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News from Mallaig Harbour: November 2020

By December 1, 2020News

The month started with our public meeting on Thursday 5th November as part of the Marine Licencing process for the Outer Harbour Development. Although the formal consultation period has now passed, the information is still online, you can access this through our website, and if anyone has any comments, then please feel free to send them to me. We’ve been having conversations with some of the key users of the Harbour to see what their requirements might be for any new development. There will obviously be financial constraints to what we can and can’t do, but any feedback allows us think strategically about the development.

November has seen the Outer Harbour being very busy with Aquaculture vessels, reinforcing the need for additional berthing and quay space. In some instances this has been due to vessels seeking shelter from the bad weather, but there have been a range of activities ongoing throughout the month. 

The first landing of Sprats was 5th November, and the fishery has continued throughout the month – the weather hasn’t been very consistent, but there have been some landings so it at least has been a bit of a boost to the end of the year. The sprat pump and the way they are landed always generates a lot of interest and activity on the Harbour.

Although the Marina is technically closed, we had a yacht arrived on Sunday 15th November, which was accompanying a Stand up Paddleboarder! Jordan Wylie is attempting to circumnavigate Great Britain on a Stand Up Paddleboard, raising money for Frontline Children. As he reached Mallaig, he was on day 114, and had travelled just over 2,000km! Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t kind that week, and there were a few days that he was unable to make progress. If you want to follow Jordan’s progress, you can do so at

We also had the ‘Orca III’, the latest addition to the Mallaig Marine fleet on the pontoons for a few days.

We were due a visit from the Screen Machine this month, but unfortunately the weather scuppered this too, as the ferries were cancelled. I suspect that we must be the only place on the mainland that the Screen Machine can’t access without coming by ferry!

Some of you may have seen the posts from Lochaber Archive Centre in October, some of which focussed on Mallaig and the Harbour. There were two entries from the Mallaig Police Daily Occurrence Book. The first was from 27th July 1914 and states that the Skipper of a steam drifter had ‘called at my station, and reported to me that two herring nets belonging to him had been maliciously cut with a knife while … drying on an old mast on the fore-shore at Mallaig, value for £2:13: each, found no trace.’  This generated a fair bit of discussion in the office about nets drying around the Harbour – something I can’t remember, but some of you might!

The second entry dates from 07th September 1914. PC MacLean records:

‘…At 11am received a telephone message from Mr Durie, Stationmaster, Morar, that two men who had the appearance of Spys were then at Morar, photographing Morar Bridge etc. I proceeded there and on making enquiry learned they were two Glasgow men who had a Yacht in Mallaig harbour.’

It’s interesting to think that yachts were arriving in Mallaig over 100 years ago – no dedicated shore facilities for them then!

 Jacqueline McDonell

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