MORE than a century after they were first published, the words of the world-famous Skye boat song are about to become true in a way the author could never have imagined.
When the lyrics, ‘Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing’, were penned by Sir Harold Boulton in the 1870s, the only way to reach the island of Skye was by boat and the idea of flying was still a generation away.
Now the two are to be combined with the launch of a new flying boat service to provide visitors to Scotland’s most famous island with the opportunity to see it as never before.
Skye Seaplanes is to begin aerial tours of the island and surrounding west coast from the airstrip at Ashaig next month (April).
Says a spokesperson: “The service is being introduced by the hugely successful Loch Lomond Seaplanes, considered the first and only commercial seaplane service in the UK since the 1950s. The company has been operating a tour and charter service from Loch Lomond for more than a decade and, in that time, has become renowned around the world as one of Scotland’s top ‘must-do visitor experiences’.
“The Skye Seaplane, an amphibious Cessna 208, will operate scenic tours for up to nine passengers at a time. Every seat is guaranteed a spectacular panoramic view as the aircraft, flying below the clouds, provides a unique opportunity to see parts of the island otherwise too difficult to reach.”
More than 50,000 people have flown with Loch Lomond Seaplanes over the last ten years, many of them overseas visitors to Scotland, and now the new service will provide a similar major boost to the Skye tourism industry.
Captain David West, who founded Loch Lomond Seaplanes more than ten years ago, said: “Skye has so much to offer visitors that it would take days or even weeks to appreciate it.
“I have flown all over the world and seen some of the most breathtaking views on the planet but there is nowhere that can compare to the beauty of Skye. The island has 400 miles of rugged coastline of which almost every mile is spectacularly unique.”
Flying at 160mph the seaplane is able to cover more than 80 miles in just 35 minutes to give passengers a birds-eye view of the island which is just some 50 miles long from north to south and around 25 miles at its widest point from west to east.
Skye is renowned for its spectacular scenery, abundance of wildlife, history and outdoor activities. Its distinctly Highland landscape of lochs, heather-clad moorland and mountain peaks has helped it achieve recognition as one of the world’s best island destinations by National Geographic magazine.
Skye Seaplane flights will begin in April with a variety of pre-booked trips available ranging from 35 minutes to 50 minutes. Prices start from £109 per person and will feature at least one water landing and take-off. Services, which will include corporate and private charter flights around Skye, the North West coast and Outer Hebrides, are scheduled to operate between April and October.
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