Going through Falls of Lora - Loch Etive.

ash2020

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I know the Falls of Lora topic has been covered before but I couldn't find the answer to this question.

Slack water is a must. 2 hours after HW Oban and 2.5 hours after LW Oban, but how safe is it going through at low water? I know where to go through, I've studied the hazards, but I can't find anywhere that tells me whether there's enough water at low tide (midway between Springs and Neaps). Mast is only 8m so no probs with the bridge or the power cable. Draft is 1.5m

We're lucky enough to be based at Dunstaffnage and planning to do it this weekend.

Thanks
Andrew
 

Quandary

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I recommend purchasing a set of Antares chart, the one for the Falls of Lora shows a least depth of 4m just east of the bridge, should be enough?
 

NormanS

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There is plenty of water. Wee ships go up to the quarry at Bonawe.
Quote from Martin Lawrence's Sailing Directions, "Steer for the space between the bottom of the first and second oblique struts of the bridge from its south tower....". Just get the tide right, and you'll be fine.
 

ash2020

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There is plenty of water. Wee ships go up to the quarry at Bonawe.
Quote from Martin Lawrence's Sailing Directions, "Steer for the space between the bottom of the first and second oblique struts of the bridge from its south tower....". Just get the tide right, and you'll be fine.

Thanks Norman. That's where I was planning to go through.
Cheers
 

alan_d

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Some people go through at any state of the tide, e.g., Laura Dawn
and lots of people go white water kayaking there.
Some people go over Niagara Falls in a barrel but that doesn't make it a sensible example to follow. For most people with sailing craft the aim is not to go through the Falls of Lora at all, but rather to go where the Falls of Lora will appear at a different stage in the tidal cycle.
 

Amulet

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Some people go over Niagara Falls in a barrel but that doesn't make it a sensible example to follow. For most people with sailing craft the aim is not to go through the Falls of Lora at all, but rather to go where the Falls of Lora will appear at a different stage in the tidal cycle.
I didn't say it was wise. A Scottish psychiatrist would probably diagnose him as a "mad mental bampot" or the more severe "pure mad mental bampot", but I thought the photos were mildly entertaining.
 

NormanS

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I didn't say it was wise. A Scottish psychiatrist would probably diagnose him as a "mad mental bampot" or the more severe "pure mad mental bampot", but I thought the photos were mildly entertaining.

I thought the photos were great, and showed to the uninitiated why the OP was rightly concerned.
 

pete

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Had quite an interesting drift dive on the flood under the bridge through there years ago, ended up being pulled down from around 5 metres in bright sunlight to 20 odd + metres in complete darkness by what seems to be an underwater waterfall, there was no swimming up against it even with inflating my BCD, good job I had no ear clearing trouble. no problem ascending when you are washed away from it though. :)
 

ianj99

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I know the Falls of Lora topic has been covered before but I couldn't find the answer to this question.

Slack water is a must. 2 hours after HW Oban and 2.5 hours after LW Oban, but how safe is it going through at low water? I know where to go through, I've studied the hazards, but I can't find anywhere that tells me whether there's enough water at low tide (midway between Springs and Neaps). Mast is only 8m so no probs with the bridge or the power cable. Draft is 1.5m

We're lucky enough to be based at Dunstaffnage and planning to do it this weekend.

Thanks
Andrew

Went through in May at neap low water . I did close my eyes as the main mast passed under - it looked too close but there was probably a metre or two of clearance. (Air draft is about 13m)
You can see from the ripples where the reef is on a neap tide and there is plenty of clearance, once you are level with the east edge of it, you can start to turn to port.
There was no issue with currents or eddies.

Its a piece of p&& provided you adhere to the tide rules so you are not fighting it.

I have yet to pass under the power cables at Bonawe but there isn't a problem if you keep close to the north side of the narrows I' m told.
 
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ash2020

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Thanks for all the advice from everyone. We did the trip on Saturday. Arrived at about 1 hour after HW Oban (+2 hrs recommended) and went straight through. The only panicky moment was that I had forgotten to tell my partner that there was plenty of air clearance. She was helming and for a moment thought we were going to hit it. It does look awfully close when you're going under. I reckon we had about 10 feet spare. The rest of the instructions in the pilot book were spot on and we had a nice trip up to the head of the loch. Didn't stay there because there were hoards of people camping, fishing etc.

On the way back we got to the bridge about half an hour early and had to motor hard to get through, so I think we would have been better waiting for a while. No problems though.
 
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afterpegassus

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The reason for the trip was mainly to do a seal count. There are now an alarming number of fish farms on the loch and Dawnfresh, the biggest of them, has a planning application in to expand. There have been 8 seals shot in Loch Etive (that's the number they admit to) in the last couple of years. What with that and the huge amount of chemicals used, the fragile ecosystem in the loch is at breaking point. Glad to say we counted about 38 seals in total.

What's more alarming are the sheer numbers of seals that are being allowed to proliferate with insufficient predation.
When I was younger there used to be a culling team from Shetland that were used to keep numbers in check on the west coast (before pop stars and townies started telling us how to manage our environment)
Personally, I think seals are a much overlooked source of protein and sporrans.
 

NormanS

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What's more alarming are the sheer numbers of seals that are being allowed to proliferate with insufficient predation.
When I was younger there used to be a culling team from Shetland that were used to keep numbers in check on the west coast (before pop stars and townies started telling us how to manage our environment)
Personally, I think seals are a much overlooked source oft protein and sporrans.

Pleased to see someone prepared to stick their head above the parapet. Having seen upwards of 800 grey seals on one beach on the Monachs, I would agree that there are far too many of them. Our fishermen work under all sorts of restrictions to preserve fish stocks, while seals are free to eat as many as they like. Unfortunately, apart from a very few orca, they don't seem to have any natural predators.
 

ianj99

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Here is a photo at LW Oban + 2hours on today's neap tide. (2m Oban so about 2.5m below HAT, giving about 16.5m clearance).
As you can see all is tranquil and the edge of the reef barely visible so marked where shown.
The red marker light (highlighted) now seems to be working on both sides, although not exactly dazzling.

Also note that Ledaig Spit now extends much further south than shown on many charts, leaving quite a narrow channel so keep about 75m off the opposite promontory - Rubh Aird Nan Leum.
 

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Skylark

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I've dived the falls just once, about 20 years ago. You break most of the safe diving practices in one go but it was a whole load of fun.

Solo diving as there's no chance to stick close to a buddy. Don't wear a computer because it will never cope with the washing machine tumble and would probably "ban" you from diving for the rest of your life.

It's all over very quickly as the tide picks you up, throws you around and spits you out the other end. Great fun!
 

Scomber

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Here is a photo at LW Oban + 2hours on today's neap tide. (2m Oban so about 2.5m below HAT, giving about 16.5m clearance).
As you can see all is tranquil and the edge of the reef barely visible so marked where shown.
The red marker light (highlighted) now seems to be working on both sides, although not exactly dazzling.

Also note that Ledaig Spit now extends much further south than shown on many charts, leaving quite a narrow channel so keep about 75m off the opposite promontory - Rubh Aird Nan Leum.

nice to see - thanks
waiting to leave wales for dunstaffnage soon - hope the weathers better than when we called to have a look a week or so ago !!! yuck !!! and ---- any recommendations for anchorages once through and into the loch please?
 

cpedw

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any recommendations for anchorages once through and into the loch please?
There are many possibilities, some a bit dependent on weather. Heading east, some obvious ones are:
Achnacreemore Bay - several moorings here.
Between Abbot's Isle and Rubh a Chairn Bhig. A liveaboard stayed here for at least 12 months a few years ago.
Sailean Ruadh. Antares charts has details.
Airds Bay is moderately handy for the shop & pub at Taynuilt but the bay is full of old chain and the bottom drops away quickly.
Past the narrows, Antares covers most of the possibilities: Creag Bay, Glennoe Bay, Camas an t'Seilisdeire, Inverliver Bay and the head of the loch (which isn't great for overnight IMHO).

Derek
 

Billyo

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I went through there at full flood many moons ago, but as a diver. Much hilarity in the pub afterwards once we recovered from the washing machine effect, but not sure I would do it now I'm older and supposedly wiser.....
 
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