West coast of Scotland liveaboard are we mad ?

andymacg

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Hi folks just joined and was after a bit of advice

Been a few years since Ive been on the sea,used to sail with my grandparents as a nipper, so have bit of knowledge of being on the water.
Anyway I have recently changed jobs and will be spending 8 to 10 months of the year travelling up and down the west coast of Scotland working as a field service engineer on timber harvesting equipment , which basically means anywhere from Oban to as far north as Ullapool , as I currently live in the Midlands, I am driving up on a sunday night staying in a room in Fort William during the week with a relation and back on a friday night/ sat morning is what i am doing at the moment and not giving me much time at home to rest.
The wife has suggested buying a small boat and using that as accommodation during the week, and then using it to explore the coastline during the weekends and holidays during the summer months and then renting a holiday cottage over the winter as it would be warmer than on water, she has lived on boats in Soctland before in the past so knows how cold it gets in winter

So have been having a look on websites, and a few magazines at whats for sale at the moment , and so far we are looking at cabin cruisers or something similar around the 28 to 32 ft length and 8,6 to 9 ft beam with all the sea going gizmos, like radios etc and have around 10k to spend on the boat its self and reckon mooring would be around the 2.5 k for the 12 months ,
But would we be better finding a boat first or the mooring, the father in law the other day said its always easier to find a mooring once you have a boat,rather than the other way round is that true?
Would we be better off buying the best we could afford of look for something a bit cheaper that need tidying on the inside?
Are there any marinas around Oban and up to Fort William that dont mind you living aboard during the summer months ?

and lastly are we mad for even considering the idea:D

cheers Andy
 

SHUG

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There used to be a few liveaboards at Kerrera but probably a more sheltered location would be at Croabh Yacht Haven. Another option might be a good tender and a mooring in Loch Creran.
The best bet might be to get a winter rental on what is primarily a summer holiday property.
 

andymacg

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Thanks for that Shug, hadnt thought of the tender option and I shall have a nose around Croabh later in the week when I will be passing that way , and that is what we had planned to do for the cold winter months in any case
 

jdc

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I don't think it mad, the W coast is lovely in all weathers and it's quite plausible to live there all year, 9 months of which aboard. You will need a heater, so perhaps a slightly bigger boat than you had indicated (old and wood is cheaper if you're handy, and solid fuel won't cost you...).

For location I think that you must have a fairly easy row or walk ashore to your car, and that the location should be somewhere not too far out on a limb. Perhaps the Caledonian canal near Fort Augustus would be central enough. Places south of Oban would make for longer travel every day and you really don't want to be driving over Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor every day in winter. Plockton is probably too far N of the geographic centre of your work. Kerrera is an island, so how would you get to the mainland every morning? Fort William is v windy in winter and in fact moorings there none too secure over winter, but the canal above Corpach is plausible.

I know a few foresters in those parts and happy to be PM'd. Good luck anyway!

PS: Your mooring fees look way too high! A swinging mooring should be only a few £100 a year although you may have to buy it first. Get the boat then look for a mooring is my advice.
PPS: I'd not other over-much with electronic gizmos for the boat. You don't really need a VHF radio, and chart plotter, radar, AIS etc are not that useful. Distances are small, features distinctive and navigation by eyeball, chart and hand-bearing compass (~£50) is entirely practical. Don't rule out an otherwise perfect boat just for lack of electronics.
 
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AntarcticPilot

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Worth bearing in mind that the West of Scotland is actually one of the warmer areas of the UK, though of course it suffers from Atlantic gales in winter. But they grow palm trees as far north as Ullapool, and there are several well-known botanic gardens growing relatively exotic species for the UK. It's very much a maritime climate tempered by the North Atlantic Drift, so Warm Wet Winters and Cool Wet Summers! I am told snow is a rarity at sea-level, though of course, the hills get their share.

Also note that a boat afloat is actually warmer than a house; the water can't get colder than freezing point, so that's the lowest possible temperature, and it will usually be significantly above that temperature. I've been afloat when there was a skin of ice on the marina (InverKip), and was quite comfortable with an Eberspacher D2 on a Moody 31.
 

andymacg

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Thanks folks , thats given me a few more ideas , and shall be having good old look around as I travel round :) , the wife is coming up this weekend so we can go and start looking for something suitable, I suppose all the bigger marinas with boat sales will be down on the Clyde coast , though I have spotted a couple of likely boats in Inverness at Caley marine so might go and look at them first
 

Artic Warrior

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Worth bearing in mind that the West of Scotland is actually one of the warmer areas of the UK, though of course it suffers from Atlantic gales in winter. But they grow palm trees as far north as Ullapool, and there are several well-known botanic gardens growing relatively exotic species for the UK. It's very much a maritime climate tempered by the North Atlantic Drift, so Warm Wet Winters and Cool Wet Summers! I am told snow is a rarity at sea-level, though of course, the hills get their share.

Nice info, as im planning to stay a winter or so on the west coast,

Also note that a boat afloat is actually warmer than a house; the water can't get colder than freezing point, so that's the lowest possible temperature, and it will usually be significantly above that temperature. I've been afloat when there was a skin of ice on the marina (InverKip), and was quite comfortable with an Eberspacher D2 on a Moody 31.
 

maxi77

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Many years ago I worked in the Skye area for a bit, never saw a sea level frost or snow even though there was a lot of snow on the hills. On the other hand I have seen ice slushon the Forth, once only I must admit.
 

ctva

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For over winter you should consider a marina with shore power which will cost a bit more thana mooring but will be cheaper than a house. The Cally canal would be a good sheltered option. We're in the Crinan, not live aboard but even when the ice is 8" thick the boat is warm with a heater and the hull is fine as long as it is winterised.
 

V1701

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For heat I'd go for a woodburner or a drip feed diesel heater - dry heat that vents outside will keep the boat nice & dry inside. My experience of the blown air diesel (this was a new & properly fitted Eberspacher D2) was that it didn't like being run on low heat for long periods, coked up badly & spares costs were comedy prices. Better if you can insulate the hull and roof, having not too big window area will be easier to keep warm & dry as well. If you're somewhere with shore power oil filled rads or fan heaters, I prefer rads as they are quiet & it doesn't go cold all of a sudden when it cycles off with the thermostat. Electric blankets are good for very cold weather & the modern ones use very little power. Have a thin duvet underneath and a thicker one on top. Good luck with everything...
 

claymore

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I think alongside on a marina berth with power is the better option if you are planning to go to work each day.
Craobh, Dunstaffnage both good. It would be a faff to go onto Kerrera and having to catch the water taxi - its never there when you want it.
 

Wansworth

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Having lived aboard in Galicia..a bit like Scotland but warmer I would say damp is the biggest problem and a cockpit cover with immensely improve your life.Resist collecting stuff and invading the pontoon with your junk.
 

andymacg

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For heat I'd go for a woodburner or a drip feed diesel heater - dry heat that vents outside will keep the boat nice & dry inside. My experience of the blown air diesel (this was a new & properly fitted Eberspacher D2) was that it didn't like being run on low heat for long periods, coked up badly & spares costs were comedy prices. Better if you can insulate the hull and roof, having not too big window area will be easier to keep warm & dry as well. If you're somewhere with shore power oil filled rads or fan heaters, I prefer rads as they are quiet & it doesn't go cold all of a sudden when it cycles off with the thermostat. Electric blankets are good for very cold weather & the modern ones use very little power. Have a thin duvet underneath and a thicker one on top. Good luck with everything...

Thanks for that information, a woodburner is one modification we are thinking aboutI have seen some that use wood pellets so you havent got a pile of logs making the place look untidy , however I do a fair bit of work on plant that have Eberspachers fitted so spare parts arent a problem when the glowplug cokes up or the fan motor burns out
 

AntarcticPilot

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I think alongside on a marina berth with power is the better option if you are planning to go to work each day.
Craobh, Dunstaffnage both good. It would be a faff to go onto Kerrera and having to catch the water taxi - its never there when you want it.

Electricity and a fan heater is far cheaper than using fuel based heating.
 

andymacg

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Electricity and a fan heater is far cheaper than using fuel based heating.

Thats something to seriously think about aswell having electric from the mains so to speak rather than running a small generator or having solar panels, plenty of batteries and an inverter.
I was considering being able to move from location to location ,as some of the forests are close to sea lochs , so would make that trip to work just that teeny weeny bit shorter ;)
 

Kelpie

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Nice idea but the devil is in the details. Who will move your car for you when you are moving the boat to a new location? Good luck, I hope you can make it work :)
 

andymacg

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Nice idea but the devil is in the details. Who will move your car for you when you are moving the boat to a new location? Good luck, I hope you can make it work :)

I had already thought of that , with it being the works van I could leave it where I'm working and get a lift to where the boat was, off one of the truck drivers or machine operators on a friday night as they are heading home , spend the night aboard then move over the weekend
 

andymacg

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quick update time
yesterday me and the wife spent a bit of time looking at Croabh , Dunstaffnage Marina and Linnhe Marine moorings then we got sidetracked when we bumped into friends from back in the midlands in the bar of Ballachulish Hotel , where we was going to have lunch .They were on their way to the boat yard at Arisaig to look at a small sailing yacht so we ended up going to look at Arisaig with them, instead of heading upto Inverness as we had planned to see what Caley Marine had for sale as I had seen a couple boats that might be suitable on their web site
 

rotrax

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Having just returned from 6 weeks in the Clyde I feel I must plagarise the comment made about San Francisco.

"The coldest winter I ever spent was June and most of July in the Clyde"

It was awful. The scenery might be spectacular, but we rarely saw it through the rain and mist.

The locals say if you can see the hills it is going to rain. If you cant see the hills its already raining....................
 
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