Loch Ewe
Loch Ewe is a sea loch
Loch is the Irish and Scottish Gaelic word for a lake or a sea inlet. It has been anglicised as lough, although this is pronounced the same way as loch. Some lochs could also be called a firth, fjord, estuary, strait or bay...

 in the region of Wester Ross in the Northwest Highlands
Northwest Highlands
The Northwest Highlands are the northern third of Scotland that is separated from the Grampian Mountains by the Great Glen . The region comprises , Assynt, Caithness and Sutherland. The Caledonian Canal, which extends from Loch Linnhe in the west, via Loch Ness to the Moray Firth in the north...

 of Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

. The shores are inhabited by a traditionally Gàidhlig speaking people living in or sustained by crofting
Crofting is a form of land tenure and small-scale food production unique to the Scottish Highlands, the Islands of Scotland, and formerly on the Isle of Man....

 villages, the most notable of which, situated on the north-eastern shore, is the Aultbea
Aultbea is a small fishing village in the North-West Highlands of Scotland. It is situated on the shores of Loch Ewe, about 30 km west of Ullapool. The village has two hotels, the Aultbea Hotel and the Drumchork Lodge Hotel, which won the accolade of top whisky hotel in the world in 2006...

 settlement. The four-mile long River Ewe enters Loch Ewe from the following thirteen lochs of the surrounding basins (the Ardlair basin, the Slattadale basin and the Ghruididh basin):
  • Loch Maree
    Loch Maree
    Loch Maree is a loch in Wester Ross in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland. At long and with a maximum width of , it is the fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland; it is the largest north of Loch Ness. Its surface area is ....

  • Loch Fada
  • Loch Garbhaig
  • Loch Coulin
  • Loch Clair
    Clair or Claire may refer to:*Claire , a list of people with the name Claire- Canada :* Clair, New Brunswick* Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada, municipality located on the Island of Montreal* Clair, Saskatchewan...

  • Loch Tollaidh
  • Loch Kernsary
  • Loch Ghiuragarstidh
  • Loch Mhic' Ille Rhiabhaich
  • Loch a' Bhaid-Luachraich
  • Loch Sguod
  • Loch an t-Slagain
  • Loch Drainc


Due to the rugged and inaccessible terrain in which it is located, Loch Ewe has always been an assembly point for maritime trade. Around 1610 the area at the head of Loch Ewe, today known as Poolewe, was urbanised around an iron furnace utilising charcoal produced in the surrounding woodlands for fuel. English ironmasters found it more economic to ship the ore to Poolewe for smelting than to ship the processed charcoal to England to run furnaces there.

The crofting villages which were established in the 1840s, as a result of the local parish's estate being reformed from run-rig to fixed holdings properties, were always quite small. Bualnaliub, nine miles (fifteen kilometres) to the north of Poolewe, had eleven houses and fifty people at the 1841 census – twenty-three of whom were from the same (McIver) family. Mellon Charles, thence four miles (six and a half kilometres) to the west, had two hundred and sixteen people in forty-one houses – including seventeen houses headed by a McLennan. Ormiscaig, roughly half-way between them, had ten houses (four headed by McGregors) totalling forty-eight people. One hundred and forty years later, in 1981, the population was ten at Bualnaluib, twenty-four at Ormiscaig and one hundred and ten at Mellon Charles.

In 1911 a 70 foot lighthouse was built on the promontory between Gairloch and Poolewe.

Loch Ewe featured in the great wars of the twentieth century as a naval port of significant strategic importance to the United Kingdom. During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  many submarines entered the Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 from here, as did ship convoys headed to West Africa and North America and those on on the colloquially-termed "Arctic Run" to Murmansk
Murmansk is a city and the administrative center of Murmansk Oblast, Russia. It serves as a seaport and is located in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland...

 and back.


According to the published correspondance of a local resident, the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 established watchkeeping defenses around an inlet to the south-east of Loch Ewe, sourcing the area for its cod
Cod is the common name for genus Gadus, belonging to the family Gadidae, and is also used in the common name for various other fishes. Cod is a popular food with a mild flavor, low fat content and a dense, flaky white flesh. Cod livers are processed to make cod liver oil, an important source of...

, haddock
The haddock , also known as the offshore hake, is a marine fish distributed on both sides of the North Atlantic. Haddock is a popular food fish and is widely fished commercially....

, and mackerel
Mackerel is a common name applied to a number of different species of fish, mostly, but not exclusively, from the family Scombridae. They may be found in all tropical and temperate seas. Most live offshore in the oceanic environment but a few, like the Spanish mackerel , enter bays and can be...


NATO Z-berths and POL depots

As of 2006, the Mellon Charles base is still in use, with two berths authorised for nuclear powered submarine use. The jetty at Aultbea is designated a "Z-berth" to allow NATO's nuclear submarines to return for servicing without warning. A second Z-berth is located in the middle of Loch Ewe itself, marked by a buoy but not appearing on any Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey
Ordnance Survey , an executive agency and non-ministerial government department of the Government of the United Kingdom, is the national mapping agency for Great Britain, producing maps of Great Britain , and one of the world's largest producers of maps.The name reflects its creation together with...


The Naval Boom Defence depot at Mellon Charles marks the start of the original protective netting which guarded the entrance to the loch. Nowadays, the Mellon Charles site is rumoured to be involved in the disposal of waste nuclear material from submarines returning from their tour of duty. Another part of the base is designated a Petroleum, Oil and Lubricants (POL) depot. This provides for the maintenance of visiting warships.


Loch Ewe is often praised for its scenic beauty, especially in the vistas from the so-called midnight walk (the A832 single-track road to the left of Loch Kernsary) about a mile and a half to the north of Tournaig. This is the subject of many strathspeys still sung today in local ceilidh
In modern usage, a céilidh or ceilidh is a traditional Gaelic social gathering, which usually involves playing Gaelic folk music and dancing. It originated in Ireland, but is now common throughout the Irish and Scottish diasporas...

. Additionally, it has several outposts above the Aultbea foreshore (around Aird Point) giving photo opportunities for tourists travelling inland.

Ancient Mariner folklore

In his compedium of folk and faerie (encounters with the Daoine Sìth
Aos Sí
The aos sí are a supernatural race in Irish mythology and Scottish mythology are comparable to the fairies or elves. They are said to live underground in the fairy mounds, across the western sea, or in an invisible world that coexists with the world of humans...

race) tales of the mainland, Sir George Douglas
George Douglas
George Douglas may refer to:*George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus , Scottish magnate*George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus , Scottish magnate*George Douglas, Master of Angus , Scottish nobleman*George Douglas of Pittendreich George Douglas may refer to:*George Douglas, 1st Earl of Angus (1378–1402),...

 records that the ancestral dialogues and mythological
Scottish mythology
Scottish mythology may refer to any of the mythologies of Scotland.Myths have emerged for various purposes throughout the history of Scotland, sometimes being elaborated upon by successive generations, and at other times being completely rejected and replaced by other explanatory narratives.-...

 apologues of the Scottish peasantry, and the folkish customs employed in recounting them, "still linger in the remote western islands of Barra
The island of Barra is a predominantly Gaelic-speaking island, and apart from the adjacent island of Vatersay, to which it is connected by a causeway, is the southernmost inhabited island of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland.-Geography:The 2001 census showed that the resident population was 1,078...

; where, in the long winter nights, the people would gather in crowds to listen to those whom they considered good exponents of the art. At an earlier date, – but still, at that time [in the mid twentieth century], within living memory, – the custom survived at Poolewe in Ross-shire where the young people were used to assemble [sic] at night to hear the old ones recite the tales which they had learned from their fore-fathers. Here, and at earlier dates in other parts of the country also, the demand for stories would further be supplied by travelling pedlars, or by gaberlunzie men, or pauper wandering musicians and entertainers, or by the itinerant shoemaker or tailor – 'Whip-the-Cat' as he was nicknamed, – both of which last were accustomed to travel through thinly-populated country districts, in the pursuit of their calling, and to put up for the night at farm-houses, – where, whilst plying their needles, they would entertain the company with stories.

"The arrival of one of these story-tellers in a village was an important event. As soon as it became known, there would be a rush to the house where he was lodged, and every available seat – on bench, table, bed, beam, or the floor – would quickly be appropriated. And then, for hours together – just like some first-rate actor on a stage – the story-teller would hold his audience spell-bound. During his recitals, the emotions of the recitor were occasionally very strongly excited, as were also those of his listeners, who at one time would be on the verge of tears, at another give way to laughter. There were many of these listeners, by the way, who believed firmly in all the extravangances narrated.

And such rustic scenes as these, as I [will show], have by no means been without their marked upon Scottish literature
Scottish literature
Scottish literature is literature written in Scotland or by Scottish writers. It includes literature written in English, Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Brythonic, French, Latin and any other language in which a piece of literature was ever written within the boundaries of modern Scotland.The earliest...



Ross-shire dialect English is spoken in Red Point (nearby Gairloch
Gairloch is a village, civil parish and community on the shores of Loch Gairloch on the northwest coast of Scotland. A popular tourist destination in the summer months, Gairloch has a golf course, a small museum, several hotels, a community centre, a leisure centre with sports facilities, a local...

) and Poolewe. It is "somewhat similar to that of the Southern Hebridean [Harris and Barra] dialects." Pre-aspiration involves "a very distinct and long h, often with a slight velar friction; though this h is different from x, which has more friction, and there exist such pairs as bohk 'a buck' boc ~bcxk 'poor' bochd. When the occlusive is palatal, h is not affected by the palatality."

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.