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November 5, 2008

The Skye Bridge story – a tale of local people triumphing against the odds

Written by one of the main activists, this recently published account tells the story of the uneven struggle between local people from Skye and Lochalsh and two Scottish government administrations. It demonstrates the courage and conviction of local people and describes one of the most successful campaigns of public protest seen in Scotland in recent times.


At Hogmanay in 2004 there was a huge street party in the West Highland village of Kyle of Lochalsh. Across the water in the Isle of Skye village of Kyleakin there was similar celebration. Many hundreds joined the party and the fireworks display from both sides of the Kyle. The occasion was the scrapping of the tolls on the Skye Bridge that had taken place, without warning, ten days earlier. Behind this public display of joy is a story that had run for more than ten years. It is a story that goes right to the heart of government policy – the Skye bridge was the first Public Finance Initiative in the UK, where a public project is built by private capital and the investor charges for the facility for years to come.

The Skye and Lochalsh community felt a strong sense of injustice about what was being imposed on them from afar and The Skye Bridge Story is an entertaining and gripping account of events.‘We were not, as we first thought,’ writes Andy Anderson who has compiled this account of island protest, ‘just opposing a government. We were in fact opposing the whole mindset, which was itself a ‘captive’ of international companies who were determined to use the Skye Bridge project as an experiment.’

Richly illustrated and presented as a bilingual Gaelic/English text, The Skye Bridge Story is a life-affirming account of what is possible when people exercise their sense of justice. Andy Anderson was a Skye Bridge campaigner who was charged and served a prison sentence for refusal to pay the tolls. He has been assisted by numerous local people in the compilation of this book. ‘in the face of one of the most successful campaigns of public protest seen in Scotland, or Britain, in recent times, the Skye Bridge experiment failed. . . because the tolls on which it depended proved unsustainable. . . What it took to win that victory is what this book’s about – a book that’s greatly to be welcomed.’ James Hunter

The Skye Bridge Story is on sale through Argyll Publishers priced £14.99. Copies of the book are available from