Thursday, March 31, 2011

Preparations for invasion in Caladh Harbour.

Near the head of the Kyles of Bute we first passed a monstrosity of a fish farm but then approached the beautiful wooded isle of Eilean Dubh.

A stone lighthouse marks the entrance to the delightfully hidden Caladh Harbour which nestles behind the isle. The light has long gone but the whitewashed tower is a great landmark for the harbour beyond.

Not much remains. A rusting derrick still swings over a stone pier. However, from 1942 until 1945, during WW2 this was a hive of activity. HMS James Cook, a shore based station for training landing craft crew, was based here. Exercises in the Kyles of Bute and beyond prepared the sailors for crossing to and landing on the distant beaches of Normandy on D day.

Today the harbour is a quiet anchorage for visiting yachtsmen and a pleasant diversion for itinerant sea kayakers. We left by the north entrance, marked by another stone beacon. Few visitors will guess the important part this quiet backwater in our history.