Stopping Places: Mull of Galloway to Adnamurchan Point

Be sure to check out Reeds  and / or the appropriate pilots (Clyde Cruising Club sailing directions) for more detailed information and some alternates, this is just an overview of ones I have been to. 

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 or follow the individual links.

Updated September 2023 to include Harbours and Marinas also info on fuel & gas availability, the latter is not comprehensive as I don't need either that often.

Further updated during a boring winter 2023/4 to include some information on access to and from marinas. See my page Marina notes (opens in a new window) for some general tips and the context (handling of my boat) in which I comment.

Anchorages = redMarinas = Blue

Campbeltown, E Kintyre.

A useful stop off if heading to Ireland from the Clyde or rounding the Mull of Kintyre.

Campbeltown anchorage

Visited 2021.


Upmarket marina with good shelter and facilities, not cheap. Easy to get on and off the pontoons.

Weather bound at Portavadie, 2021.

See link to Ardmarnock Bay....

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.

Crinan Canal 

A "licence" to pass through includes 4 days berthing, but note you can't do this single handed but help is available, see posts on my passage here. Note: since my transit it has been made mandatory (2023) for boats with less than three crew to employ a "Pilot" who may work more than one boat through, that takes a bit longer but you get a discount. If you ask, someone will come to take your lines at the sea locks and at the other manned locks - the "Pilot" will join at the first unmanned lock and leave at the last.

There are good showers, a café and hotel with restaurant at the Crinan end, I went shopping close to the other end but did not explore further. See also my piece "The Crinan Canal and the Clyde Puffer"

Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Sancerre moored for the night above lock 14 at the Crinan end
of the canal, June 2021.

Port Ellen, Islay

I visited the marina at least once in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 (click the appropriate post 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. 

When entering the marina don't stray far from the hammerheads or go past the second as the water is very shallow - marked by appropriate channel marks. Access to and departure from the fingers on the seaward side of the first pontoon is straightforward. Getting onto the row the other side requires some tight turns to port but there is enough room to make getting out less stressful, but check depths as the inner berths are shallow 

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 but I have my own which saves a return trip. Both the garage and marina are community run, the former may have irregular hours and the latter, if not manned by the manager, is visited once or twice a day.

A small general store is close by, a better option for most things is a medium sized COOP a bit further with a post office in between. The reasonably fit can reach the Laphroaig distillery on foot. Places to eat and drink, 2 takeaways. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Port Ellen, the CO-OP is close to the left hand side of the pic.
Visited 2020, 20212022 and 2023, twice.

Port Ellen - Kilnaughton Bay 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 but the ground tackle could still be there), 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). In restricted visibility I would certainly leave AIS running if anchored near the centre for cruise ships and ships going to the harbour.

The west side, (Kilnaughton 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! Used in 2022 and 2023. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

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 near the southern end of the island, fairly tight spots and I hit Kelp and rocks in one of them see my post when I visited in 2022

The northern most anchorage in Craro Bay where I caught kelp
and a rock before moving to the middle anchorage at the far
right in the picture

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. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

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 2023.

Eileach an Naoimh (Ornsay)

An excellent anchorage in favourable conditions at the south end of Colonsay.

Looking south from the anchorage towards Islay

Visited 2023

Ardalanish, W Mull.

I good anchorage but small and could be exposed to swell from the SW in extreme conditions. It got a bit crowded with two boats 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. Visited 2022

Scallastle Bay, Sound of Mull (Mull)

A useful anchorage at the southern end of the Sound of Mull on the western side, good shelter from the west and with care OK to enter at night but Loch Aline would be better in bad weather although a slightly longer detour. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Looking SE from the anchorage Scallastle Point right, Rubha
an Ridire left. 
Visited 2023

Loch Aline, Sound of Mull (Mainland)

An excellent anchorage with spots sheltered from all directions and trees helping. It can get busy but there is plenty of room. Care is needed entering or leaving, the channel is narrow, tides at and across the entrance are strong and then there is the ferry - it turns round very quickly so take care. Antares have charted the entrance marking the deepest route.  There is a video of me entering on the 2023 northbound link below. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.

Looking towards the NE of the Loch from one of the favoured
spots, most of the loch from here dries.
Visited in 2023 northbound and southbound.

Tobermory. Mull.

A very popular stop off, the moorings and marina can get very busy in high season and may be full but it is not possible for vessels under 14.9m to reserve a berth or mooring. The town is even more busy 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 not very efficient driers there is likely to be a queue.

I have not used the pontoons, the ones shown on the left of the picture below have a fairly tight approach but should not be a significant issue.

The moorings have pick up buoys to very heavy gauge chain that may well be too large for fairleads and cleats, I can just about use them (with some lashing to be sure) but a rope - chain - rope bridle might come in useful. Each visitor buoy is marked with the maximum weight of boat that can use it.

The Tobermory pontoons, Marina office and facilities left,
space for tenders to the left, close in. This was taken in July
2020, half of the berths were not in use for social distancing.
There is a medium sized CO-OP, if conditions are benign and you are feeling fit you can row across the harbour and use the beach / stairs just outside the shop, an outboard would obviously be easier but unless its very windy I don't mount it to get to shore. 

There is a small chandlery (Update Nov 2023: likely to move from the small shop on the N side to the harbour to the marina building), 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 2021, in 2022 and in 2023!  There is a good selection of places to eat, the sea food restaurant near the ferry terminal has an excellent reputation. Vodafone and O2 signals OK, I have not tried the marina wi-fi.

Visited at least once in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 (click on the appropriate post label right). On my first visit I was unable to anchor and picked up a buoy due to conditions and limited space due to Covid-19 delaying the laying of moorings. Although anchoring is permitted inside of moorings (very limited space) and in deeper water (>= 22m) further out (that is also used by quite large cruise ships) I have stuck with a buoy - cheaper, quieter and more private than the pontoons

Loch Drumbuie

A popular anchorage with well sheltered spots but much of the Loch is deep, 12 - 38 m at chart datum, so there is not actually a lot of room, but when its reasonably quite it can save a day or mores fees at Tobermory.

Only 3 boats in, but it was only May 13th.

Visited 2023

Anchorages, marinas and harbours:

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