Holy Loch


View of Holy Loch

This evening,  I am posting information on Scotland's Holy Loch with emphasis on the 'American Years', i.e. period 1961-1992 when the U.S. Navy used the loch for a ballistic missile submarine base. This has been prompted by research consequent upon a request from a former member of the U.S. Navy who served at the base.

Where is Holy Loch?

It is a sea loch (fjord) forming part of the Cowal Peninsula coast of the Firth of Clyde, Argyll and Bute in the west of Scotland. 

Mouth of the loch is about two miles north of the small town of Dunoon.

Video clip of Holy Loch and the Firth of Clyde

Dimensions of the loch

By the standards of Scotland's lochs Holy Loch is small being just one mile wide and between two and three miles long depending on tidal conditions.

Visiting the loch

Commercial boat trips along are not available. However, it is possible to follow the road around the edges of the loch: Dunoon-Sandbank-Kilmun-Strone. There are regular CalMac passenger ferries from Gourock to Dunoon. Western Ferries operate car and passenger ferries between Hunter's Quay, Dunoon and McInroy's Point, Gourock. Gourock can be reached via regular rail services from Glasgow. Alternatively, there are road links from parts of mainland Scotland.

CalMac Ferry: Gourock to Dunoon.

Another option during the tourist season is to avail of a trip on the veteran paddle steamer, 'Waverley'. This vessel offers cruises around the Firth of Clyde from central Glasgow some of which connect with Dunoon.Check the Waverley's cruising timetable.

At the head of the loch is a private marina where refreshments can be obtained.The location also offers excellent scenic views.

Marina at Holy Loch


This is a popular town on the shores on the Firth of Clyde which has been focused on tourism since Victorian times.Here can be found hotels and other accommodation, shops, restaurants, pubs, and public facilities such as a museum, sports centre, library, etc.



Information on the 'American Years'.

Dunoon library has various images and plaques but checking in advance of a visit is recommended.

 Book cover

There is a 127 page book titled 'The American Years, Dunoon and the US Navy' which can be obtained from the well stocked book store 'Bookpoint' at 2a Ferry Brae, Dunoon, PA23 7DJ. Author is Andrene Messersmith and ISBN 9 781908 931849. Cost: GBP15.99.

More information for the visitor to Scotland

The publication Visitors' Guide to Scotland extends to nearly 800 pages and is extensively illustrated.There is a section on the Clyde Coast. ISBN is 978-1-9161332-0-4. Also available via Kindle.


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