Loch Torridon (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Thoirbheartan) is a sea loch on the west coast of Scotland in the Northwest Highlands. The loch was created by glacial processes and is in total around 15 miles (25 km) long. It has two sections: Upper Loch Torridon to landward, east of Rubha na h-Airde Ghlaise, at which point it joins Loch Sheildaig; and the main western section of Loch Torridon proper. Loch a' Chracaich and Loch Beag are small inlets on the southern shores of the outer Loch, which joins the Inner Sound between the headlands of Rubha na Fearna to the south and Red Point to the north.
The islets in the loch include:
- in Loch Shieldaig: Eilean an Inbhire Bhàin, Eilean Dùghaill and Shieldaig Island.
- in Upper Loch Torridon: Eilean à Chaoil, Eilean Cnapach, both of which are tidal.
- in outer Loch Torridon: Eilean Mòr, Eilean Tioram, Sgeir Ghlas, Sgeir na Trian.
Torridon village lies at the head of the loch and is surrounded by the spectacular Torridon Hills. To the north are the villages of Redpoint, Diabaig, Wester Alligin and Alligin Shuas. To the south is Shieldaig.
The Torridon Hills exhibit dramatic mountain scenery. The rocks of which they are made are known as Torridonian sandstone, some of which are crowned by white Cambrian quartzite. They are amongst the oldest rocks in Britain, and sit on yet older rocks, Lewisian gneiss.
Langoustines are fished by creels baited with herring or prawns, which are deployed on lines of up to 120 creels and left on the seabed for at least a day. Most of the catch is exported to Spain, but some is sold locally. The sustainable seafood certificate for Loch Torridon langoustines was suspended by the Marine Stewardship Council on 11 January 2011, due to increased fishing pressure in the area caused by creel-fishing boats that had not signed-up to the fishery's voluntary code of conduct.
Between 1999 and 2004 a large scale archaeological project was undertaken in the strait, Scotland's First Settlers. This was a survey project to locate and examine sites relating to the Mesolithic period. In 2002, a separate project, the Sea Loch Survey was run by the same archaeologists to survey the sea lochs of Carron and Torridon. Between both projects they found 129 new archaeological sites. At Loch Torridon, eight new sites were found (two other previous known sites also exist on the loch's shore). The number of sites led the archaeologists to believe that Loch Torridon was quite intensively occupied in prehistory. Even though 12 caves and rockshelters were examined only four showed evidence of human occupation.
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- "MSC Certification Suspended for Loch Torridon Langoustine". Certified Sustainable Seafood. Marine Stewardship Council. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
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