A remarkable and unique feature of the shoreline at Ballachulish are the two sets of Slate boatsheds. These were originally built by the quarriers to keep their boats in so that they could supplement their income by fishing. The origins and history of these structures is not entirely clear, although it is known that boatsheds existed here in the 1860s. The nature of the structures makes it difficult to date them, and indeed those that we see today may have been substantially rebuilt a number of times in the past.
There are two sets of boatsheds, those to the west of the village on the shore beyond Lochside Cottages, and those further east in the harbour near the car park and slipway. The western group are in private ownership, but those at the harbour are still owned as a group and leased to local people for the storage of boats and equipment. There are a total of 10 standing sheds here, with the remains of at least one more which has collapsed.
The boatsheds are built almost entirely of slate. The walls are piled up slate waste, built to varying thicknesses, and on occasions leaning at quite a severe angle, and yet seemingly still structurally sound. Originally the roof was supported by steel or iron rails, apparently damaged items from the tramways in the quarry. These in turn supported the roof which was covered in slate. Today a variety of styles are used on the slate roofs, dating from various repairs and restorations in the past. Previously, most were covered with large slabs of slate, but today those slabs are laid on felted timber boarding, not directly on the rails as in the past.
Whilst the boatsheds are currently not in the best condition, their continued survival is assured, with the community currently working together to ensure that they are sensitively restored and put back to use for the purpose that they were originally intended. The restoration process will not be a quick fix, but will ensure that these unique boatsheds remain a feature of our village for many years to come.