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Scottish anchorages

Achnacroish

Achnacroish is just a wee hamlet, there is nothing really to see or do, just the primary school, some not very attractive houses and a rather beaten up pier and ferry terminal.  However, it is all surprisingly Hebridean so close to Oban and the bird song is lovely. There is a webcam to give you advance warning of what to expect.

 

Take a walk to the Heritage Centre which is in a calm and quite attractive 2007 modern building (ph 01631 760 030) on the ‘main’ road opposite the turning for Balnagown. It is only about a mile from the anchorage if you take the path along the coast via Balnagown. There are a lot of interesting old photographs and artefacts, and a restored cottage, post blackhouse because it has a fireplace and is divided into two rooms, with an audio of someone speaking in Gaelic. In the same building as the museum is the Lismore café, the only place on the island for a cup of tea. It sells home baked cakes, and snacks of various sorts – it does not do regular evening meals, and nor does anywhere else on the island (ph 01631 760 020).  Check the opening times on their website before making a journey. Sitting outside on the deck on a nice day is extremely pleasant, particularly watching the sweaty cyclists toiling along the road below.

 

A little further along the road you come to Clachan with a delightful and extraordinarily interesting church. At first glance it looks like an ordinary Scottish Kirk but look closer and you will see all sorts of stuff which reveals its more illustrious past, incredibly for such a small place as a cathedral which began life in the 13th and 14th centuries as the seat of the Bishop of Argyll. By 1512 it was in ruins and the present structure arose in the 18th century. It is based on the original cathedral choir, although it has been much altered since then (the gallery and the timber roof are late Victorian). Confusingly the inside is now back to front with the pulpit at the west end. The stained glass windows are good. The few remains of the older cathedral are as spectacular as they are surprising – seven external buttresses, the blocked off doors in the north and south walls, the arch in the west wall, the three arched sedilia and piscina in the south wall. The graveyard is charming, full of wild flowers, a good place to sit and think, some old graveslabs have been stacked yp under cover. The immediately adjacent old manse is a lovely 18th and 19th century building, as is the 18th century Bachuil House 100 yards further towards Port Ramsay (looks good for bed and breakfast, for sale in 2017).

 

There is no official anchorage at Castle Coeffin but you can fairly easily walk there from Achnacroish, or Port Ramsay as well as from Port na Moralachd where it is described. And nor is there a recognised anchorage at Tirefour broch, but it is not difficult to anchor just off it in Port Moluag, at least for a visit if not for the night (but again you can walk it from the Achnacroish anchorage, 3kms along the east coast). It is by no means the most complete broch in Scotland but apart from the broch at Vaul on Tiree, it is the only one of any note in this area, and the walls are still up to 3m high.

 

 

 

 

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Clachan kirk

The Lismore café

Achnacroish pier

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Stained glass in the kirk