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Scottish anchorages

Loch Tarbert

A wild place indeed! It stretches across the most uninhabited part of Jura for miles, almost cutting the island in two. Apart from a shooting lodge at Glenbatrick on the south shore there is no obvious habitation (apparently the lodge is a summer retreat for Viscount Astor). Just moorland and raised beaches. On a bad day it is dire, but on a good day it is fabulous as a getting away from it all place.


In days past it was a bit of a no-no for boaties. In the 17th century Martin Martin wrote "it is not a harbour for vessels, or lesser boats, for it is altogether rocky". Even in 1938 John McLintock considered "Loch Tarbert...affords but little shelter, for its upper reaches are so rock-set as to be unnavigable, and lower down it is exposed to the west and tormented by fierce squalls from the hills". However, now with the sailing directions and a chartplotter it is much easier. And even if there is another boat in Cumhann Mòr Bay, you can always go further in to the inner loch, and further again through Cumhann Beag although I never have. In fact I have never seen another boat anywhere in the loch. An attractive place spoilt only, said a friend, by 'the noise of a motor boat towing a small rowing boat containing the remains of two stags!'


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Loch Tarbert

If you get to this point without hitting anything, you will have done very well — it is the head of the loch. Cowper seems to have managed it in the 19th century without an engine, although he is not absolutely specific on this point. Maybe he was just boasting.