News from Mallaig Harbour: August 2020

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It’s hard to believe that it’s August already! Things are starting to feel a bit more normal on the Harbour, and especially in the office. Audrey, Pimmy and I are all back to working normal hours in the office, and Grace is in every morning to cheer up our days with her singing as she cleans the building to keep us all safe!

The Marina re-opened in mid-July, with reduced capacity, and some changes to the shore facilities so that we are able to maintain physical distancing. We’ve had visiting yachts most nights since re-opening, although obviously it not as busy as we would normally like at this time of year. We’ve welcomed back Michael MacLellan to help Chris with the Marina, and Gena MacLean is in charge of the shore facilities for this season.

One of the yachts that we have welcomed in this month was the ‘Good Dog’, being sailed round the United Kingdom by Mark Ashley Miller, who is raising funds and awareness for the charity Seafarers UK by circumnavigating Great Briatain meeting as many Harbour Masters as possible. We were the 81st Harbour, but only the 3rd of 2020 that Mark has visited, and he spent the morning on the Harbour, and was kindly given a tour of the MOWI salmon factory by Gillie. You can follow his story on Instagram @harbourmastersailingchallenge. Mark’s original intention on leaving Mallaig was to sail round Skye to Portree, but we suggested he could meet another Harbour Master if he called in at Canna on the way!

We have had North West Marine replacing all the pontoon chains, and Mallaig Marine replacing the yacht moorings for us, two jobs that we had hoped to have done at the start of the season, pre-lockdown! We are also expecting GSS to come week beginning 10th August to complete the works on the Loch Nevis berth and the Outer Harbour, which had to be paused for lockdown.

Mallaig Harbour Authority has now become accredited as a Living Wage Employer, which means that we pay all our employees at least the real Living Wage. In normal times, we would have had a staff photo with the plaque, but given that we can’t stand next to one another, it’s just me in the photo!   

CalMac have been operating a limited service from 1st July, and from the 8th August aim to increase the frequency of sailings to Armadale from four to five, Monday to Saturday and from 2 to 3 on a Sunday. The Lochboisdale sailings are running 6 days a week – everyday but Sunday, arriving at 11am and departing again at 12. The Small Isles sailings are also less frequent than the normal summer timetable would be, and not all of the islands are ready to welcome back visitors at the moment, so check before you plan your travel. Capacity is still reduced on all sailings, so booking is advised wherever possible, and CalMac have opened the bookings for all sailings up until 18th October.   

Western Isles Cruises have also reinstated their full timetable from 3rd August, although with limited numbers to enable physical distancing, so again you are better to book ahead. There are also limited facilities open on Knoydart so if you are intending on going for a day trip the Knoydart Resilience Group are asking that you think carefully and plan ahead before doing so. Western Isles Cruises have also been running hour long wildlife cruises to coincide with the Steam Train.  

I had a week off in July, which coincided with a visit to Mallaig by Kate Forbes MSP. In my absence, Charlie and Gavin took the opportunity to update Kate on the Harbour’s Masterplan, the outcome of the STAG appraisal, and the next steps that we are hoping to take.

Jacqueline McDonell

Mallaig Marina Update: 9th July 2020

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We are pleased to say that we are able to open the Marina earlier than expected. From today (9th July) until 15th July, we will welcome yachts for short stays and, if they are self-contained, for overnight berths. From 15th July, the Marina and Shore Facilities will be open. In all cases please book ahead, as our capacity will be limited. The easiest way to do this is to telephone 07824 331031 or 01687 462406.

We will be operating an appointment system for use of the showers and laundry (which will not be open until 15th July) to ensure physical distancing is maintained. Crews who are aboard a yacht will be able to book to use the shower and toilet facilities as a group and will have exclusive access to the showers or laundry for this period. The building will be open from 8am until 8pm, but we anticipate that it will be closed from 12-1pm for a deep clean, and again from 4pm until 5pm.

Week commencing 20th July, we will have some work being undertaken, which will involve divers in and around the Marina Pontoons for some of the time. We will therefore require vessels to radio ahead before entering or leaving the pontoon so that the dive operations can be conducted safely.

Jacqueline McDonell, CEO

Coronavirus Update 29/5/20

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As of 29th May, Scotland has entered Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s Routemap for recovery. As a result of this, we have changed the guidance associated with the Marina, and are allowing LOCAL TRAFFIC to use the pontoon in line with Government advice.

The Shore facilities remain CLOSED.

Please note the following points, which are in line with the guidance produced by the RYA and available on their website:

  • Phase 1 is an extension to exercise, which means that some sporting activities can now be undertaken outdoors, providing all activity is consistent with current Scottish Government guidance on health, physical distancing and hygiene. Whilst meeting with one other household each day, in groups of up to 8 is permitted, physical distancing requirements are still in place, which means that people must stay a minimum distance of 2 metres apart when meeting others from outside their household.
  • Travel is still restricted. You are permitted to travel short distances for outdoor leisure and exercise but strongly advised to stay within a short distance of your local community (broadly within 5 miles) and travel by walk, wheel or cycle where possible.
  • Please continue to follow Scottish Government advice –
  • Be considerate of others: be mindful of the potential impact that you could have on other water users and local communities. Do not place unnecessary extra strain on the RNLI and emergency services.
  • Be aware that the Small Isles and Knoydart are not ready to welcome visitors to their communities yet.
  • Minimise risk by taking an extra conservative approach to your boating.  


  • Individuals should only sail singly or as a crew with members of their household group.
  • Boating activity must be local to the household with the point of leaving accessible within the current transport restrictions. Local means within about 5 miles with access preferably being on foot or by bike.
  • Individuals or household groups should use only their own equipment and arrive at their point of leaving ready to go afloat.
  • Participants must only take to the water in conditions well within their ability and which assume a self-sufficient approach to their activity.
  • Check your equipment thoroughly, particularly engines and fuel, as they may not have been used for some time.
  • Consider using a device to keep in touch such as RYA SafeTRX on a mobile or carry a VHF and notifying someone ashore of your intended activity, anticipated time afloat and calling them when you are back ashore safely.
  • Physical distancing applies to all activities of arriving, rowing out / walking along pontoons.
  • You should only sail with members of your own household as crew; do not sail on your own if you are not an experienced single-handed sailor.
  • You must return to your point of leaving on the same day of departure – no overnight stops. You may anchor for a break, for example lunch, but must not go ashore as this will break the 5 mile rule and could put communities at risk.
  • Check your boat over thoroughly – it has not been used for some time. Pay particular attention to your engine and fuel system.
  • Be aware that moorings may not have had annual servicing checks completed.

Please take this into consideration before deciding whether to use your boat, and please be mindful that the Small Isles and Knoydart are asking non-residents NOT TO VISIT at this time.

Please also note that, although the walkway railings and water supply points will be cleaned periodically, they cannot be sterilised after every use. Please continue to take care, wash your hands frequently and for a minimum of 20 seconds, or use hand sanitiser regularly.

Coronavirus Update

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Due to the Ongoing Guidance from the Government around Coronavirus, including the message to


The Marina is CLOSED to all but essential traffic for the foreseeable future.

Both Sail Scotland and the RYA have updated guidance on their websites; and

If you are planning on travelling from outwith the area, PLEASE DON’T. Please follow the guidance.

We have reproduced part of the statement from the Road to the Isles Marketing Group below,

Our shops, restaurants, leisure facilities and visitor attractions have ALL closed on the recommendation of the government. Those vital services that remain open are struggling to cope with demand… Our community value and very much depend on all our wonderful visitors who visit the Road to the Isles each year, we are not going anywhere! We will continue to share images and videos of our changing season via our social media platforms and stay connected with our wonderful visitors… For now we ask you to stay home, care for loved ones and as soon as it’s SAFE to do so the Road to the Isles and its communities and businesses will welcome each and every one. Right now we need to protect the very people that make the Road to the Isles such a unique and special place.

If you are a local resident, with a vessel moored on the pontoon year- round, then we recognise that it’s less straightforward. While it is accepted that it is very important for people’s mental and physical well-being that they should be able to go out and exercise if they possibly can, and the Regulations permit people to leave home ‘to take exercise either alone or with members of their household’,  the Government has made it clear that this should only be taken locally to home and within the guidelines for social distancing.  

Please take this into consideration before deciding whether to use your boat, and please be mindful that the Small Isles and Knoydart are asking non-residents NOT TO VISIT at this time.

Sail Scotland

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Virtual reality ‘bucket list’ videos get international launch, inspiring boating visits to Scotland

Sail Scotland has unveiled a series of 360 degree virtual reality videos at Europe’s largest boat show, to encourage visitors to discover Scotland by boat.

The marketing body for Scottish marine tourism launched the videos on Saturday 18th January, giving the 250,000 visitors to the Dusseldorf Boat Show the opportunity for an immersive, on the water experience of some of Scotland’s extraordinary islands, coastal destinations and canals. The boat show is an international industry highlight, providing a high-profile platform for the launch of the innovative videos.

Visitors are invited to explore eight inspiring must-visit locations through the 360 degree videos. These each give a taste of Scotland’s unique coastlines and islands, culture, heritage and wildlife. The virtual reality (VR) series spearheads Sail Scotland’s #MustSeaScotland campaign, created in partnership with the National Trust for Scotland, Diageo and CalMac, and supported by VisitScotland.

A virtual visitor might find themselves on approach to St Kilda, as the islands tower out of the storm-tossed waters of the Atlantic Ocean. They will discover the stories of the ancient landscape and the resilient people who made a home here, and marvel at the hundreds of thousands of seabirds clamouring high above on sea stacks and cliffs.

Another virtual journey reveals the Isle of Islay, a gateway to the Western Isles cruising grounds. Visitors can take in the sweeping bays and spectacular views, before glimpsing behind the scenes at one of Islay’s renowned whisky distilleries and joining sea kayakers to explore the dramatic coastline.

Mingulay, Canna, Oban, Skye and Inverness, the Moray Firth and Highland canals also all feature in the series of high tech videos. In addition to inspiring sailors to Scotland’s waters, the videos are designed to encourage other visitors to explore by boat, as well as to discover Scotland’s coastal towns and attractions. In the virtual visit to Staffa, holidaymakers step aboard a trip boat to explore the island’s surreal volcanic rock columns and the magic of Fingal’s Cave, while the virtual voyage to Islay is aboard a CalMac ferry. Video visitors to the picturesque seaside town of Oban discover highlights including Oban Distillery, McCaig’s Tower and Dunstaffnage Castle.

Each 360 degree video also has an accompanying ‘behind the scenes’ video. These reveal a fascinating glimpse into the making of the virtual reality videos, which were created for Sail Scotland by Airborne Lens using the latest film techniques and state-of-the-art camera technologies.

Sail Scotland works year-round to encourage visitors to the unique destinations and experiences Scotland offers. The #MustSeaScotland digital campaign aims to generate £1m for Scotland’s economy through visits by boat. The videos can be viewed on mobile phones and on computers, as well as through VR headsets, making them easily accessible. Once video users’ attention is caught by their virtual reality experience, they can link to opportunities to find out more, plan their visit and make bookings.

The #MustSeaScotland campaign supports the National Marine Tourism Strategy and Tourism Scotland 2020 and offers a fitting introduction to Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. This themed year is designed to inspire visitors and locals to explore and experience our unique shores.

Alan Rankin, Chief Executive of Sail Scotland, said: “Having visited many of the stunning locations featured in the videos, I believe the 360 VR format is the next best thing to getting out there. The videos have a true ‘wow’ factor and I would encourage everyone to experience them for themselves.

 “Sail Scotland works hard with our members and partners to promote our wonderful sailing and boating waters, and to encourage visitors to our extraordinary coastal landscapes. Being at the largest consumer show of its kind in Europe with such innovative material is a great start to the year.”

Gavin McDonagh, Chair of Sail Scotland, added: “We’re delighted to showcase our multi-media #MustSeaScotland campaign and state-of-the-art virtual reality videos at Europe’s biggest customer-facing boat show. This is also a great example of how Sail Scotland promotes Scotland and the marine tourism industry.”

David Adams McGilp, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, said: “The VisitScotland Growth Fund award is about encouraging collaboration within Scotland’s tourism industry to develop innovative marketing campaigns which will grow the visitor economy. It’s therefore great to see this campaign, which is led by Sail Scotland, partnered with National Trust for Scotland, Diageo and CalMac, launch these immersive films. They give a superb virtual taste of some of the country’s best coastal locations and will hopefully encourage visitors to come to Scotland to experience our coasts and waters for real.”

The #MustSeaScotland virtual reality video series, including behind the scenes videos, can be viewed online on Sail Scotland’s YouTube channel, at

Sail Scotland

  • Follow us on twitter: @sailscotland
  • Sail Scotland Ltd is the Scottish marine industry’s tourism marketing organisation. It is a membership based organisation, with members ranging from small holiday companies to large multi-national marinas.
  • Sail Scotland works together with marine tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • For information on sailing and boating holidays in Scotland go to
  • For information on other leisure and business trips to Scotland go to

Year of Coasts and Waters 2020

  • Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased throughout 2020 and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors. 
  • The year, led by VisitScotland, will sustain and build upon the momentum of Scotland’s preceding Themed Years to spotlight, celebrate and promote opportunities to experience and enjoy Scotland’s unrivalled Coasts and Waters, encouraging responsible engagement and participation from the people of Scotland and our visitors. 
  • A year-long programme of events, activities and ideas will shine a spotlight on the impact our waters have had on Scotland, from the formation of beautiful natural features to the creation of our national drink – whisky. 
  • Join the conversation using #YCW2020
  • See for further information.

Harbour News July 2017

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Harbour News July 2017


After a somewhat sluggish early season the Marina is now going like the proverbial fayre with “Marina Full” signs already being posted up on several occasions.  It will therefore be interesting to see, come the end of this 2017 season, how it compares with the following statistical table – an entry in the Members Report for year ending 31st March 2017:

As indicated in last year’s report the Mallaig Marina Centre was officially opened on Saturday 16th April 2016 by Sir Cameron Mackintosh and located within the Centre are state of the art laundry, shower and toilet facilities as well as disabled and baby changing amenities all for use by patrons of the Marina.

Usage of the marina by visiting yachts was on a par with the previous year as the following statistical table would suggest:


Occupancy                  Short Stay

2016                    1482                             43

2015                    1481                             29

2014                    1503                             33

2013                    1338                             81

In addition to the above a further 91 vessels made use of the marina moorings.

I list below some other items contained in the Members Report:

  • Fish Pier Fendering Repairs

As reported last year an engineering inspection had identified problems with the fender system of the Fish Pier (originally constructed in 1971/72) and that urgent repair work was required to the lower walings, a number of the energy absorbing rubber elements at the head of the system, facing plates, replacement of five ladders, some lower ladder sections to be removed and replaced and the fitment of anodes.

Under the watchful eye of Harbour Engineers Wallace Stone, Contractor Gareloch Support Services completed all work by March 2017 at a total cost of £412,000.

  • Waste Oil

Waste oil collection figures for the year ending 31st March 2017 were as follows (last year’s figures in brackets):-

Waste Oil:                   22,200 litres   (12,640 litres)

Oily Water/Sludge:     64,600 litres    (39,350 litres)

  • Wi-Fi

Wi-fi coverage at the port was increased in December 2016 when a signal was relayed from the Marina to the Outer Harbour.  This provides wi-fi coverage throughout the harbour allowing seafarers connectivity to the internet, etc.

  • Westbay Road

The Authority is still actively considering the construction of a road linking Westbay Industrial Estate to the existing Council owned Mallaig Industrial Estate.  Talks, seeking Council input to the project, are currently ongoing.

Speed Limit On All Piers

To all Harbour Users 

You will be aware that we have introduced new markings on the piers including the red lines, car parking spaces, yellow no parking lines and a passenger walkway (incorporating a dropped kerb at the rear of the Fish Market Restaurant) down Lovat Pier to the Western Isles Ticket Office.

The Authority has also placed in-situ traffic calming measures on Lovat Pier which seem to be working well.

The next step is the erection of signage stating the speed limit as 10mph throughout the harbour area.

We realise the pier/harbour is a working area with workers ever present.  It also attracts visitors so these measures have been put in place to help ensure everyone’s safety.

Please note and more importantly, please observe, the speed limit of 10mph on all piers.

New Vessel

Here is the Annie E, the new 22 metre 1200hp workboat built for Morar’s Donald Ian McDonell approaching Mallaig Harbour on 10th June after its maiden voyage from Aalst, Holland where it was built by Neptune Marine at a cost of approx £3m.Harbour

The Annie E, which has a draught of 2.8 metres and an average speed of 7.4 knots, will complement Donald Ian’s existing workboat the Emma C.

The Mallaig Harbour Authority wish Donald Ian every success with his new venture.

Robert MacMillan


01687 462154

10 Year Masterplan

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The Authority’s 10 year Masterplan (published in January 2017) includes considerable growth plans for the Marina at Mallaig.  Details of this and, of course, the Masterplan itself can be found at the following address:


April 2016

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Ten Year Masterplan

The contract to produce a Ten Year Masterplan for Mallaig Harbour and the village has been awarded to Lymington, Hants based Fisher Consultants, a firm with extensive expertise in the production of Master planning documentation for Ports & Harbours.

Initial meetings between the Authority and Fisher Associates have been positive and the consultants have been able to assimilate information and ideas from two Harbour Stakeholders/Users Workshops which occurred in The Community Centre on Thursday 7th April.

Public consultation via an Open Meeting for anyone to attend, is scheduled for early July and will be advertised in West Word.

What is your vision for Mallaig Harbour going forward over the next 10-15 years.

We welcome your views/suggestions/ideas. Please forward them to at earliest.


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154

Marina News – October 2015

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Like most visitor related businesses in the village the Yachting Marina down at the Harbour got off to a pretty quiet and inauspicious start.  The amount of yachts rose steadily as the season progressed however and we ended up on parity with the 2014 season.

No of Vessels                          Moorings

Apr – Aug 2014                865                                         55

Apr – Aug 2015                865                                         63

With the Mallaig Marina Centre now complete and we have all our facilities in place the Authority expects an increase in Marina usage next year.


Robert MacMillan


01687 462154