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Scottish anchorages

Buildings of interest

There are an astonishing number of ecclesiastical buildings (mostly ruined) and castles (mostly ruined), and some archaeological remains (by definition ruined) which are well worth a look. The fact that these structures are visible at all today is of course because they were built of stone and because they are far enough away from large centres of population that no one has wanted to plonk a supermarket over them, or a high-speed rail line. There are also some more contemporary structures to be visited and admired:



You will sail past any number of lighthouses but there are at least four that are reasonably accessible for landing although these days they are unmanned and completely locked up: Lismore, Hyskeir, Tobermory and Sanda Island lighthouses.  Nonetheless it is still interesting to wander around the outside of the surrounding buildings and brood on what life must have been like for the lighthousemen (while reading the marvellous Bella Bathurst book, the Lighthouse Stevensons). I know it is not a lighthouse, but you will find the observatory on Erraid which was once used for keeping an eye on Dubh Artach Lighthouse, accessible from either David Balfour's Bay or the Tinker's Hole.



Some are in really lovely buildings like Ardbeg, Bruichladdich and Lagavulin, definitely worth looking at. Others are less lovely.



Canals are always fascinating, with their functional but attractive architecture, so essential to the beginnings of the industrial revolution — at least in the UK. The two in this area, the Caledonian and the Crinan Canals, were built too late for commercial success but came into their own with the rise of leisure boating in the last half of the 20th century.  You can view the former from Corpach on Upper Loch Linnhe and the latter from the Crinan basin.



There are two splendid bridges — one from the 18th century at Clachan Seil a short walk from Puilladobrhain, and the other Edwardian and spanning Loch Etive at Connel under which you can sail although one does tend to be anxiously looking at the chart and depth rather than the bridge at the time. On foot it is best viewed from South Connel Bay, Lower Loch Linnhe.



This part of Scotland is not known for its domestic architecture. Most of the towns and villages are unattractive to look at with the exception of Tobermory, Bowmore and possibly Oban. Of course it doesn't help the architecture that the scenery behind the buildings is so extraordinarily lovely, impressive or both. Maybe if Fort William was transplanted to say Bedfordshire it would look better than it does under Ben Nevis.


There are at least three old-style dwellings that I know of to look at — the remains of a blackhouse (Tigh dubh in Gaelic) on Eilean Macaskin, Loch Craignish and the two restored post-blackhouse cottages — Sheila's cottage at Ulva Ferry and the other by the Heritage Museum on Lismore. There are many other ruined cottages here and there, mostly 19th and early 20th century, gently disappearing into the bracken. You will stumble over their sad remains, in particular at Ardalanish, Port Mòr on Muck, Cragaig Bay on Ulva, Lunga on the Treshnish Islands, Oronsay in Loch Sunart, and Croggan.





Crinan basin

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Industrial past:

There was some industry in this part of Scotland in past years. It is worth looking at the remains of lime kilns at Port Ramsay, Lismore, and, even better, on Sheep Island, Lower Loch Linnhe. Making lime was big business in the 18th and 19th centuries. The remains of the slate mines on Easdale IslandLuing and Belnahua are impressive, as is the old slate mine at South Ballachulish, Loch Leven. And finally from Airds bay, Loch Etive, you can easily walk up to the impressive iron works of Bonawe Furnace.

The Crinan Basin