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Scottish anchorages


The visitors' moorings are too far out, too spread out, and anyway are no longer free, maybe because they are owned by CalMac. I reckon it is best to anchor near what is called the middle pier if it is not too shallow. Over the years, the three piers were built increasingly far away from the village, of course with increasing utility too but also with decreasing charm; the old pier in the 19th century, then in the 1960s the middle pier, and finally the 1987 new pier, as celebrated in the Katie Morag stories written and illustrated by ex-local resident Mairi Hedderwick, and much loved by Scottish children who no doubt will all look out for Grannie Island driving her tractor and Grannie Mainland arriving on the CalMac ferry. The village was founded in the early 19th century by Alexander Maclean of Coll, so explaining the row of very similar — and charming to modern eyes — cottages along the main street. Mind you, in recent years quite a few new houses have been built to accommodate a population which is now increasing.


The attractions here include the shop for modest supplies and the child and yacht extremely friendly Coll Hotel for a shower, laundry which they will do for you, bar and excellent food (ph 01879 230 334). It is not cheap but then it would be a lot more expensive in London to eat lobster and scallops, and they would not be as fresh as they are here. Sit outside in the garden in good weather, and let the kids run free. Kevin and Julie Oliphant have owned and cherished this hotel since 1984 — and it certainly shows.


There is a good café but not open every day in the main street, a rather nice general store and post office with of course the Katie Morag books and various crafts, a small play-park (now sadly closed as unsafe), and a craft shop/gallery. Don't miss out on the Parish Church on the hill which although a not very inspiring early 20th century Gothic confection has a fabulous wooden roof described in 'Pevsner' as “This triumph of joinery is a wholly unexpected delight” (sadly it is a bit spoiled by the electric lights strung from it — please Minister get rid of them, although in 2017 there was no Minister and may still not be).


There is a golf course at Cliad, but that is over two miles from the anchorage.


This is another of those anchorages like Canna and Craighouse which attract a lot of boats in the late afternoon, but most are gone in the morning, without anyone bothering to go ashore. Very strange, they miss a lot. However, the new Community Centre — An Cridhe — has been up and running since 2012 and has 24-hour showers, toilets and laundry facilities so there should be more incentive for boaties to step ashore. It is a lovely airy and clean building with amazing facilities — a gym, stage with lighting, sports hall/exhibition space, meeting room, small library, IT facilities, and DIY teas and coffees. The wood carving around the reception desk was designed by  — who else? — Mairi Hedderwick.


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The helipad by the hotel


The roof of Arinagour Church

Arinagour Arinagour

The Coll Hotel

The Arinagour shop