|The Lochalsh Hotel in the 1980s before the bridge|
|Ordnance Survey 6 inch map 1880|
|From the Aberdeen University George Washington Wilson Collection|
|From the University of St Andrews Photographic Collection|
The ship depicted there is MacBrayne's MV Lochnevis (I) introduced in 1934 to serve on the Mallaig and Kyle to Portree steamer service. The poster includes the blurb:-
"MacBraynes steamers offer you a choice of many fascinating tours from the Clyde in the south to the Hebrides in the north. And as a headquarters, what could be more desirable than the LMS Lochalsh Hotel, recently rebuilt and charmingly modern, yet in complete harmony with its surroundings."
Despite the claims of harmony with surroundings, the Lochalsh Hotel post its 1930s extensions became a most conspicuous landmark. Note how it's not visible in the postcard below which dates the view (looking from Kyleakin back over to Kyle) to prior to the mid 1930s:-
The dating of these changes to the West Highland landscape is a bit of an obsession of mine and in that regard it's notable that the railway hotel at Kyle is listed as the Station Hotel in MacBrayne's 1934 summer brochure but as the Lochalsh Hotel in the 1937 edition. In both cases, it appears in the same advert along with such other illustrious LMS Railway Hotels as Glasgow's Central, Edinburgh's Caledonian, Turnberry and, of course, the Gleneagles:-
In the late 1960s, the Lochalsh Hotel was extended again by the addition of a new wing at its west (left hand) end so as to assume its present profile:-
|Photo credit Clifford Young|
Disregarding the obvious replacement of the ferries to Skye with a bridge, there are a few other changes between these last two pictures. It's a bit like one of these kids' "Spot the Differences" competitions in a comic - how many can you get?
I don't know when the Lochalsh Hotel was sold off by the railways. It was for sale a few years ago at a price of £825,000 through estate agents Allied Soutar & Jaffrey (although that wasn't the sale off from the railway). I downloaded a copy of the sale particulars (Sorry, but I don't know how you link to a pdf - if anyone does, please leave a comment) :-
It's perhaps surprising the Lochalsh has never been taken over by a coach tour company. And despite having once rubbed shoulders with the likes of Gleneagles and Turnberry, it's perhaps not too surprising to see a hotel like this getting mixed reviews on Tripadvisor (even if the ghosts of the directors of the Highland Railway must note with satisfaction that it still ranks #1 out of 2 hotels in Kyle over the Kyle Hotel!) One reviewer wrote that it was like walking into the 1930s - that reflects the history and to me is a good thing!
|Art deco touches at the front door|