Saturday, 20 April 2013


The origins of the name of Holy Loch on the east side of the Cowal Peninsula appear to have been lost in the mists of time.  Submarine Loch would have been an appropriate name if the loch's recent past were taken into account.  During World War II the Royal Navy used the loch as a submarine base, carrying out exercises and trials.  Later on, from 1961 to 1992, the US navy took over, establishing a Polaris submarine base on the loch.  This led to the loch becoming a focus for anti-Polaris demonstrations.  There is footage of one such demonstration on the British Pathe website, showing protesters marching with banners and people being carried away.  In 1967 the loch became the focus of attantion of a different kind.  An East German called Peter Dorschel took up residence in a house at Hunters Quay, a northern extension of Dunoon situated at the entrance to Holy Loch.  But Dorschel did not choose the house out of a desire to enjoy wonderful views of the loch: he was a spy and had been ordered to settle in the area by  his handlers with a view to gathering intelligence on the base.  However, his activities were rumbled and he was jailed for 7 years.  Nowadays the loch is a base for more pleasurable pursuits.  There is a marina offering yachting and sailing facilities.  Hunters Quay is a terminus of a car and passenger ferry service linking the Cowal Peninsula to to McInroy's Point near Gourock.  

Map of the area. 

© 2006 Dave Souza, via Wikimedia Commons

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