In the depths of Loch Sunart, in the Scottish Highlands, a local diver has found the anchor and mooring chain of one of the strangest vessels ever built in the shipyards of the River Clyde

The Strontian Floating Church

In 1843, members of the newly formed Free Church of Scotland were denied a piece of land on which to build a place to worship  

So they built it on the sea

They used a type of Crowdfunding to raise the huge sum of money needed to build this iron church

Now we are trying to do the same

The present day community is appealing to people all over the world to help us raise and preserve the anchor, making it the centrepiece of a new display

Local diver finds 'mushroom anchor' while checking moorings

A section of chain recovered from the sea bed

Professional conservation is expensive but essential

Our appeal has drawn attention from the media but we still need money

Please help our Highland community raise and preserve a unique piece of history

The floating church has been folklore for decades

Now we have the opportunity to display this artefact and tell an inspiring story of determination and dedication

Please help us raise £6,000 towards the costs of lifting and conserving the anchor.  It will be displayed in the village of Strontian, where the story can then be brought to life. 

The Strontian Floating Church was one of the most extraordinary vessels ever built in Scotland.


When The Free Church broke from The Church of Scotland in 1843, the community in Sunart, a remote area on the West Coast of Scotland, asked the landowner for a piece of land on which they could build a new place of worship.  He refused.

Somehow this isolated community raised a remarkable £1400, to have a Floating Church constructed at a shipyard in Glasgow.  It was launched in 1846 and towed all the way to Loch Sunart where it was moored at Ardnastang Bay.

It was a substantial vessel, almost 80ft long, 24ft wide and 27ft high. It came with a vestry, a pulpit and seating for 400 people.

Some worshippers walked miles and then either crossed by rowing boat or from stone jetty, pulling themselves out in small boats on long ropes stretched between the church and the shore.  They went to remarkable efforts for their faith.

Years later in a great storm the church broke from her anchors

The church was blown ashore and settled between high and low tide which is designated as 'no man's land' so the unapproving Laird could not intervene.  Here it was used for some years as a church and a school until finally the Laird allowed a plot of land on which a stone church to be built. 

Every trace was removed for salvage. Or so it was thought....

In 2016 a local diver found one of the original 'mushroom' anchors and some chain.

Many thanks to the following, who have enabled us to get this far!

John MacMillan, local diver for finding the anchor and carrying out ongoing investigations

Simon Willis of Sunart Media for making our videos and website, Mary Ann Kennedy, Alexander McCall Smith, Sunart Community Company, Sunart Community Council, Free Church of Scotland, George Fox FSA (Scot), Iain Thornber, Strontian Hotel and Bothy Bar, Heritage Scotland, Marine Scotland, Crown Estate.

Strontian Community Company

Registered Charity Number: SC039640

Company Registered Number: SC293485

Registered Office: Longrigg Manse, Longrigg Road, Strontian, Acharacle, PH36 4HY

Strontian Community company website