Corpach Shipwreck

Corpach is a village close to Fort William and has always been notable as the start (or end) of the Caledonian Canal, which links the Atlantic Ocean with the North Sea. The village lies at the point where Loch Linnhe joins with Loch Eil, and the shores of the loch at Corpach provide one of the best views of Ben Nevis. In recent years, this viewpoint has been enhanced by an old shipwreck, the MV Dayspring, which ran aground at Corpach and now provides foreground interest to the view of the Ben.

Location and Parking

Post Code: PH33 7JH

Take the A830 road from Fort William, heading towards Mallaig. In about a mile and a half, you will reach the village of Corpach. Continue along the A830 for another half mile until reaching a sign for Corpach Railway Station and the Caledonian Canal. Turn left here and in a couple of hundred yards cross over the railway and park next to the Caledonian Canal. The wreck is reached by crossing over the canal at the first lock and following a footpath through a few trees until you find some breaks in the trees which lead to shore and the wreck.

The Old Boat of Caol

The wreck actually sits on the Caol side of the Caledonian Canal, so is sometimes known as The Old Boat of Caol. It was originally the MV Dayspring, built in 1975 and moored in Kinlochleven in 2001. Ten years later in 2011, the ship broke free during a storm and ended up being beached at Corpach – a lucky turn of events for photographers!

Unfortunately our photographs are all taken on a dull overcast day, when the head of Ben Nevis was lost in the clouds, so in the image below, there is no view of the Ben. However the boat itself makes an interesting subject, that lends itself to a slightly ‘grungy HDR’ look.

Corpach Shipwreck

Here is a slightly different view of the front of the boat, looking up Loch Eil.

Corpach Shipwreck and Loch Eil

On dull days, extra interest can be added to an image by converting to Mono, adding a vignette and generally going for a dark and moody shot.

Corpach Mono

There is a small stream that flows across the beach into Locah Eil. This can be worked into the view of the wreck, but careful composition is required to avoid a large section of uninteresting beach between the stream and the wreck.

The Stream at Corpach

The Caledonian Canal

Corpach is also the starting point for the Caledonian Canal, and there are five lock gates here for lifting ships up the first stages of the canal. These offer an opportunity for some long exposure ‘waterfall’ type shots.

Caledonian Canal Lock


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