For those seeking a remote spot, Achnamara on Scotland’s west coast tops the bill, says Dag Pike
Dag Pike finds a remote spot on the west coast of Scotland
Achnamara is well off the beaten track, tucked away on a small loch that branches off towards the top of Loch Sween. It is a peaceful stopping point on your way north before you hit the narrows.
A delightfully remote spot, Achnamara is well sheltered with an island that protects the moorings from the prevailing wind. It is many miles up a single-track road that does not lead anywhere significant beyond the village, so peace and quiet is guaranteed. Today, visiting sailors mainly use the harbour but in the past, it has played host to cargo ships, both sail and steam. A reminder of this past activity is found in the stone pier that is located along the shores of the loch to the south-west of the village and alongside the road that runs along the edge of the loch.
Here, there is a small parking area that was previously a building for examining cargo. Stretching out into the loch is the pier. It is constructed from rocks laid vertically, which is a common feature of other old Scottish piers. This style of rock pier construction is believed to have been pioneered by the engineer Thomas Telford, who was responsible for building many of the bridges and piers in this part of Scotland in the early 18th Century.
The approach up Loch Sween, on the right-hand side of the Sound of Jura, is straightforward, with just a beacon marking a rocky patch in the centre of the loch. Passing the island of Eilean Loain and its smaller sister, you turn sharply to starboard and then return to the north-west heading. Close by where you turn, there is a good sheltered anchorage where you can tuck in under the land. If you keep going, you pass another island, leaving it to starboard because the narrow channel on the southern side dries out, and then the small bay of Achnamara opens up.
Like so many potential anchorages around Scotland, all the good spots in this bay are now taken up with moorings. There is also a small fish farm established close to the island so there is not much space left to anchor. A patch of rocks that dries out takes up the centre of the bay but above this, there are a couple of moorings and still space for anchoring in 2m of water. The stone pier is the obvious landing point but there is what looks like a homemade pontoon and connecting bridge further up. With 24 properties, there are no facilities in the village.
You need to be entirely selfsufficient if you visit Achnamara because there is not even a water point. A visit to this anchorage is like stepping back to a time when cruising on the west coast of Scotland offered only very basic facilities. Not far away from Achnamara is the busier Tayvallich and if you hanker after a marina, Craobh is around the corner.