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Scottish anchorages

Loch Etive

Connel bridge Photo gallery Loch Etive final

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Connel Bridge ... aim between the bottom points of  the first and second oblique struts from the right!

"To enter this loch is no easy task for a stranger, and as there are many more lochs quite as deep, quite as beautiful, and far easier of access, I should recommend that Loch Etive is looked at from the sea and left alone." Frank Cowper, 1896

It must have been the alarming tone of the Sailing Directions, and dire warnings about the Falls of Lora, because I had sailed out of Dunstaffnage for more than a decade before having a go at Loch Etive. But one flat-calm sunny day in May, at neaps, I finally motored under Connel bridge, opened in 1903 as a railway bridge and said to be the second largest cantilever bridge in the world, on through the Kilmaronag narrows and into the loch. Later that bridge carried a road as well as the railway, before becoming road only as it is today. No problem. Not so difficult as it appeared at first sight. Even the narrows at Bonawe are a doddle, keeping left to avoid electrocution. It is extraordinary to be in amongst some of the highest mountains in Scotland, many of which are very accessible from the anchorages, all alone sailing up the upper loch with grand views ahead, and yet within a few miles of the hundreds of boats parked in Dunstaffnage Marina. This has got to be the best sea loch in the area, and one of the best in all of Scotland. There are a number of 'official' anchorages and innumerable unofficial ones. Unfortunately my mast is now too high to get under the bridge. There is a webcam covering the upper part of the loch.

"The falls of Lora were in full roar, the tide being almost low. Hugging the south shore I was whirled along head to wind, which ought to have been aft, the dinghy led the way, and down the swirling decline went the Blue Dragon, stern first; only a few yards off was the great green waterfall over the central rock". 

CC Lynam 1907