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 HOME AT FIRST'S

ADVENTURE

CENTRAL SCOTLAND

SEALS IN THE HIGHLANDS:

CRUISING LOCH ETIVE

FROM HOME AT FIRST'S EXCLUSIVE 100+ PAGE "SCOTLAND ACTIVITY GUIDE"               MOST RECENT UPDATE: 2014

          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 Europe’s 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 valley — Glen Etive — all the way to Glen Coe. Glen Etive can be hiked all the way from Glen Coe to the loch’s outlet at Connel Bridge.

          It’s the upper 15 miles of Loch Etive that will surprise and mystify you. And, although there are no roads through this dramatic valley, one doesn’t have to be a long-distance hiker to explore this foreboding

Anne of Etive. Photo  Home at First.

LOCH CRUISER AT TAYNUILT, SCOTLAND
Photo Home At First

Scottish landscape. A cruise boat tours Loch

 

 

Etive from Easter into October.

Loch Etive Seals. Photo  Home at First.

'HIGHLAND SEALS' ON LOCH ETIVE
Photo Home At First

          The 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.

          As the three-hour cruise heads northeast ever deeper into the mountains, passengers see some of western central Scotland’s highest mountains up close — Ben 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 freedom—iron from the Bonawe Furnace was turned into the cannonballs Nelson used to turn the tide against Napoleon’s French Navy at Trafalgar 200 years ago.

          From March 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. Cruises depart Kelly's Pier in Taynuilt village.

          The boat holds only 12 passengers, with half on the sun deck and half on the main deck indoors. Snacks — candy bars, Scottish 

Upper Loch Etive approaching Glen Coe. Photo  Home at First.

LOOKING TOWARD GLEN COE
FROM LOCH ETIVE.
Photo Home At First

shortbreads, coffee, tea, even alcoholic drinks — are sold on the main deck throughout the voyage.

 
 

RESERVATIONS MANDATORY
+44 (0)7721 732703 DAY
+44 (0)1866 822430 EVENINGS

Current fares are as follows
(subject to change)

 

 

MARCH thru
OCTOBER:



ADULTS:
KIDS 5-15:
FAMILIES:

(2 ADULTS + 2 KIDS)

SUN-FRI
(not Sat.)
10AM & 12N
2-HOUR
CRUISES

10.00
  8.00
28.00
 CASH ONLY -

SUN-FRI
(not Sat.)
2PM
3-HOUR
CRUISES

15.00
12.00
42.00
NO CREDIT CARDS

 
 

NOTE: 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 info, contact Donald P. Kennedy
Tel: +44 (0) 7721 732703 daytime &
+44 (0)1866 822430 evenings.

ADVISORY: This is a good trip, but two-to-three hours on the water in the mountains of Scotland’s west coast can be cold and misty and rainy. Bring cold weather gear (wool sweaters and socks and rainwear and gloves — no shorts) and avoid holiday weekends when crowds can make the 3-hour trip uncomfortably long.

 

Scotland Activity Guide.                    

                       LEARN ABOUT HOME AT FIRST TRAVEL TO SCOTLAND.

      More information about travel to: CENTRAL SCOTLAND

This article is taken from Home At First’s 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.

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