The Old Boat of Caol is most definitely a very unique hidden gem of Scotland. A few miles outside the popular town of Fort William; this magnificent shipwreck lies peacefully upon the stony beach of Corpach. Wedged between the tides of Loch Eil and our tallest peak, Ben Nevis, you are sure to click one heck of a banger from this picturesquely Scottish scene.
Table of Contents
A Complete Guide to the Old Boat of Caol (Corpach Shipwreck)
What is the Old Boat of Caol?
The Old Boat of Caol is also known as the Corpach Shipwreck, or less recently as the MV Dayspring. She was constructed in 1975 as a fishing boat with the intention of catching herring and mackerel. She’s not been beached for too long, as her life at sea came to an end in 2011. The Old Boat of Caol was torn from her mooring in Fort William by a ferocious storm, though she’s obviously not ready to be forgotten as the shipwreck has started to attract the odd visitor.
Where is the Scottish Shipwreck?
Whilst you assemble the perfect itinerary for your Scottish trip, it’s highly likely that you’ll come across Fort William. Located in the west at the foot of Ben Nevis, Fort William is often described as the ‘Outdoor Capital of the UK‘. The place surely has everything you’ll need for a weekend or a holiday full of adventure.
Corpach is a small town which is less than a 10-minute drive from Fort William. There, you’ll find the end of the famous Caledonian Canal and the longest staircase lock in Britain, the Neptune’s Staircase. The Old Boat of Caol is easy to spot on the banks of the sea loch at Caol Beach.
Nearby: Glenfinnan Viaduct Train Viewpoints (Catch the Hogwarts Express!)
How to Get to the Old Boat of Caol?
The Corpach Shipwreck directions are as follows…
At the Ben Nevis Distillery, exit the roundabout onto the A830 to head towards Corpach. Follow this road, past the police station in the direction of the Corpach train station. Turn left at the Kilmallie Community Centre and follow the road over the train line to finish your car journey at a reasonably large parking area for the harbour. Alternatively, there is a smaller car park near the Caol Community Centre.
From the harbour, the route is fairly easy to navigate on foot. Follow the canal towards the locks where you can cross over. This path, the ‘Great Glen Way‘ then splits into two paths. The path on the right, through the wooded area, will guide you to the beach. Cut through the foliage to let the stranded shipwreck surprise you sooner, rather than later.
TIP: Keep an eye out for the Jacobite Train. It passes through Corpach Train Station, which is metres away from the carpark.
Alternatively, you could admire the Corpach Shipwreck from the waves of Loch Linnhe on a seal spotting boat trip. This tour departs from Fort William’s town pier which is less than a 10-minute walk from the town’s train and bus station.
How to Photograph the Corpach Shipwreck
This expressive wreckage with the surrounding mountainous backdrop has become a popular spot for photography enthusiasts and drone pilots. It’s easy to become engulfed behind the shutter whilst trying to imagine the story of this abandoned boat.
Of course, the greatest lighting to photograph the Corpach Shipwreck will be during the hours of sunrise or sunset. However, cloudy days can also provide a stunningly moody atmosphere but, you then may not be able to include the summit of Ben Nevis. It’s only really visible on clear days.
As the Old Boat of Caol lies on the edge of a sea loch, it means that full access to the boat will vary between the various tide lines. You could potentially admire every rusty detail of the boat up close, on both sides, if you time your visit with low tide. Otherwise, the water surrounds one side of the shipwreck, blocking the entry from that side (unless you don’t mind wet feet).
In addition, there is also a smaller shipwreck further down the beach which can be included within the same frame as the Old Boat of Caol.
Since there is no barricade or paid museum insight, this shipwreck is one of those rare finds that can offer a truly authentic experience. Whether you are a photographer or not, the Corpach Wreck is bound to have you in awe!
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