Loch Kishorn from near Sanachan
|Kishorn shown within the Highland council area|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||IV54 8|
|Dialling code||01520 733|
Loch Kishorn is a northern branch of Loch Carron about 1 mile (1.6 km) wide and 2.5 miles (4 km) long, and with a maximum recorded depth of about 200 feet (61 m). It is fed by the River Kishorn which flows from the north and enters through an estuary about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and almost 0.6 miles (1 km) wide. To the north and west of the loch is the Applecross peninsula; to the east is a headland that separates it from upper Loch Carron. The mouth of the loch is marked by the Garra Islands, the largest of which is Kishorn Island.
There are several small settlements located in the vicinity of the loch: Sanachan, Tornapress, Courthill, Achintraid, Ardarroch and Rhunasoul. It is common to refer to these populated settlements collectively as Kishorn.
Sanachan is a little inland at the head of the loch. It contains a small gift shop, "Patterns of Light", the award winning "Kishorn Seafood Bar" and the "Kishorn Selfie Box", a new lease of life for the red telephone box. A Scottish Episcopal chapel is located at Courthill between Sanachan and Tornapress. The A896 road passes through Sanachan, and a minor road leads off to the other settlements. Ardarroch is on the lochside, next to small shingly beach. The next settlement, Achintraid, is further down the loch. It consists of a line of whitewashed cottages, originally built to house crofters evicted in the Highland Clearances. Rhunasoul is the final populated settlement at the end of the minor road. Achintraid and Rhunasoul are noted for spectacular views of the Applecross peninsula, with the Corbetts of Sgurr a' Chaorachain and Beinn Bhàn and the pass of the Bealach na Ba being particularly prominent.
At Tornapress there is the "Bealach Cafe and Gallery". This is also where the junction to the Bealach na Ba is located.
Kishorn Yard was a fabrication yard at Loch Kishorn for oil platforms. The yard was owned by Howard Doris and operated from 1975 to 1987. In 1975 work began on the construction yard and dock for the production of oil platforms on the north side of the loch. This lay at the end of a 2-mile (3 km) stretch of road built to provide access in just 12 days, and by 1977 over 3,000 people were working here, housed in temporary accommodation on site and in two accommodation ships moored in the loch: the former car ferries Rangatira and Odysseus.
The largest project involved the excavation of a huge dry dock, in which the 600,000 tonne Ninian Central Platform was built in 1978. Material was supplied by sea and when complete the platform needed seven tugs to tow it to its operating position in the North Sea. The Ninian Central Platform still holds the record as the largest movable object ever created by man.
Mindful of the controversy surrounding an earlier proposal to develop a yard at Drumbuie, a condition of the planning permission was that the site had to be treated as an island: a self-contained village for 2,000 workers was created, and all deliveries would arrive by sea, rather than by road. A depot for transferring deliveries from rail to sea was built at Stromeferry, on the Kyle of Lochalsh Line. These conditions, though slightly relaxed by the end of the yard's life, had the intended effect of not altering the surrounding area much, though some might have liked it if money had instead been spent on improving the poor, usually single track, roads in the area.
By 1980 the construction yard was diversifying in an effort to escape a downturn in oil exploration and production, but its days were numbered. Two thousand people were still employed in 1984, but bankruptcy in 1986 was followed by closure in 1987 and clearance of most of the buildings on the site.
The 120m quay is used by Ferguson Transport as a port for fish farming supplies, forestry products, round wood, road salt and fertilizer.
In 2006, Leiths (Scotland) Ltd commenced quarrying operations on the site, supplying concrete for precast blocks for the Raasay Ferry Terminal. Leiths and Ferguson Transport have created a new joint venture company, Kishorn Port Limited to promote the regeneration of the Yard and the dry dock as a manufacturing centre for the offshore renewables industry.
One lasting impact is the Howard Doris Trust. Amongst other things, it has provided a lot of funding for the Howard Doris Centre in nearby Lochcarron, which provides care for the elderly.
Kishorn Port Ltd were given the go-ahead in 2013 to breathe new life into the port, creating a renewable energy construction hub.
And in January 2017, it was announced that Kishorn Port Ltd had been awarded £500,000 to test and revamp the dry dock gates, which haven't been moved since 1992. The dry dock itself will be drained and inspected once the gates are back in place. It will take almost 4 days to pump out all the water.
The Kishorn Commandos
- We're the Kishorn Commandos way up in Wester Ross
- We've never had a gaffer, we've never had a boss
- But we'll build the biggest oil-rig you've ever come across
- Remember we're the Kishorn Commandos
- Kishorn Online - the settlement's website
- grid reference - Kishorn Yard
- grid reference - Sanachan
- grid reference - Ardarroch
- grid reference - Achintraid
- 2528 Loch Gairloch, Loch Kishorn and Loch Carron (Map) (2007 ed.). UK Hydrographic Office.