An Drochaid / The Bridge Rising

BBC ALBA, Creative Scotland, Screen Hi, Simple Films and NOBL co-production

  • An Drochaid / The Bridge Rising on location shot
  • An Drochaid / The Bridge Rising on location shot
  • An Drochaid / The Bridge Rising shoot

What we did

An Drochaid/The Bridge Rising was originally made as a one-hour documentary for BBC ALBA, then developed into feature-length cinema version, supported by Creative Scotland, in co-production with Skye Larke Productions in Canada.

The campaign against the tolls on the Skye Bridge pitted plucky Scottish islanders against the might of the government and the Bank of America when the government decided to road-test the introduction of private finance into public projects. The Skye Bridge was the UK’s first ever ‘Private Finance Initiative’.

The Skye bridge became the property of the Bank of America with the investment recouped through tolls: metre for metre, the most expensive toll road in the world and the only way on or off the island. The Bank of America raked in over £30 million in tolls.

From protesters to police to politicians and from toll-collector to bridge engineer, this film takes you behind closed doors to hear what the key movers and shakers really thought. Packed with humour, twists and bittersweet surprises, The Bridge Rising tells the inside story for the first time.

After nearly a decade of campaigning, defiance, arrests, court cases – and imprisonment – in 2014 the tolls were finally lifted and the tollbooths bulldozed. The islanders’ outrage against Westminster’s policy of private funding for public works, and using Skye as a guinea-pig, had led to victory… but at a high cost.

One of the longest-running uprisings in modern Scottish history, with surely some of the most inventive protest stunts, the Skye Bridge protest is hugely relevant to a new generation of protestors.

Canada’s award-winning Scott Macmillan composed the soundtrack and arranged traditional tunes for the film. Stellar musicians involved in the uprising and featured on the soundtrack include: Arthur Cormack, who spent a night in the police cells; Dr Angus MacDonald who composed the pipe tune ‘Casg na Cìsean’ [stop the tolls]; local Skye band Niteworks, whose drummer Ruairi was a child protester; Mary Ann Kennedy, a rookie BBC reporter during the protests; and legend Jesse Rae a passionate supporter of the campaign. Also featuring brilliant Canadian fiddler, Colin Grant.

The filmed toured extensively. Please get in touch about community screenings.

The film’s soundtrack, An Drochaid, is available as a CD or for download.

What they say

“A cleverly-constructed documentary… laced with twinkly-eyed islander mischief, derived from Ealing comedy”.