The picturesque entrance to Campbeltown Loch, gives no indication of the busy port nestled two miles inland. Stephen Scally and his 4 staff oversee a huge range of commercial activities in the port ranging from exporting giant wind turbines built locally (see slide 5), loading up 250,000 tons of “Kintyre” trees felled each year, hosting visiting cruise liners and operating several ferry services. Hidden in the hillside to the south of the loch is a massive NATO fuel store, with pipes leading out to a deep water jetty where the Royal Navy (and other navies), re-fuel. Fuel is also imported and then piped to Campbletown airfield which was until recently a strategic USAF airbase. The local war memorial has an entry for the civilians lost in a WW2 air raid – quite unusual.
Any ship entering the Loch which is over 80m is required to take on board a “pilot” to advise on navigation. (Above 120m they need a tug and a pilot and above 150m they need two tugs). So when an 80m super yacht decided they would simply anchor in the loch, it was swiftly sent out by Stephen and told it too, had to take one of his pilots on board before they could enter. Such is the power of a Harbour Master, who at the other end of the scale is also authorsed to perform “burials at sea”, an act Stephen has recently done for a widow, carefully placing the ashes into the nearby Gulf Stream ensuring that he was “spread” all over the world!
The nearby heather clad hills gave us a hint of the delicious highlands landscape that we have got to look forward to. We climbed the hill at the entrance to the loch and surveyed some of the vast area that Stephen looks after – various harbours on Islay, Jura, Gigha and further up the peninsula of Kintyre. A thank you to him and also Calum Lawson in whose marina we stayed, and who very kindly gave a generous donation to #seafarersuk. He guided us off our pontoon when we left Campbeltown in winds gusting up to 30 knots – exciting stuff! #campbeltown
About the Harbour Master Sailing Challenge: I am circumnavigating #GB in a #Nauticat attempting to visit every #harbour with a #harbourmaster #fundraising to #support @Seafarers_UK and their work.