For those seek­ing a re­mote spot, Ach­na­mara on Scot­land’s west coast tops the bill, says Dag Pike

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS -

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.

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