Stopping Places: Loch Ewe to Orkney

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

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.

Chart below excludes and anchorages added during 2024.

Anchorages = redMarinas = Blue

Loch Ewe

A large loch with anchorages to suite all tastes. My favourite is Aultbea, 

Position "A" in the anchorage, watch out for a couple of old pick up
buoys and it is quite shoal so don't go too far without checking the depth
all round and the tide tables.
Looking south, the NATO refuelling point on the left.
On all 3 visits there have been great sun sets.

 
2024
Visited 20202021 and 2024.

Loch Ned

Excellent shelter and can be entered in almost any conditions but its hard to spot the entrance from a distance but obviously not a problem with GPS (assuming it is not being interfered with by the Navy) there are a series of pictures here. Its a fairly long leg to or from Loch Erribol but in favourable winds I have done it in ten and a quarter hours North bound going quite close in to Cape Wrath and eleven and a half hours south bound standing off further (link above). O2 voice service but only legacy GPRS data which has limited utility these days.



Visited 2020 and 2021.

Tarbet Lagoon, Handa Island.


Excellent anchorage but really requires the Antares chart. Phone coverage OK until close by but very patchy in the anchorage.


Loch Clash


Loch Clash anchorage.

Loch Clash is quite a nice anchorage although over looked by several houses and an area people use to park their camper vans. The down side is that it is exposed to the south west and quite a lot of Kelp.

Avoid a rocky patch between my location and the other yacht, see the Antares Chart. Vodafone and O2 signals OK. Visited 2024

Loch Eriboll

A large loch with good shelter but some of the anchorages, including the most convenient, shown in the pilot were a waste of time when I visited in 2020 (see link re Loch Nedd North bound going quite close in to Cape Wrath ), but there are good anchorages on both sides of Ard Neachie 5 miles up the loch on the east side and there are other likely spots in calm conditions. O2 and Vodafone signals are fine in 2024, not sure they were previously.

Update 2024: I did not go to Respond Bay as the wind was wrong on arrival but using the binoculars there were far fewer pot buoys than on my previous visits and on leaving a yacht was using the anchorage, I suspect that previously there had been a lot of cages down to store live lobsters prior to the reopening of restaurants at the end of 2020 and 2021 lockdowns.

Ard Neachie south side
The down side is a long motor to and from the open sea

Visited 20202021 and 2024, twice.

Sand Side Bay.


A useful anchorage providing there is no swell from the north, Vodaphone and O2 signals are fine. There is quite a bit of weed about but also a lot of large patches of sand, even with a light wind on a dull day I was able to see them at high water, with some sun it would be very easy to plan the anchor into one.

Note that when approaching from the west the anchorage is largely hidden until you are directly offshore, see Pictures and Video from my visit in 2024 here.


Stromness


A good small marina, managed remotely from Kirkwall with daily visits, very friendly! Don't stray too far off or past the pontoons due to shallow water otherwise there are no significant problems. Book in advance see Orkney Marinas - Stromness Marina.

The fuel berth is tricky to get to and only open by appointment (there were plans 2020, to install an automatic pump, nothing done by 2024), I used porterage. A garage is a good walk but doable with a trolley, they also have Calor Gas. Update 2024: no CampingGaz in Stromness but I found one in Kirkwall, “Orkney Aggregates”, one minutes walk from the Kirkwall bus depot, best to ring first, they only had two 907’s when I arrived.

Facilities at the ferry terminal were mostly closed due to lock down when I was there in 2020 and 2021. Decent cheap showers and laundry (£5 wash, £3 dry - 2 required for some items) used in 2024.

Small shops including a deli and hardware store, places to eat and a couple of take always a short walk away. A good Co-Op is a bit further away. Phone signals fine, have not tried the WI-FI.

Stromness marina. A good Co-Op on the right of the photo, a
garage with fuel just behind it. The rest of the shops etc.  are
in the opposite direction.

Bay of Ireland (Stromness)


A useful anchorage to ride out strongish northerly winds when you are fed up with paying for the marina. Completely exposed to the S and SW, good holding in clean sand at sensible depths but look out for weed and pot buoys, little shelter from the wind but sea was no problem in F7 northerly and if something did go wrong there is miles of water behind. Phone signals are fine.

 
There may have been a fish farm on the west side, on the
Monday after I moved there moorings were being lifted,
it would be advisable to use a tripping line if anchoring 
close in, you never know what got left behind.



Hunda Sound (Scarpa Flow)

An excellent anchorage and a very convenient start point when heading south or when arriving from the west or south late at night, see "Navigating the Pentland Firth".

On arrival at 04:00 on a May morning.
Visited 2020 and 2021.

Anchorages, marinas and harbours:

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