Monday, December 29, 2008

Port Appin dawn

Port Appin is a sleepy little village which nestles below the mountains of Appin which seperate Loch leven and Loch Creran on Argyll's rugged west coast. Port Appin was never a fishing port but it served as a stopping point in the 19th century for steamers travelling between Glasgow and Edinburgh via the Crinan and Caledonian canals.

Today it serves two small ferries. This is the Lismore which carries foot passengers across the Lynn of Lorn to the beautiful island of Lismore. In Gaelic, Lismore means the big garden. It is more fertile than many of the Scottish islands because of the presence of limestone rock. From 1800 till 1934 this was quarried and heated in lime kilns to produce lime for agriculture on the west coast and building in Glasgow.

The quarrying tradition in these parts started again in 1986 when the Glensanda quarry opened. It is one of Europe's biggest quarries and its granite rock was used to make the channel tunnel. Glensanda quarry is removing an entire mountain, Meall na Easaiche, on the Morven coast on the far side of Loch Linnhe, beyond Lismore. It is situated just behind the mountains in the sunshine in the photo above. Another ferry carries local workers from Port Appin across Loch Linnhe to Glensanda.

We were bound for a circumnavigation of Lismore and also chose to launch from Port Appin. We carried the boats over frost covered seaweed in the predawn light. Although we were still in freezing shade, there was a lovely pink glow in the sky reflected from the tops of the high mountains which were already in sunshine.

We planned a clockwise circumnavigation. It is 37 km and we knew that it would be dark before we finished as sunset would be about 15:34.

On 27/12/2008 HW Oban was at 05:35 and 17:49. The tidal constant at Port Appin is -00:05 Oban. It was one day before springs.

At the Lynn of Lorn south end (1 knot springs), the ebb (SW) starts at -01:40 Oban which was 16:09 on our trip. The flow (NE) starts at +04:45 Oban which was 10:20.

At the Lynn of Lorn north end (2.5 knots springs), the ebb (SW) starts at -00:15 Oban which was 17:35. The flow NE starts at +06:00 Oban which was 11:35.

On the NE going flood an eddy runs SW from the islands along the SE coast of Lismore so we reckoned we would have tidal assistance for most of the day.



  1. You certainly have a way with the camera, your pictures are like postcards. What camera are you using?

    Tony :-)

  2. Ah, it's perfect out along Lismore & Ardnamurchan aye Douglas. Was it cold enough for you? This Norwegian High we're having seems unable to shift. Not that I'm complaining, it's left the seas like a mirror perfect for slinking across under a winter sun & has turned my nose drips into icicles :o)

    Hope your knee is better.

  3. Hello Tony I use a little point and shoot number, which is now obsolete. It is called a Canon 5D.


    Si it was absolutely perishing after dark. I even had my pogies on. Unfortunately when we got back to Port Appin the car was covered with hoar frost. The winter sun never gets above the hill behind Port Appin. Since I built a car port I seem to have forgotten a screen scraper! I had to clear the windscreen with my bare hands. It was minus 5 degrees!

    My knee is still pretty sore so I was real careful on those slippy rocks! Thank you.


  4. Lovely as ever Douglas. A trip around Lismore has been in the back of my mind for several years now. A recent thread on UKSKGB has reawakened my interest in it.

    37 km? A few extra kms to visit the many castles mentioned in the UKSKGB thread. Sounds like a perfect long weekend trip.


  5. Hello Andrea and thank you. 37km was quite long enough for a short winter day! We did not have time to nip up to Stalker Castle or Shuna Castle but we did pass by Tirefour Broch, Achadun Castle and Coeffin Castle.

    In summer you could walk from Coeffin Castle to the cafe at the new heritage centre. It also has Internet access so you could post a blog from there as well!