Loch Eriboll and the Community of Laid

Loch Eriboll Views

When you drive from Tongue to Durness or vice versa, then you have to travel around the very scenic Loch Eriboll.

Loch Eriboll is known as the deepest sea loch in Great Britain and, surrounded as it is by the rugged moor land and wild hills, it is incredibly picturesque. Even though the day that I was taking photographs proved to be wet and dull, I think that you will still get the idea!

Loch Eriboll was used extensively during the wars as a naval anchorage. In 1945 it was the surrender point for North Atlantic U-Boats and the names of some of the ships and submarines which used the loch can be found high on the hill over Laid.

About Loch Eriboll

Loch Eriboll (Scottish Gaelic: “Loch Euraboil”) is a 16km (10 mile) long sea loch on the north coast of Scotland; 4 miles (6.5 km) southeast of Durness and 8¾ miles (14 km) west of Tongue which has been used for centuries as a deep water anchorage as it is safe from the often stormy seas of Cape Wrath and the Pentland Firth.

Loch Eriboll is derived from the Norse meaning “home on a gravely beach.” Eyrar-bol ” Sandbank steading.” Bol- a farm, and Eyrr – a beach. Loch Eriboll is derived from the Norse meaning “home on a gravely beach.” Eyrar-bol ” Sandbank steading.” Bol- a farm, and Eyrr – a beach. This is the house where Joe (Sam MacLintock) had lived in a previous life was on the not quite an island of Ard Neackie near Eriboll in Sutherland.

The mouth of Loch Eriboll: western margins (Leirinmore to An t-Aigeach) is north-facing coast with attractive white sand beaches and headlands which are of established tourist interest. There are also low-lying islands and skerries offshore which are noted for their bird and diving interest. Eilean Hoan is a bird reserve and designated as a Special Protection Area.

It is named for the village of Eriboll. Eriboll on its eastern shore. Bronze age remains can be found in the area, including a souterrain and a very well-preserved wheelhouse on the hillside above the west shore. In the late 19th century lime was produced from the local Durness limestone at Ard Neakie on the eastern shore and lime kilns remain extant. On the opposite side of the loch is Laid, a linear crofting township. On the hillside, to the north of this settlement, large boulders are arranged to form the names of various Royal Navy ships. These were laid out the sailors of the named ships during the inter-war years when the loch was used as a deep-water anchorage by the navy.

The most popular attraction in the area is the ultra-touristy John O’Groats, the most northerly place on mainland Britain. Further along the north coast, however, you are unlikely to meet many other people, as the landscape takes over. The coast is indented by deep sea lochs like Loch Eriboll, and you’ll come across stunning beaches that you could have to yourself, but for the odd surfer.

Loch Eriboll’s most intriguing and attractive feature is Ard Neakie. This is a mound of land prevented from becoming an island by an umbilical cord of sand and shingle linking it to the east shore of the loch where the Tongue road descends from the moorland to the east.

Ard Neakie was used as the terminus of the Heilam Ferry, which crossed the loch to the – now gone – Heilam Inn on the west bank of the loch at Portnancon. The loch is sometimes used as a safe harbour by large ships during stormy weather. The Geopark extends to the east of Durness, beyond Loch Eriboll, and on to The Moine. The eastern boundary of the Geopark largely follows the Moine Thrust zone, a famous and important geological structure.

In 1937, HMS Hood, the worlds biggest battleship anchored in Loch Eriboll. During its nine day stay sailors wrote the name “Hood” in stones on the hillside to the west of the Loch. This continued a tradition started some 10 years earlier by other ships and continued until the 1960’s. The Hood was sunk in 1941 with the loss of 1400 lives. The two meter high stones bare mute testimony to the tragic event. The stones were restored by local school children in 1993 and 1999. A close relationship exists between Durness and the HMS Hood Association.

cows at eriboll

The Wheelhouse at Laid

The Wheelhouse at Laid is about an hours walk, check out Hugh’s web site for directions. This is one of the best examples of a round-house in Britain today. Watch out for Highland Cows and unusual looking sheep when you go past Laid!

fishing at Loch Eriboll and the Community of Laid

Salmon Farming

As you drive round the loch you will see Salmon Farms in the little inlets and bays. More about:

Please visit the official site and Czech Hood fan site for more information. The official HMS Hood site http://www.hmshood.com/ Czech Hood fan site http://www.voodoo-world.cz/hood/

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