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Scottish anchorages


If you could imagine Tayvallich without all the moorings, none of which seem to be available for visitors, and particularly without the characterless modern houses outnumbering the older much more charming cottages, then it would be an even more lovely place to visit, the setting is magical. Even in the 1930s Capt Harvey was writing: "the builders of the new houses have not been very happy in their choice of materials". 'Pevsner' puts it better — "A ring of indifferent holiday cottages now outnumbering the few surviving old rubble cottages. From the north caravans advance ominously".  The late 19th century church reflects the takeover by the new at the expense of the old, I hope there was a good reason to replace half the wooden pews and their lovely polished brass umbrella stands with horrible modern chairs.


Sadly, there is almost no space to anchor and the pontoon can only be used for a one hour stay, as long as you don't leave the boat, so dropping in for coffee and some shopping is problematic, as would having a meal at the inn. Anchoring just outside the enclosed bay is however an option, if a little distant from the city centre.


There is a small but useful shop which can come in handy for fresh milk, and an excellent coffee shop with a deck overlooking the bay but now only opening over weekends and mondays (I think). Certainly there is a strong sense of community here with a sailing club, camera club and art classes.


One plus is the Tayvallich Inn, although since it changed hands in late 2009 and then again in 2017 I have not been there (ph 01546 870 282). However, it is one of only 16 pubs listed in the Michelin guide to eating out in pubs in Scotland, so it must be good. It is really hard to keep up with these small restaurants because they change hands so quickly, and I imagine it is difficult to attract chefs and then get them to stay.


Of course the anchorage is totally sheltered and easy to get into but somehow this is not enough, particularly when Loch Sween has other attractive options. If you are stuck here on a bad day then there is the possibility of a bus ride into Lochgilphead and the swimming pool (aka MacPool)


All in all I am not sure that Tayvallich is really worth a big detour, especially with such a delightful alternative just round the corner — the Fairy Isles


By the way, if you want to impress, the pronunciation of Tayvallich has an additional syllable — tay-vee-allich — after the original Gaelic Tigh a'bhealaich, house of the pass (between Carsaig Bay on the Sound of Jura and Loch Sween, over which the drovers used to take their cattle to market).

Tayvalich 1 Tayvallich summer

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The pontoons in summer


"On its west shore, round a little bay, island-locked, straggles the village of Tayvallich, a perfect anchorage, where on the wildest day you may ride secure while the seas make white tumult on the other side of the protecting rock-spit." John McLintock, 1938