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Advice and recommendations for sailing from Craobh

prv

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Joined
29 Nov 2009
Messages
36,870
Location
Southampton
Given that holidays abroad probably aren’t a good idea for a while yet, my parents have decided to charter a yacht out of Craobh this year and they’ve invited me along to provide another pair of hands, another brain for the pilotage, and some younger muscle.

This is to be in early September, in the hope that things will be closer to normal by then - though all arrangements are refundable just in case they aren’t.

My sole experience of the Scottish coast is a brief work visit to the Qinetiq site on Loch Alsh, but I know we have some forumites who sail in that part of the world and I’d be grateful for any advice or recommendations. I’m particularly looking for suggestions of places to visit (or avoid) - in new areas I tend to find that “how to get to X” is reasonably easy to determine from charts, tide tables and pilot books, but choosing which X and Y to visit is harder to decide.

The boat is an Ovni 43 - bit bigger than needed for just three of us, but I was intrigued at the chance to try something different to the normal charter BenJenBav, and my dad rarely needs much convincing to go larger ;). Hopefully a reasonable turn of speed with those ten feet over what I’m used to, and a lifting keel to reduce draught to 0.8m - not sure how relevant that is to the local geography but worth noting.

They’ve booked a week that’s building towards springs - 4th to 11th of September - and I know there are some interesting swirly bits between the islands. Some local expertise on those wouldn’t be unwelcome either. I have a 2018 copy of the CCC pilot (dad’s got a newer one we’ll take up with us), and I’ve just ordered the Imray chart of the area (I like to have a paper overview for making plans). I’m also aware of Antares charts and will get those set up at some point between now and then.

Thanks,

Pete
 

AngusMcDoon

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20 Oct 2004
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7,294
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I know how fast I'm going, but not where I am
Any direction you go will be great. If the weather is pants, there is plenty of protected water to shelter in. If you get settled weather then the west sides of Mull & Jura are more interesting than the east, especially geologically, & Jura particularly. If you have the time going round Ardnamurchan to the Small Isles, up to Kyle of Lochalsh & onwards to Nevis, Torridon & Gairloch is all scenic. Eigg & Rum are the more interesting of the Small Isles, Rum particularly. Few people live there or go there. Skye, in my opinion, looks great from the distance but is less wonderful when you step ashore. Oban, while worth a visit, is expensive & busy. If grumpish weather keeps you in protected water trogging up Loch Linnhe is not worth it beyond Corran - visit Glencoe instead if mast clearance allows.

If you generally try to go with the tidal flow, obey the pilot book at the really nasty bits & don't try to fight the flow at headlands & constrictions you'll be fine on the west coast, no worse than the south coast. It's the north coast where dragons lurk.

Beyond that is probably too far for a week if you want to do exploring as well as passage making.
 
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Poignard

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8 Oct 2018
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15,204
Location
London and Brittany
I was on a charter there many years ago.

We did a clockwise circuit of Mull and went out to Coll (I think it was) and visited Fingal's Cave, Iona, Loch Aline and another loch, Tobermory was a good place to stop for hot showers in the hotel and fish & chips on the quay.

It was a wonderful experience and the weather was good.
 

steve yates

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16 Oct 2014
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2,626
Location
Benfleet, Essex/Keswick, Cumbria
Loch na droma bhuidhe, rhs side of entrance to loch sunart is a great anchorage, particularly if you want to avoid tobermory. Go round ardnamurchan if you can, the sound of mull and below is Scotlands solent, its suddenly much more peaceful round the point. Arisaig is worth a visit with your lifting keel, and loch moidart is a beautiful anchorage. I actually like Mallaig if you want some fleshpots, and some trips up loch nevis and loch hourn will give stunning scenery. As will anchoring in Coire Uisge on skye, though if breezy might be best as a lunchtime stop. Fladday harbour on Raasay is a great spot, and a sail up loch torridon gives drmatic scenery, with a great pub is anchored off sheildaig.

If you don't go round ardnamurchan, in settled weather Eilean Mor at top of Colonsay and the channel on north side of lunga in the treshnish isles give stunning anchorages , west loch tarbet would be a must and the ardmore islands off Islay are a beautiful sheltered anchorage.

You'll basically be spoilt for choice, go where wind and tide gives you the easiest time and change your plans every day depending on the weather. You'll love it.
 

ridgy

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Joined
26 Jan 2003
Messages
819
Location
North West
While fort william does not have alot to recommend it, it does have Ben nevis if you're into hill walking and haven't done it before.
 

wully1

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Joined
27 Aug 2002
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2,463
Location
west coast of Scotland
From Craobh your departure direction will be tidal dependent as you have tidal Gates north and south. There is plenty to entertain you either way with plenty of suggestions on the well travelled northern option already noted.
Going south you have Crinan, Carsaig or one of the anchorages on east Jura as short first day hops - or a little farther for Lowlandmans Bay /Craighouse (and a visit to the distillery..)
The Ardmore Islands next door on Islay are definitely worth a visit then you could nip round to West Loch Tarbert, Colonsay...

So much to see round here - to the south is generally quieter, more peaceful anchoring in nature, more weather dependant. The north a mini Solent....
 

BlowingOldBoots

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Joined
5 Aug 2009
Messages
16,521
Location
Scotland.
The sailing is not difficult and I believe you are a competent sailor from your posts. You will get lost of opinions on where you must go and what you needs to see. Some key points: -

1. Early September you will still get midges so have some repellent. Better still is the mesh nets that you can drop over your head.
2. Sunscreen, it can blazing hot, honestly it does happen, but that is more end of April / beginning of May.
3. Walking kit. Fantastic walking to be had in the hills and mountains.
4. Roads north. Plan your rout and it will take longer than the SatNav suggests because the roads will be rammed with Campervans and Caravans. From Glasgow about 3 hours to Craobh Marina. If driving I recommend M6, M74, M8 to the ferry terminal at Hunters Quay. It misses out a lot of the slow crap stuff.
5. Departing Craobh does have tide gates in all directions, some you have to pay attention to, some you don't, all are well documented and easily navigated.
6, Victualling at Craobh is poor. The nearest large supermarket is at Oban where you can stock up, or if you come over the ferry way, Inveraray has a Coop and the last is at Lochgilphead which also has a Coop.

PM sent.
 
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ctva

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Joined
8 Apr 2007
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3,167
A lot will depend on the tide / weather which you will only know the week before. As others have said, you are spoilt for choice but your choice will depend on your preferences, marinas, other boats, quiet anchorages, long or short sailing days, places to visit ashore, pubs / hotels or shops. Given you mention Antares and the shallow draft and a weeks duration, I would pick either a circumnavigation of Isla/Jura/Colonsay or Mull/Coll/Tiree or The Small Isles. Each will give more than enough great places to see and stop at.

As to our favourites, all weather dependent of course, are:

Lussa Bay - beach, bbq rocks, gin distillery
Craighouse - pub, whiskey distillery, the papa if you like walking
West Loch Tarbert, remote and quiet
Bagh Uamh Nan Giall on the west of Jura for stunning sunsets and views.
Oronsay by Colonsay, beaches
The Black Isles, just nice
Camas a Mhor Fhir on Lunga, remote beach

Ardlanish on Ross of Mull
Tinkers Hole, trendy but a lovely quarry pit
Gott Bay on Tiree, open but if you have bikes a great cycle round the island
Sanna Bay on Ardnamurchan, stunning
Inner Loch Moidart, even more stunning
Loch Spelve for the sea food.
Ghallanaich on Muck, just nice

Not Forgetting the Mecca that is Crinan.
 

SaltIre

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Joined
13 Mar 2017
Messages
12,871
Location
None of your nosey business
From Craobh your departure direction will be tidal dependent as you have tidal Gates north and south. There is plenty to entertain you either way with plenty of suggestions on the well travelled northern option already noted.
Going south you have Crinan, Carsaig or one of the anchorages on east Jura as short first day hops - or a little farther for Lowlandmans Bay /Craighouse (and a visit to the distillery..)
The Ardmore Islands next door on Islay are definitely worth a visit then you could nip round to West Loch Tarbert, Colonsay...

So much to see round here - to the south is generally quieter, more peaceful anchoring in nature, more weather dependant. The north a mini Solent....
If you know your likely departure time from Craobh you'll be in a better position to decide. As wully1 says, go whichever way the tide on day 1 demands! Your immediate tidal gates are Cuan Sound and Sound of Luing if going north... South is down the Sound of Jura, passing between the Dorus Mor and Corryvreckan.

South down the Sound of Jura to Craighouse (Distillery) then Gigha then Ardmore or Lagavulin (Distillery) then up the Sound of Islay to Bunnahabhain (Distillery) is a nice loop, if you go that way.
Islay Malt Whisky and Islay Whisky Distilleries Map
You can go rock dodging in Loch Tarbert (Jura) then across to Colonsay. Perhaps then round Mull clockwise - depends if you want to gather miles or do short hops.

Edit:
Of course it is your parents' charter - you'll need to anchor in many of the places, although bigger harbours (Oban, Tobermory) do have pontoons. Are they mobile enough to go ashore in the dinghy?
A Gurney, who is a forumite on here, has an excellent site covering the West Coast of Scotland at:
Anchorages (N to S)
which I think will whet your appetite.
 
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Quandary

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Joined
20 Mar 2008
Messages
7,768
Location
Argyll
The circuit of Mull is a good idea but by that time the puffins will have gone from the Treshnish Isles and I would avoid Bunessan. Anchoring off Iona can be a bit chancy, I would not leave a boat unattended there at springs, but just inside the entrance to the Bull hole has a lovely beach and a short coastal walk to the ferry. Unfortunately a week is not really long enough for going North of Ardnamurchan or arond Skye unless you are folk who like to sail all day every day. If the weather is poor Oban, round Lismore, Loch Aline and Tobermory are on Sounds that are comfortably navigable in most conditions. Don't worry about the midges.
I think there is some uncertainty about the pub at Croabh?
 

dunedin

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3 Feb 2004
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7,188
Location
Boat (now back in) the Clyde
Dont hit the rocks north of Eileen Craigach (Eich Donna) if leaving Croabh heaving northwards - a surprising number of charter boats seem to, and would be a shame to end the cruise after just 1/2 mile. They look obvious on the chart but easy to forget about them when stowing fenders and not fully into thinking mode :)

Then a swift passage through the Cuan Sound, swinging past the Cleit Rock, should get the navigator up to speed quickly.

PS. due to the tides, planning how (ie where from on last day) you are going to get back to Croabh at a reasonable time is worth considering
 

Fascadale

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Joined
15 Jan 2007
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1,372
Location
One end of the A1
How many hours sailing do you want to do every day?

Anchor and eat aboard? Pontoon, pub/restaurant each night?

Plenty of information available regarding pontoons, moorings and “wild anchorages” and equally plenty of information available on eating places ashore, distilleries etc

After that it depends on the weather

In a week, and with the weather you could manage St Kilda and back or if you preferred a gentle journey with short days and plenty of fine restaurants then up past Appin, Lochaline, Tob, Salen Loch Sunart

Loads of options, almost all good

Enjoy
 

Fimacca

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Joined
31 Mar 2013
Messages
249
Location
Somerset
Great place for a trip! Nice boat. One of those omni's sold next to me recently.
lots of good advice here. I sail there every year.

We were once stuck in croabh when it was first built for 5 days with high wind. That one pub became very familiar.....

Islay/Jura/Colonsay or Coll/Tiree or The Small Isles would be my choice. Tiree has amazing beaches. Jura has a great distillery and great pub. Easdale has in interesting and tasty micro brewery.

Go with the wind direction (tides allowing) !
I find the sound of mull a bit of a drag (but am from lismore, so am biased) the sea eagles are stunning though.

The cuan sound in full flood for a fairground ride, or the corryvreckan for a buzz with whirlpools if you dare (290m depth with 9m high waves with a westerly - don't misjudge your passage planning !)

Tides can be very strong (and not forecast ) around croabh. Always go with them. Don't trust the forecasted knts....!
Enjoy !

Ps last of Midgies ashore then - beware ! the mull midgie is infamous.....
 
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