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Loch Eriboll has been used for centuries by shipping as a safe haven against the ravages of the northern storms.

Distance from Mey House: 67 Miles
Google maps link: http://goo.gl/maps/XGMtR

We encountered Loch Eriboll on our first trip to the Highlands and we were not expecting the surprise that it had in store for us; the road! Sally-Ann is an excellent map reader but she had not noticed that the A838 was a single track with passing places and so what should have been a quick blast from Thurso to Durness turned out to take a great deal longer than planned.

Still, the glacial pace of your journey around the 10 mile single track will enable you to be in awe of the summit of Ben Hope which dominates the unspoilt wilderness where wild red deer roam free. I guarantee that you will be challenged to keep your eyes on the road as each new turn in the road will present you with another jaw dropping scene.

The Loch itself has many faces. We have seen it flat calm reflecting cloudy blue skies in the height of summer and whisked into a boiling cauldron in the midst of a December storm but however you find it, it will be sure to impress.

Sitting at the end of a small spit at the north eastern end of the Loch you will find Ard Neakie, a crescent shaped promontory that has been used as a ferry terminal (long since abandoned when the road was completed), a store for naval ammunition during both World Wars and the site of a limestone quarry and kilns.  Today, the quarry, kilns and derelict ferry house can be seen from the road but if you fancy a leg stretch it is worth the short walk to investigate them at a closer range.

It is amazing to think that a place, so remote and desolate, could have played host to some of the most significant naval events of the 20th century. The Loch was an important anchorage point for British vessels, though it was not universally liked by the sailors (who nicknamed it “Lock ‘Orrible”). To kill the boredom of shore leave, they would write the names of their vessels on the hillside in stones painted white. The stones are today slowly sinking into the hillside, covered in heather and moss but if you look carefully on the western hillside, you can make out the name of “HOOD”, a poignant last monument to the 1400 men whose last shore leave was here just before they were sunk by the Bismarck. Furthermore, had you been at Eriboll in May 1945, you would have witnessed over 30 German U boats (the Atlantic fleet) surrender here.

Loch-Eriboll-(D)-MOD Loch-Eriboll-3-(D)-MOD

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Situated 6 miles east of Durness on the A838 (did I mention the single track road?).

GREAT FOR: The wide open space.

RECOMMENDATION: There is a very rustic café on the western shore if you are in need of refreshment (in-season).

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