both ends so cars can get on and off without ever having to back up. Simple, right?

The problem for the Glenachulish ferry that connects Glenelg on the west coast of Scotland to the Isle of Skye was the tide. With waters rising and falling dramatically, the ferry needs a long slipway to still give the cars a gradual ramp up and down to land.

The bigger problem, however, is that the same tide that causes the waters to rise and fall means that the waters the Glenachulish operates on have a rapid current. The long holds require a ferry to line up directly to let cars go, but the fast waters make that difficult. Without stability, cars could fall.

Also Read: Canadian Tries To Throw Chevy Blazer On Ferry, Quickly Arrested

Cleverly, the ferry anchors itself alongside the slipway, much like a passenger ferry, to protect itself from the current. It does mean, however, that the cars are never lined up correctly to disembark.

So the solution is another reasonably simple Victorian technology, a turntable. Inspired by the railroads of the day, the turntable is so well balanced that it can be turned by one person, although it is normally turned in pairs, just to be sure.

Although there is a bridge nearby, the ferry is still used by locals and tourists and apparently people with good taste in sports cars. Still images from this video reveal that while host Tom Scott was filming, there were two Morgans and an MGA, as well as a group of motorcycles, using the ferry. Indeed, the island is a popular destination for bikers.


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