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Cable ferry suggestion for Loch Fleet crossing

By Caroline McMorran

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A Sutherland cyclist has made an intriguing suggestion following on from discussion locally about a crossing at Little Ferry.

Dornoch resident Rob Zywietz has put forward the idea that instead of a footbridge, a small cable ferry able to accommodate two bikes, should be considered.

In emails to Dornoch and Golspie community councils and East Sutherland and Edderton ward councillor Richard Gale, he writes that such a facility would be “interactive, idiosyncratic and eye-catching”.

Cyclist Rob Zywietz thinks a cable ferry would be “interactive, idiosyncratic and eye-catching”.
Cyclist Rob Zywietz thinks a cable ferry would be “interactive, idiosyncratic and eye-catching”.

The prospect of a crossing for walkers and cyclists across the narrows at Loch Fleet was aired at the April meeting of Golspie Community Council.

It has been talked about in previous years, but is now being brought to the fore following the revival of the Coul Links golf course plan - a crossing would connect Ferry Links and Coul Links and join in with an established path network.

East Sutherland and Edderton councillor Richard Gale said at the Golspie meeting that it was a “fantastic idea” and could perhaps be looked at after the village’s breakwater project - a major infrastructure scheme - was completed.

In his letter Mr Zywietz writes that as a regular cyclist, he himself has often wished there was a way to cross Loch Fleet at Little Ferry.

His letter reads: “Not only would a small cable ferry be easier to implement, it would also lend reinforcement to the name of the crossing Little Ferry, which at the moment doesn’t have a ferry.

“Cable ferries are safe and can be operated by the user. An engine is not necessarily required. Instead a system of hand-powered cogs and pedals on the craft itself allow the traveller to move themselves and the ferry from one shore to the other along the cable line.”

He continues: “As with anything, the pros and cons of a cable ferry would need to be looked at, just as one would if thinking of planning a bridge.

“Nevertheless, I think the cable ferry has a lot going for it. Travellers would love it, as would residents and the cost is likely to be less than a bridge.

“The environmental impact would also be considerably less than a bridge which would require a lot of concrete.

“The “instagram” effect would also be considerable, putting the area on the map as a fun and progressive place to visit.”

Mr Zywietz suggests another option would be to invest the money in a paid position for ferry staff who could shuttle people back and forth in a conventional boat.

“This is done in several locations in Scotland, for instance between Mull and the small island of Ulva. An additional permanent job in the area goes a long way.”

Dornoch Community Council meets on Wednesday, May 19, when Mr Zywietz’s letter will be considered.

Loch Fleet crossing a 'fantastic idea'

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