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.
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 linked 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.
Phone service is at best patchy through the whole area, local's say that Tesco Mobile is best, at least in 2023 they used O2 as their carrier, I have O2 and generally only had a signal near ferry terminals and it was only marginally better than iPad's Vodafone data only service.
A nice anchorage but no protection from the east, smaller than it looks in the pilot and with more moorings taking up space, especially at the southern end, but there is still with plenty of room. Great looking beach, reckoned to be the best in the Western Isles, no facilities or phone signal (O2 or Vodaphone).
It is 8 NM round to the north side of Vatersay or to Castlebay unless you brave the narrow Fisherman's Passage which is about 3 NM.
Cornaig Bay, Vatersay
A nice well sheltered anchorage on the north side of Vatersay, an alternate to Castle bay with much better shelter with winds that have south in them. The channel and shallows have moved since the last official survey so don't try taking a short cut across the shallows except at HW, see the later Antares chart. No O2 or Vodafone service.
|Looking west from the anchorage.|
Castle Bay, Barra
A must visit if only to see the Castle and to restock at an excellent CO-OP, perhaps with the one at Kyle of Lochalsh, the best I have come across (In 2023 late opening on Sunday from 14:00). The relatively new pontoons and facilities had been neglected but came under new management early in 2023 so hopefully the showers will by now have hot water for more than one person every few hours, electricity will be restored to the outer pontoon and possibly wi-fi. The friendly staff were getting a little frustrated by slow deliver of parts, a common problem in the Outer Hebrides. Vodafone and O2 signals OK.
|Sancerre lonely as the only visitor but others arrived before I left.|
Diesel is available at a fuel berth from a VERY high jetty, better to use cans, a trolley is available. No phone signal in the marina but a marginal O2 signal from the causeway and facilities. WiFi OK from the facilities but very iffy from the boat unless you have a wi-fi extender with external antenna etc. one of the few times I have used it now I have unlimited data on the iPad (Vodaphone).
|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.
Kettle Pool, Loch Skiport, S. Uist.
Sheltered, but holding not great in places, partly due to down slopes and a strong 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. No O2 or Vodafone service.
Wizards Pool, Loch Skiport, S. Uist.
A better anchorage in my view than the Kettle Pool but it can get crowded, 3 boats was no problem on the 24th May (another 2 went in in the next day) but later in the season it could fill up. No O2 or Vodafone service.
|Looking out through the entrance to the Wizards Pool|
Loch Keiavagh, Benbecula.
Very narrow going in and not that wide inside, featureless and when I went in the wind was funnelling down it so I did not stay and went on to Lochmaddy.
|There is less room inside than the picture implies unless you|
are happy to anchor in 14 - 15 metres at HW.
Lochmaddy, N. Uist,
Limited space and a couple of berths could be problematic to get in or out of in adverse conditions and in early 2023 with limited facilities, hopefully the shower is now fixed and will take £1 coins. A friendly welcome. Limited shopping, fuel by porterage from the lone shop but quite a walk. Good food in the nearby Hotel - restaurant or in the less formal "Lounge bar" which is actually laid out like a restaurant.
Poor Vodaphone service, I can't remember about O2. Wi-Fi was only available through the insecure CalMac service but marina wi-fi was due for installation the week after I was there.
Update Oct 2023: A dredger pulled out one or more of the pontoon anchors in Sept 2023 closing the marina, check before going. Lochmaddy Marina – Gateway to the Western Isles and beyond
|The long section is largely for local boats.|
Opsay Basin, Sound of Harris.
Ensay (off Ensay House)
Noted as an anchorage in the pilot but it has very limited room and did not look comfortable when I went there so I went on to Taransay.
Loch Na Huidhe, Taransay.
A very good anchorage in the right conditions and a good stopping off place to or from St Kilda. IIRC Vodafone was available, don't know about O2.
Visited in 2023
Village Bay, St Kilda.
An iconic anchorage with spectacular views but you need the right conditions and it took me 3 attempts over three years to get there and several weeks of waiting, mainly in 2022. No O2 or Vodafone service.
Loch Finsbay, Harris.A nice anchorage well sheltered from most directions. The Antares charts will reduce stress entering and leaving.
Good marina, avenues a little tight but OK. Poor and very 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.