Passage: Rhu Marina to Kilmun and back. 17.7 miles in 3 hours 20 minutes. A short passage across to Holy Loch for lunch and a walk and back again.
A nice weather forecast (for a change) prompted us to head over to Holy Loch for a lunch stop. Holy Loch is only a short inlet (a couple of miles) just off the southern end of the entrance to Loch Long. The sunny weather brought almost no wind though, so we had to motor across and back. We stopped just off Graham’s Point at Kilmun and though we considered anchoring, the Loch didn’t shoal until very close to the shore, so we picked up a mooring. After a quick walk ashore we had lunch on board and then headed back to Rhu.
The main submarine base on the Clyde is now just up from Rhu at Faslane, but during the Second World War Holy Loch was a key submarine base. The Loch was used for trials and exercises for submarines. To prevent attack by German U-Boats an anti-submarine boom was put in place between Dunoon and Cloch Point. Two submarines were sunk during WWII in exercises in Holy Loch. These two submarines were ironically named HMS Vandal and HMS Untamed. HMS Untamed was later salvaged.
The Loch continued its use as a submarine base after the war as well and between 1961 and 1992 it was used as a base for US Polaris submarines. The Americans decided that they needed a base closer to the Soviet Union because of the Cold War and thanks to our special relationship we agreed to host them in Holy Loch. In 1992, with the demise of the Soviet Union, the base was considered superfluous and the Americans upped and left. Since then much of the area has been redeveloped to residential use and a new marina on the south shore of Holy Loch.
The Loch was also home to the Robertson Boatyard. The Robertson Yard started building yachts in 1876 and their prime years were perhaps in the early 20th century when they built 12 and 15 metre yachts. During the yards 104 year lifespan, they built in excess of 500 boats including the local Loch Long one designs as well as many Fife designs. They also built two British 12 metres that challenged for the America’s Cup – Sceptre and Sovereign. Sceptre is now restored and sailing actively – currently based just over the Clyde at Rhu Marina.