SW Scotland Cruising

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Ariel
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SW Scotland Cruising

Postby Ariel » Sat May 17, 2008 12:20 am

Hi.
I have been lurking and enjoying these pages for a while now. Thanks for the wit, wisdom and education.

I am about to go on a 5 day charter from Craobh (neaps) and would welcome any advice on cruising itineraries.

I am chartering a shiny 21st century 40 ft beastie - rather different to the 23ft antiquated DIY project I spend my 'sailing' (i.e. varnishing ) - so I have have fairly low ambitions.

Although I have sailed around the Clyde (Kyles etc.) I have never sailed on the other side of the Mull of Kintyre and a short perusal of the various pilots and tidal atlases has made me realise that it is a very different kettle of lobsters.

The W Coast seems to be a turbo-charged version of the Solent tides combined with a GM experiment which has cloned the beautiful black rocks of my native NE Coast and scattered them like confetti where any ship would like to pass.

Having read the various pilots and studied the tidal Atlases, I have come to the conclusion that the best plan is to cruise the waters of the Sound of Jura (with the odd excursion into the Lochs on Kintyre) and tell my crew that we are well on our way to Jamaica.

I am hoping that conditions allow us a short window where we can make a quick excursion to the West Coast of Colonsay but I do not want to tempt the fate of the uniquely powerful Gods of West coast of Scotland weather.

I have looked at the charts for the option of a trip up the Sound of Mull but I have romantic ideas about saillng around Jura.

Any advice on possible itineraries would be greatfully received. (We set off on the morning of Tuesday 27th of May.)

Thanks,

Rav.

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Telo
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Postby Telo » Sat May 17, 2008 1:01 pm

Hi Rav, hope you enjoy the madhouse, and the cruise out of Craobh. As yoi'll have gathered there are a fair few of us in that general area, and a few at Craobh and Balvicar.

You'll know the main tidal gates at Cuan, Luing, Corryvreckan, but apart from those the tides are pretty benign, although the Sound of Mull can be lot quicker with the tide in your favour (as I know to my cost....).

My advice is to keep a flexible approach and keep an eye on wind direction. Doesn't really matter where you go, there all great. Superb anchorages in most araes.

Enjoy!

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Silkie
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Postby Silkie » Sat May 17, 2008 10:09 pm

Just hit the button that makes long replies disappear so here goes with an abbreviated version...

Welcome aboard Rav.

HW Oban is 1059 BST on Tuesday so the West is your oyster. N through Cuan on last of flood (tide then against but neaps - lunch in Puilladobhrain?) or ebb S through S. of Jura.

Fancy Corryvreckan? Colonsay good departure point for W-E.

Lots of beautiful anchorages, spoilt for choice. Not nearly as scary as Lawrence makes it sound. Tides & pilot books will see you through.

I'll be homeward bound (though likely to be further N) on first few days of your cruise. Which boat are you chartering?
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Ariel
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SW Scotland Cruising

Postby Ariel » Sun May 18, 2008 12:27 am

Thanks for all the advice.
(I just discovered that button that makes long slowly typed posts disappear.)

We have a five day charter on a Bavaria 38 (?EvenStar?) with Portway Charters from Craobh.

I have just had a look at Puilladobhrain and it is now on the "must visit" list. Possibly on the way back as I think your other suggestion of a cruise down the Sound of Jura would be a more gentle itroduction for me and my novice crew.

I am also a bit daunted by the pilotage in the Cuan Sound and was thinking of using the Sound of Luing to get to and from the Sound of Lorn. (I am used to having an abundance of factory chimneys along the Teeside coast to help me with pilotage!)

As you say, there seems to be an abundance of places to visit. At some point I was hoping to make a trip up to Tayvallich or West Loch Tarbert on Kintyre. Any comments on the relative merits of the two would be very helpful. Craighouse, Port Ellen, the West coat of Jura and Scalasaig are all also on the list.

Our route will probably also be influenced by the various hostelries that you have reviewed on these pages. Whales, hot showers and distilleries will have to be sought out somewhere along the way to keep the family and crew from mutiny. Inspired by the Lighthouse Family Stephensons, I also have an unhealthy desire to have a look at Dubh Artach, although I am aware that lighthouses were put there for a reason.


Thanks again for the advice.

Rav.

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DaveS
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Nice places near Craobh

Postby DaveS » Sun May 18, 2008 10:05 am

The Sound of Luing is certainly easier than Cuan, but you will still want to go with the tide, and there's enough "swirlinesss" near Pladda to make it interesting. If it's calm a brief visit to Belnahua is worth the difficulty in anchoring if you're into industrial archaeology. Eilean an Naomh in the Garvellochs makes a good visit for older archaology (again if calm, and not overnight unless very settled.) The Eilean Dubhs anchorage is useful if the timing of the tides in the Sound of Luing means you emerge in the evening.

Tayvallich is a lovely spot, and if you can afford the time it's worth going up the very sheltered Loch Sween (I spotted an osprey nesting there last visit.) The pub gets busy, so if you want to eat either book or get there early. If short of time then anchoring at Carsaig and walking the mile over the hill is a viable alternative.

The Sound of Jura can be quite bumpy in strong SW against tide.

IMHO West Loch Tarbert, at least at its head, does not have a lot going for it (other than an easy walk to the fleshpots of Tarbert), but I was weather bound there for a few days ten years ago, so may be biased. (Poor shelter: looking at the pub but being unable to land, noise all night from a Spanish fridge lorry loading "black" fish, little swinging room and dubious holding, no fresh water where the pilot says there should be, etc. etc.)

The new pontoons make Port Ellen easy, but there's not a lot there. The pub is a bit rough, but does do a good line in bottled real ale. There's an Indian restaurant (shut Mondays) and a hotel. A bus trip to Bowmore is a possibility...

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Silkie
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Postby Silkie » Sun May 18, 2008 11:19 pm

Had to re-read the chapter on Dubh Artach. A close-up view is certainly a noble aim (don't forget to post some pics) but watch your weather - the fetch is about 2,000 miles in a westerly.
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Ghillie
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Postby Ghillie » Sun May 18, 2008 11:23 pm

How about clockwise around Mull?
If tide & wind ok go through Corryvracken, lunch at Ardlanish bay, (watch out for Torrin rocks by keeping closish to Mull), overnight at Tinker's hole, looking in at Balfour Bay next door,
visit Iona
stop at Staffa ( a must )
overnight at Graigaig Bay, Ulva (another must)
Go through the Treshnish Islands (lunch?) then overnight at Col
Overnight at Tobermory via Drumbui for lunch
Down the very sheltered Sound of Mull
Puilladobhrain or Spelve
Cuan Sound (you will be brave enough by then)

Have done this a number of times (initially without GPS) & the pilotage challenge can be satisfying......................................but I don't think anyone on the West Coast can lay claim to never having made some sort of contact with the bottom.

It can be magic.

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Allegro
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Postby Allegro » Wed May 21, 2008 9:58 am

Hi

Also a newcomer to the board, but delighted to find somewhere so strongly biased to SW Scotland!

My own few pence worth - coming slightly late to the thread as we were away sailing to Gigha for a long weekend and returned last night. Speaking of which, this was our own first visit to Gigha but undoubtedly worth a stop if you stick to your suggested Sound of Jura bias. Perhaps the closest place to you (and us) for those outer-Hebridean truly white beaches. The anchorage at the NW tip is perfect for that. Ardminish looked less exciting but we merely walked there from the Craro anchorage on the W side as we had easterlies all weekend. Other recommendations - another lovely beach on the SE corner of Islay at Aros Bay (you can tell we've got small children!). If you're down that end of the Sound of Jura and fancy a bit more excitement, don't forget that N Ireland is only a few hours away (especially in a large boat). Rathlin Island is beautiful, and we're getting into puffin season if you wanted to visit the colony on the island. Then, coming up the Sound of Islay, yes, Colonsay's worth a visit. Everyone raves about Loch Tarbet on Jura, but I've not yet been. Finally, Bagh Gleann nam Muc at the extreme NW tip of Jura is a lovely wild anchorage, with again a good beach, wild walks, caves, deer and wild goats to be seen.

Have a great time!

Cheers
Patrick
Sailing a Victoire 25 on the west coast of Scotland

Ariel
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SW Scotland Cruising

Postby Ariel » Wed May 21, 2008 11:28 pm

Thanks again for all the advice.

I have been sailing around Ghillie's circumnavigation around Mull using the Clyde pilot, charts and Google earth from my hotelroom for the last two nights. Luckily, I have had following winds and favourable tides all the way around. :-) This trip might have to wait for the next trip when we have time to do the area justice.

I hadn't really thought about Gigha but it sounds perfect. Our two boys would probably appreciate the beaches as a break from galley slavery and deck scrubbing.

I thnk that we will stay mostly in the South around Jura. I am loathe to put the planned itinerary down in writing incase I tempt fate (and the weather gods) but the current perfect holiday would be a trip down to Tayvallich and across to Craighhouse via Ghiga. Over the next few days, we would like to visit Craighouse, Islay, West Loch Tarbert (Jura), Colonsay and end up anchoring in Puilladobhrain for our last night.

Researching all the places suggested, I think that there is a danger that I may not have the charter boat back in time!

It will also be interesting doing some of the pilotage without the luxury of a lifting keel that I am used to.

Rav.

Ariel
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SW Coat Cruising

Postby Ariel » Sun May 25, 2008 12:32 am

Well, off tomorrow with Windguru promising F4/5 North easterlies on the way down and F4/5 SouthEasterlies on the way back up to Craobh.

We might have a short trip to Mull at the start - although nothing as ambitious as the Treshnish Islands on Ghillie's suggested route! I can't believe that there are no wrecks on the chart there.

Thanks for all the help. Good sailing.

Rav.

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Silkie
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So..

Postby Silkie » Sun Aug 10, 2008 10:25 pm

How was it Rav?
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