IS FROM HOME AT FIRST'S EXCLUSIVE 100+ PAGE "SCOTLAND ACTIVITY GUIDE"
Looking at times more like a
Norwegian fjord than a Scottish loch, Loch Etive is nearly landlocked. But a narrow neck
not far from Oban permits its outlet to the Atlantic, making Etive officially a sea loch.
Carved out of the former volcanic landscape by
glaciers during the Ice Age, Loch Etive extends southwest from Europes only seawater
falls (the Falls of Lora) at Connel Bridge (a small version of the famed Forth Bridge)
deep into the Highlands two-thirds of the way to Glen Coe. Indeed, the glacier carved a
valleyGlen Etiveall the way to Glen Coe. Glen Etive can be hiked all the way
from Glen Coe to the lochs outlet at Connel Bridge.
CRUISER AT TAYNUILT, SCOTLAND
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Its the upper 15 miles of Loch Etive that will surprise and mystify you. And,
although there are no roads through this dramatic valley, one doesnt have to be a
long-distance hiker to explore this foreboding Scottish landscape. A cruise boat tours
Loch Etive from Easter into October.
12-passenger MARA operates from
Kelly's Pier at Bonawe Furnace outside of
the village of Taynuilt at the western end of the Pass of Brander.
'HIGHLAND SEALS' ON LOCH ETIVE
As the three-hour cruise heads northeast ever deeper into the mountains, passengers see
some of western central Scotlands highest mountains up closeBen Cruachan
(3,695 feet) and Ben Starav (3,538 feet). Passengers also probably observe herds of deer
grazing along the shore, a soaring (or nesting) eagle, and, most improbably, colonies of
seals on rocky islets in the loch. These seals somehow worked their way deeply inland from
the Atlantic, past the Falls of Lora, and into the Scottish Highlands interior.
There are also glimpses
of outposts of civilization, and refuges from civilization along the shoreline, and
remnants of the once vast oaks of the Caledonian Forest that was decimated to make
charcoal for the iron forges at Bonawe Furnace. The oaks disappeared in the name of
freedomiron from the Bonawe Furnace was turned into the cannonballs Nelson used to
turn the tide against Napoleons French Navy at Trafalgar 200 years ago.
to November, the MARA sails thrice daily (Sunday
through Friday; not on Saturdays)at 10AM
and 12 noon for 2-hour cruises,
and again at 2PM for the 3-hour version.
TOWARD GLEN COE FROM LOCH ETIVE
The boat holds only 12 passengers, with half on the sun deck and half on the main deck indoors.
Snackscandy bars, Scottish shortbreads, coffee, tea, even alcoholic drinksare
sold on the main deck throughout the voyage.
+44 (0)7721 732703 DAY
+44 (0)1866 822430 EVENINGS
Current fares are as
(subject to change)
ADULTS + 2 KIDS)
10AM & 12N
Loch Etive Cruises is something of a shoestring operation,
and probably more enjoyable because of it. There is free parking
at the dock, and there are no ticket offices or waiting rooms.
(Credit cards are not accepted.) Wait in your
car until the boat docks and all passengers have disembarked. Pay for tickets
on the boat. Fares and schedules are subject to change.
Reservations & current information, Tel: +44 (0)1866 822430
This is a good trip, but two-to-three hours on the water in the mountains of Scotlands west
coast can be cold and misty and rainy. Bring cold weather gear (wool sweaters and socks
and rainwear and glovesno shorts) and avoid holiday weekends when crowds can make
the 3-hour trip uncomfortably long.
This article is taken from Home At Firsts 100+ page
comprehensive "Scotland Activity Guide". The only way to get your copy is to
travel with Home At First to Scotland. You can cruise Loch Etive as part of your
travels in Central Scotland with
HOME AT FIRST.