On the east side of Eriskay, a large sea-loch is accessed through a narrow rock-bound opening. Within, the waters are deep, the rocky sides steep, and the encircling hills shelter the loch from all directions except the east – and above all from Atlantic Storms. No surprise, then, that this loch is known as Acarsaid Mhòr – Big Anchorage, a place where a boat can be left at anchor at all states of the tide and throughout the year, with little risk of the boat dragging her anchor.
By extension, Acarsaid is also used for a harbour – generally where in modern times the anchorage has been supplemented with or replaced by a pier or quay – a great deal more convenient and safe than using a dinghy. In Eriskay, in the mid 20thC, a short stone and concrete quay was constructed ; but, five or six years ago, a series of pontoons were constructed to provide better access to boats at any state of the tide, to accommodate bigger boats, more boats – and hopefully to encourage more visiting yachts.
The pontoons have proved very successful!
[You’ll probably notice that the Gaelic spelling I use in this post is different to that used on the map : The Ordnance Survey’s place-names were collected more than a century ago, but since then spelling has often become simpler, and even then were not reliable.]