Loch Eriboll shown within Scotland
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Loch Eriboll (Scottish Gaelic: "Loch Euraboil") is a 16 km (9.9 mi) long sea loch on the north coast of Scotland, 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. It is named after the village of 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. A small scale lime industry developed here in the 19th century.
Eilean Hoan is located at the northern, seaward end of the loch and there are various small islets in the vicinity including A' Ghoil-sgeir, An Cruachan, An Dubh-sgeir, Eilean Clùimhrig, and Pocan Smoo. Today it is a largely unspoilt wilderness, in a region of high rainfall and with the lowest population density in the UK.
The Royal Navy have been frequent visitors to the loch, particularly during World War II. Portnancon, on the western shore of Loch Eriboll, was where the company of the HMS Hood spent their last shore leave prior to the Battle of the Denmark Strait, and there are stones arranged by sailors into the names of their warships (including Hood and Amethyst) on the hillside above the hamlet of Laid. It was nicknamed "Lock ’orrible" by the British servicemen stationed here during the war because of the often inclement weather. The largest island in the loch, Eilean Choraidh, was used as a representation of the German battleship Tirpitz for aerial bombing practice by the Fleet Air Arm prior to the successful Operation Tungsten in April 1944. The surviving 33 German U-boats, for example U-532 and U-295, formally surrendered here in 1945, ending the Battle of the Atlantic.
A leased area of the shore and loch is classified as a Minor training area by the Defence Training Estate, generally being used for amphibious and specialist training for three fortnights per year.
The studio of renowned ceramic artist Lotte Glob is situated on the west shore of the loch
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- Haswell-Smith (2004) p. 203
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- "Defence Training Estate Training Areas and Ranges (map)" (PDF). Defence Training Estate. Ministry of Defence. July 2009. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
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- "Bulwark takes over as UK flagship". Defence News. Ministry of Defence. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011.