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Scottish anchorages

Garvellach Islands

On old charts the Garvellach Islands are called 'The islands of the sea', a better and more romantic name for this string of small uninhabited islands in the Firth of Lorne. It seems as though the sun always shines on them, but this is simply because one never lands unless the weather is settled. And well worthwhile it is too. The all-round views from the top of Eileach an Naoimh (Isle of the Saints), the main anchorage, are fantastic, as though you are on the bridge of a ship steaming up the Firth of Lorne (from Ben Nevis to Ben More to Ireland to the Paps of Jura).


And there are some wonderful piles of old stones — early Christian bric-a-brac (St Columba and all of that of course, apparently the oldest church buildings in Scotland, and possibly the UK).  Very close to the anchorage you will find a double beehive where monks were supposed to have lived and prayed. It is all well signed by Historic Environmant Scotland. Further up the hill to the left there is a large monastic site — most impressive and peaceful, said to have been founded by St Brendan the Navigator in the 6th century. Sit here and brood on how those early Christians survived on such a remote island. There is a well, but what did they do about food, and heating? The children should search for and explore the underground cell (through the gate in the metal fence, 50 metres)!


There is a burial ground — Cladh Dhuban — just by the anchorage on Garbh  Eileach.


Finally, there is clearly an old castle, 13th century, on Dun Chonnuill, the most northerly of the islands, but I have never visited it — apparently there is a landing place, I think in the SE-facing inlet.

Garvellachs 2 Garvelllachs 1

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A monastic beehive cell

The burial place of St Columba's mother?