Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dunoon: Sandbank and Holy Loch

Ardnadam is part of Sandbank and has the longest pier around the Firth of Clyde (200 ft/60m long), not shown to its best advantage in my photo above, unfortunately (click to see larger). Built in 1858, it was used as a steamer pier. Prior to the First World War, there was actually a regular daily service of 15-20 pleasure steamers which called at Ardnadam Pier for the benefit of locals and tourists! During World War Two the loch was used by the Royal Navy for exercises and a submarine base. From 1961 (amid great controversy) it was used by the US Navy for various vessels and as home to the Polaris nuclear submarines until it was decommissioned in 1992. (At the bottom there are links to web pages where more detailed information can be found)

Along the shore road is Lazaretto Point and the beautiful 35 ft high circular memorial to the dead of both world wars. It was designed by architects from Greenock and the work carried out by a Dunoon builder. The opening ceremony took place in 1922. The memorial includes a later plaque which commemorates the six submarines which left from the Holy Loch which, like its men on board, never returned.

The view at Lazaretto Point across Ardnadam Bay and the Holy Loch is really superb. The point takes its name from the quarantine station built in 1807 during the Napoleonic wars.

There was once a ferry which ran from here across the Holy Loch to Kilmun on the opposite bank. Unfortunately, it was discontinued in the 1970s

Geoffrey enjoying some welcome sunshine!

An interesting fact about this bench is that the wood was taken from the mast of the racing ship, Valkyrie 2, which sank in 1894 (killing a member of the crew) after a collision with another yacht. Later, she was recovered and broken up, the mast being used for many years as a flagpole at the Royal Marine Hotel. It was later removed for safety reasons and turned into benches around the memorial tower!

View across the water from the bench towards Kilmun and Strone on the opposite bank

Below: Near the tower, almost on the shore, are three metal benches in a row which commemorate three young people from the area who tragically died in a boating accident in 2005. The benches bear symbols of their combined interests including music and sailing.

My photos show only two of the benches; the third has musical notes set into the back

Below: Some hoverflies alighting on wild flowers beside the shore

A short video showing the Holy Loch from Lazaretto Point

I'm greatly indebted to a local resident, Robert Diamond, who, when he realised my interest, actually insisted on giving me three brand new books on the area, though we had only just met! I recommend all three:

Sandbank, Life and Times by Ann Galliard
Sandbank, War and Peace by Ann Galliard
Sandbank "Our Village", produced by Sandbank Community Council

I ought to add that, although I have included this blog for convenience under the heading of 'Dunoon' - as it is less than three miles away - Sandbank has always been very much a separate village in its own right.

There's more information about the Holy Loch on the Wikipedia page here and a page about the US Navy in the area here


Anonymous said...

I don't think you can really get a better view of the pier as its in a private marina.

I like the picture of the war memorial,I wish I had spent a bit more time here,I never noticed the benches!

My 12 year old son goes in a huff if we stop to often! especially if there's nothing for him to do!


Jane said...

Thanks very much for this Gerry. It's difficult when you're with other people as they usually want to do different things, especially children!

Adullamite said...

Good foto's.

Jane said...

Thanks Adullamite!

Melinda Bogert said...

Jane, I !loved the video! I never heard about six submarines that were lost? When did that happen? Loved the flower and bee photos, too. Such beautiful photos I like it that you give so much information and wonderful detail in your blog!