Highlands & Islands

Dutch marines invade Lochaber's Corran Ferry

Soldiers on the Corran Ferry Image copyright Corran Ferry
Image caption Royal Netherlands Navy Marine Corps personnel on the Corran Ferry

A unit of heavily laden Dutch Marines made for an unusual sight on a small Highlands ferry on Saturday night.

They were in Lochaber for five weeks of mountain training with members of the UK's Royal Marines.

They boarded as foot passengers on the Highland Council-run Corran Ferry, which operates on Loch Linnhe.

The Ministry of Defence said the Highlands were used by the UK's allies for training because of the area's challenging terrain and weather.

A spokesman for the Dutch Ministry of Defence said the marines have been based at Garelochead Training Camp.

They had been training around Fort William on Saturday.

The Corran Ferry allows access to and from the communities of Ardgour, Morvern and Ardnamurchan via a narrow stretch of Loch Linnhe.

It is also used by people and businesses on Mull, who first travel to the mainland on the Fishnish-Lochaline ferry.

The MV Maid of Coul has been operating on the Loch Linnhe route while the main ferry is in dry dock for routine maintenance.

Image copyright Doug Lee/Geograph
Image caption Highland Council's MV Maid of Coul ferry

Lochaber has long been used for military training.

Achnacarry Castle, about 15 miles (24km) north east of Fort William, was used to train elite commandos from Britain and the US as well as France, the Netherlands, Norway, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Belgium from 1942 to 1945.

Glen Mallie and South Loch Arkaig were also used for commando training, with some of the pine trees near the loch still bearing the scars of fire damage caused by war-time training.

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