Round GB Stopping Points: Browns Bay NI to Loch Ewe.

Be sure to check out Reeds  and / or the appropriate pilots (Clyde Cruise Club sailing directions) for more detailed information and some alternates, this is just an overview of ones I have been to. I am generally only concerning myself with anchorages as harbours and marinas are well covered elsewhere.

For anchorages in this area the Antares Charts covering almost 600 anchorages are invaluable and for some indispensable At £15 they don't break the bank and as well as the chart you get a very good summary of each, most if not all of the anchorages below are covered.

Sequenced approximately south to north. Links open in a new window and most point to the trip towards the anchorage, the following post may have more information.

To see my recent visits to each anchorage check out the "Labels" towards the bottom of the right hand panel.

Updated Jan 23 to include Harbours and Marinas also info on fuel & gas availability.

Campletown, E Kintyre.

Campletown anchorage

Visited 2021.

Ardmarnock Bay, Loch Fyne.

Good fair weather anchorage well protected from the south. A useful passage anchorage on the way to or from the Crinan Canal.

Ardmarnock Bay

Visited 2021.

Port Ellen, Islay

I visited the marina in 2020, 2021 & 2022 (click the label right), there is also an associated anchorage that accommodates the occasional large cruise ship but also can makes a good passage anchorage or place to wait for a good wind if you want to avoid marina charges. 

Sancerre on one of the visitors berths April 2021, the pontoons
left are for local boats and have little water.
Decent showers and laundry are a short walk away. Diesel from a garage a medium walk, they advertise availability of cans and a trolley to bring it back. Both the garage and marina are community run, the former may have irregular hours and the latter is usually visited once or twice a day.

A small general store is close by, a medium sized CO-OP a bit further. The reasonably fit can reach the Laphroaig distillery on foot.

Port Ellen, the CO-OP is close to the left hand side of the pic.

The Anchorage:

According to the admiralty chart (BA2476-3 Inset "C" Port Ellen) the N and E sides of the bay are rock or rock and weed (the moorings shown on the NE side have been removed), the centre is a bit deep (12m LAT although there is not much range above) and could be problematical if a cruise ship arrived (I have only seen 1, in 2022, that left as I arrived) The west side, (Kilnaughrtob Bay) is Sand and Shell and the recommended spot but it could be uncomfortable or untenable in some conditions, it was certainly uncomfortable in 20 - 30 knots of easterly winds!

Port Ellen anchorage, Kilnaughton Bay

Bagh na Doirline, Gigha.

In the right conditions a useful passage anchorage heading to or from the Crinan canal. On the NW corner of Gigha, very exposed in Northerly winds. 

Visited in 2021

Craro Bay, Ghia

You really need the Antares charts and the associated directions to use this anchorage, fairly tight spots and I hit Kelp and rocks in one of them see my post when I visited in 2022

Eilean Dubh, Carsaig Bay, Sound of Jura

Looking along the anchorage.

A nice generally well sheltered anchorage but somewhat expose to the NNE, good holding as far as I could tell with room for a number of boats.

Visited in 2021

Loch Tarbert, N Jura -South Side - Glenbatric Bay 

Pictured from Bag Glean Righ Mor (below) the anchorage is
either side of the reef just visible, right half of the pic.

To the east of Sgeir Agleann there is good shelter from the south and southwest, I anchored further west than the area covered by the Antares chart "Glenbatric Bay East".  The area west of the reef looks rather exposed, somewhere on the north side would likely be better

Visited in 2020 

Loch Tarbert, N Jura -North Side - Bag Glean Righ Mor 


Spectacular views of raised beaches here and further up the loch. The anchorage west of here is a little exposed but OK in settled weather or to wait for the tide down the sound of Islay or for lunch, those further up look good, again the Antaries charts are strongly recommended. I chose Bag Glean Righ Mor in 2022 and would use it again.

Ardalanish, W Mull.

Ardalanish
I good anchorage but small and could be exposed to swell from the SW in extreme conditions. It got a bit crowded when I visited in 2021

Tinker's Hole (West Mull / Iona)

Entering Tinker's Hole
A very popular anchorage that can get very crowded requiring shore lines in some positions as well as an anchor but, apart from the impressive walls of rock all around it, I am not sure why, worth a visit to take a look but there are better anchorages around. Visited 2022

Tobermory. Mull.

A very popular stop off, the moorings and marina can get very busy in high season, the town even more so as it is a popular tourist destination with wildlife tours on land and sea plus trips to Staffa for Fingle's cave. See the picture at the top of the page.

The fuel berth was intended for commercial vessels but plans were in place (2022) to adapt it for pleasure craft, diesel and Gas are however available from a garage close by the marina. Adequate showers and laundry but with only 2 washing machines & 2 driers there is likely to be a queue.

The Tobermory pontoons, Marina office and facilities left,
space for tenders to the left, close in. This was taken in July
2020, some of the berths are not in use for social distancing.
There is a medium sized CO-OP (if you have the outboard on the dinghy you can motor across the harbour and use beach / stairs just outside the shop), a small chandlery, bank, various shops and a small delicatessen very much orientated to holiday makers, a new store next to the marina office was under construction early in 2020.  There is a good selection of places to eat.

Visited in 2020, 2021 & 2022 but I was unable to anchor and picked up a buoy due to conditions and limited space due to Covid-19, anchoring is however permitted inside of moorings (very limited space) and in deeper water further out. 

Sanna Bay, Ardnamuchan.


A very nice anchorage with good shelter except from the West to North, easy access if you have GPS, preferably with the Antares chart. Without a bit more care is required to avoid the largely submerged reef, the exposed part is visible in the picture above. Visited in 2022.

Looking north from Sanna Bay, The Isles of Muck, Eigg and
Rum in the distance.

Loch Na Dal, Sound of Sleat.

Looking out from the Loch Na Dal anchorage.

A useful passage anchorage before or after going through Kyle Rhea especially in a NE wind when the nearby anchorage at Ornsay may not be tenable. Avoid the SW half which has extensive kelp. There are a couple of large mooring buoys for the local restaurant / hotel.

Visited 2021

Canna, The Small Ilses.

Looking towards Rum from the Canna anchorage / moorings.

Excellent shelter and a great view (in good weather!) but extensive weed so it is probably best to pick up a mooring if serious winds are likely as was the case when I Visited in 2022 when I measured a force 7 and it was probably more at times.

Broadford Bay, Skye

Good shelter from offshore winds and good holding, the guides say there are decent facilities ashore accessible by dinghy but nothing else to recommend it except that it is closer to Skye bridge than some alternates.

Looking south from the Broadford Bay anchorage.

Visited 2020.

Plockton.

Sancerre anchored in 2020. I believe its normally much busier,
lack of boats probably down to Covid.
Sancerre on a mooring in the outer anchorage 2022, again very
 quiet, but it was early May and despite the picture VERY windy at times.
Well sheltered from most directions, perhaps not from the NE, in 2022 I was there during severe gales from the W & SW, the wind was gusty and variable in direction causing the boat to swing and sway quite violently at times, accentuated by the very long lines from the buoys, but with smooth water it was reasonably comfortable and better than most anchorages you will find in these conditions. An anchored boat not far away appeared to be somewhat more stable.

Some good places to eat ashore, if you can get a table, most places specialise in sea food and can be quite expensive depending on choice. Shopping is extremely limited, consider a trip to Lochcarron (check the links) in the upper loch if you need serious resupply, the Spar shop there is the best I have come across outside of much larger villages and towns, alternatively try a train trip to Kyle of Lochalsh where there is a large Co-op and other shops and eateries.

Upper Lochcarron

Lochcarron village from the large anchorage.

I sat out a NE gale here in 2021 on a short scope of chain after losing 20 metres after fouling the anchor at the Holy Island of Lindisfarne (The start of that saga starts here, the result 2 posts later). I visited a couple of times in 2022 and I would not recommend it in a fresh south westerly as the long fetch up the loch would make it rather exposed. 

Diesel is available from the garage by the slip way close to the recommended anchorage. IIRC Gas is available from the shop.

Churchton Bay, S Rassay.

A good anchorage but exposed to south westerly winds.

Position "A" clear of the ferry terminal.

Visited 2021

Braes Beach (Skye) / Rassay Narrows.

Across the narrows from Churchton Bay, S. Rassay (above) with good protection, at least from rough water, with winds from south and west.

Visited 2022

Loch Shieldaig / Torridon, 

Sancerre in Loch Shieldaig anchorage taken from the slip way.
A very attractive trip through Loch Torridon (see link) to get there and several anchorages to suit most conditions. A good restaurant but watch the price of wine which is very overpriced (my bottle actually had a price tag accidently left on it - almost 1/8th of what I was charged), probably best to stick to other drinks. A small shop with very limited stock.

Visited 2021


Loch Boisdale

A new marina with easy access but watch out for the ferry. Showers & Laundry at the marina office, Hotel and some tourist shops in the village around the ferry terminal but serious grocery shopping is 2 or 3 miles away.

The CCC directions says diesel is available by can but I did not enquire.

Loch Boisdale, May 2022 from the Hotel next to the ferry
terminal (near right), the entranced to the marina is in line
with the cannon.
 

Caolas Mor, Loch Skiport, S. Uist.


Sheltered, but holding not great in places, partly due to down slopes and a swirling wind when I was there, probably best to bite the bullet and anchor in the deepest section and well clear of the shallow areas. The northern section may be better (the Admiralty chart identifies this as the anchorage) but when I was there that was a lee shore so I went to the southern side.

Visited 2022

Stornoway

Good marina, avenues a little tight but OK. Poor, dirty showers (but it was early season during the 2021 lock down), good shopping but, at least in 2021, all closed on Sunday. Good selection of take always and places to eat.


Loch Ewe to the Solent is covered on this page.

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