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Lochaline from ferry.jpg
Lochaline is located in Lochaber
Location within the Lochaber area
OS grid referenceNM6744
Civil parish
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townOBAN
Postcode districtPA80
Dialling code01967
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
56°32′20″N 5°46′44″W / 56.539°N 5.779°W / 56.539; -5.779Coordinates: 56°32′20″N 5°46′44″W / 56.539°N 5.779°W / 56.539; -5.779
Lochaline as seen from the ferry from Fishnish

Lochaline (Scottish Gaelic: Loch Àlainn) is the main village in the Morvern area of Highland, Scotland. It is situated at the mouth of Loch Aline, on the northern shore. Lochaline is connected with Fishnish on the Isle of Mull by ferry.


There has been a silica sand mine in Lochaline since 1940 when it was opened to replace sources of silica lost because of World War II.[1] A source was needed for the manufacture of optical quality glass. It was announced in November 2008 that the mine would be closing.[2]

In September 2012 the mine re-opened under a new company Lochaline Quartz Sand Ltd, a joint venture between the Italian mining company Minerali Industriali and glass manufacturer NSG. It was featured in an episode (first broadcast in 2021) of the BBC series Grand Tours of Scotland's Lochs hosted by Paul Murton.

The silica quartz and other minerals came from the erosion of the Scottish landmass. They were deposited on the shore of a tropical sea on Jurassic shales and limestones in the middle of the Cretaceous period, 93 million years ago, at the same time the chalk cliffs of Dover were forming. The sandy sediment was reworked by frequent changes to sea level. Natural winnowing processes sorted the quartz from other minerals, separating grains of similar size. For 60 million years this was protected from erosion by a basalt covering from the Mull volcano.

Near the loch shoreline today are fossil oysters, or Gryphaea, that lived on the shoreline of a tropical sea here 200 million years ago.[3] The rocks in this layer are the same age as the Jurassic Coast in Dorset.

St Kilda[edit]

In August 1930 the last inhabitants of the archipelago of St Kilda were evacuated by Williamina Barclay. They made their way to Lochaline where many lived and settled with some difficulty.[4]


The village is popular with divers due to its proximity to the wrecks of the Sound of Mull, with various charter boats available locally.

The village has a snack bar adjacent to the ferry slipway, a shop, post office, restaurant, cafe, hotel, social club and marina.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Exploring Morvern, Morvern Heritage Society, The Story of Lochaline Silica Mine, Mary Barnes, pages 14–19
  2. ^ £Mine closes with loss of 11 jobs" Lochaber News, 20 November 2008]
  3. ^ The Evolution of Gryphaea, Stephen Jay Gould, 1980.
  4. ^ The new biographical dictionary of Scottish women. Ewan, Elizabeth. Edinburgh. ISBN 9781474436298. OCLC 1057237368.CS1 maint: others (link)