The NW coast of Donegal

Quandary

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Been sitting indoors reading pilot books and imagining interesting places to visit this year. I only know the Donegal coast from way back, touring on a motorbike and camping on the beaches. Spectacular scenery and lots of deep inlets with white sand beaches and big surf.
The idea was to head from Islay towards the Rosses and then work our way back from Aranmore/Burtonport exploring Tory, Sheephaven, Mulroy Bay, Swilly etc. then home via Rathlin. However the Cruising Guides are not so encouraging including warnings of breaking bars, shallow passages, tricky pilotage, local knowledge with constantly shifting sand etc. They imply that you could be embayed in some of the best anchorages for days if the wind is onshore. However if it is like the CCC pilots it might be on the conservative side. Anyone know or have explored this coast who would be able to report on how suitable it is for a fin keel yacht with 6' draught.
 

Sgeir

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I guess the ICC Sailing Directions just advise caution; we draw about 5'6" and experienced no problems, although the ground around some of the islands is a bit shallow. We don't have a chart plotter, but found the Imray charts plus the ICC and Reeds to be more than adequate. Next time we visit we'll have the UKHO charts on the laptop, so perhaps be able to be more more confident about the shallower passages.

In Donegal we stopped at
  • Teelin Harbour - anchor, then alongside;
  • Rossillion Bay, Aranmore - anchor
  • Inishsirrer - anchor
  • Portsalon, Lough Swilly - anchor
  • Rathmullan - pontoon
  • Fahan Marina - pontoon

This was in September 2005, and the increasing frequency and severity of the winds was noticeable as we went through the month. There is shelter, but not as available as in the west of Scotland. We'd (over)paid for a pontoon at Rathmullan, but it was uncomfortable, if not to say dangerous, in a strong northerly - so we headed for Fahan, which was very welcoming.

We have some scanned in pics here. Webcraft has a nice report of an Ireland circumnavigation on BlueMoment.
 
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Quandary

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Thanks for the info.
All the lovely golden sandy beaches are a worry, not usually a sign of great shelter, also the drift nets,.
It sounds as if it will be a lot less crowded than Scotland though.
 
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