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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Me: Zummerzet Boat: Plimuff
    Posts
    3,254

    Default So. West coast of Scotland

    Self and SWMBOs medium/long term plans are somewhat adrift after all this B****t kerfuffle and were looking at novel alternative options. One is to base ourselves on the west coast of Scotland at some point. For those of a Scottish disposition, what do we need to know about being up there? Thinking western Firth of Clyde or, more persuasively, Argyll and Bute. Opinions on the marinas - Craobh Haven, Ardfern, Tarbert, Rhu, Kip, Troon? Options to moor rather than berth? Any other recommendations? Cruising conditions, weather (yes, wet), wee peskies etc. I know its a big subject but opinions and local experience welcome.
    Boogeying, head down, in mindless, no-nonsense sort of way

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Wales
    Posts
    993

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    If you're prepared to look at Scotland how about Norway?
    Disclaimer: I am not an experienced sailor nor do I own a boat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    We've been in Kip for over 2 years now and can highly recommend it. Staff are professional and helpful, as are all of the fellow berth holders! All tide access, good facilities, great restaurant. Cylde in general seems sheltered compared to what we were used to in N Wales and English East Coast. If you're looking to moor rather than berth Fairlie (near Largs) might also be an option? Run by the same company I believe.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    SW Scotland
    Posts
    19,718

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    Quote Originally Posted by Saguday View Post
    Self and SWMBO’s medium/long term plans are somewhat adrift after all this B****t kerfuffle and we’re looking at novel alternative options. One is to base ourselves on the west coast of Scotland at some point. For those of a Scottish disposition, what do we need to know about being up there? Thinking western Firth of Clyde or, more persuasively, Argyll and Bute. Opinions on the marinas - Craobh Haven, Ardfern, Tarbert, Rhu, Kip, Troon? Options to moor rather than berth? Any other recommendations? Cruising conditions, weather (yes, wet), wee peskies etc. I know it’s a big subject but opinions and local experience welcome.
    If you want to come up regularly for shortish trips (maybe with one longer one) then the Clyde is probably best, as it's easier to get to. If you're thinking a a few longer trips, the extra three hours or so to get to the far west are probably well spent. I sailed my last boat from Crinan while living in Oxford.
    "Seamen are always wanting to do things the proper way; and I like to do them my way."

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Benfleet, Essex/Keswick, Cumbria
    Posts
    1,913

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    If you want the west coast of scotland, base yourself on the north side of the kintyre peninsula, the cruising grounds and permutations open up dramatically.
    The firth of clyde has a lot of adherents, but anyone who thinks it compares with the inner hebrides/outer hebrides/west and northwest coasts is blind

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Forth
    Posts
    4,761

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    Are you thinking of living on or near your boat on the West Coast of Scotland, or travelling up to it from the south of England?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    On the Celtic Fringe
    Posts
    14,405

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    Quote Originally Posted by Saguday View Post
    Self and SWMBO’s medium/long term plans are somewhat adrift after all this B****t kerfuffle and we’re looking at novel alternative options. One is to base ourselves on the west coast of Scotland at some point. For those of a Scottish disposition, what do we need to know about being up there? Thinking western Firth of Clyde or, more persuasively, Argyll and Bute. Opinions on the marinas - Craobh Haven, Ardfern, Tarbert, Rhu, Kip, Troon? Options to moor rather than berth? Any other recommendations? Cruising conditions, weather (yes, wet), wee peskies etc. I know it’s a big subject but opinions and local experience welcome.
    As I am of a "Scottish disposition" with a boat in Plymouth some thoughts.

    Scotland is just a tad colder and a bit wetter than Plymouth. Transport to Glasgow/Edinburgh is easy at the moment via EasyJet and FlyBe, rail is far more expensive. As a child the trains north of Glasgow were far more frequent than today. If you want to keep the boat north of the "central belt" then a car will become a necessity; the drag up the M5/M6/M74 is a pain.

    The sailing is some of the best in the know universe, but you can't pop over to France for a decent "La Baguette Tradition" none of the white flour rubbish they sell here. However, bridies are the same as pasties (I think far superior, but that depends on the baker).

    You should find that the dreaded midge [https://www.smidgeup.com/midges/midge-season/] don't fly over salt water.

    Finally, lots and lots of anchor practice.
    Last edited by Sandy; 11-10-19 at 13:55.
    Cynical Scottish very nearly retired engineer who sails a Gib'Sea 96.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    N of Ardnamurchan, winter Loch Melfort
    Posts
    946

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    As others have posted, a lot depends on what you want to do, and where in the UK you are travelling from.

    The Clyde area is reasonably accessible (by both car and public transport); anything north becomes progressively more difficult and tortuous, especially by public transport.

    I really cannot speak for the Clyde as cruising area as I have not been based there (except for the odd winter at Ardrosssan); but if you are based there and wish to go further, you are looking at some way of getting around the Mull of Kintyre, and if you have been following here you will know that can be a challenge; especially if the future of the Crinan Canal is in doubt.

    West Argyll (S of Oban) - Allow about 2 1/2 hrs driving from the Kessock Bridge (from the M8, west of Glasgow). Ardfern, Craobh Haven, and smaller places (such as Crinan and Kilmelford) are all good marinas/moorings, but be aware that if you want to go north to Mull (and you will) there is a very significant tidal gate at the Sound of Luing, along with another troublesome spot at Dorus Mor.

    N of Luing you are in the Oban area, with Kerrera and Dunstaffange, with smaller places up Loch Linnhe. IMHO Oban is a bit of a dump but it has the advantage of reasonable public transport links (3hrs from Glasgow by both train and coach, about the same as car) and a big Tescos. You are also in a much better position for cruising the Mull area and points further north. A mooring at Tobermory on Mull may be an option if you don't mind the inconvenience of the ferry; it could be worth asking the harbour office (the pontoons are exclusively for visitors).

    North of Mull it becomes more challenging (but, many would say more rewarding). Don't be fooled by places stating that they have 'marinas'; marinas in the commonly accepted sense they ain't; they are pontoons with varying degrees of protection and facilities. Transport becomes more difficult; roads not so good and convoluted as they have to follow the mountain passes and go round the lochs. Public transport limited to a couple of buses a day. Immediately north of Ardnurmurchan there is Arisaig (moorings), and Mallaig 'marina', and I know there is a waiting list for both.

    North of Mallaig options become even more limited. There may be a mooring at Kyleakin/Kyle of Lochalsh; Plockton has only short term visitors' mooring. Public moorings at Ullapool and pontoons at Lochinver, or even Kinlochbervie (for the brave). Inverness is the hub for transport - scale this into your travelling time. The (relatively) good news is that there are quite a number of places where you can easily leave a boat on a mooring for 2-3 weeks whilst you do something else, and at moderate cost.

    The further north you go, the more you will notice the difference to sailing in the south (I was brought up sailing on the Hamble). Don't expect cosy pubs, well stocked food stores, being able to get water easily and plug into electricity. From next year white diesel may be a problem. As the Clyde Cruising Club SDs' explain "...yachtsmen used to cruising in better populated areas will find that a certain amount of per-planning and resourcefulness will be needed".

    No doubt others from the area will be posting their own thoughts.

    And, as an afterthought 0- the midges are not a problem away from the shore.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Me: Zummerzet Boat: Plimuff
    Posts
    3,254

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    Quote Originally Posted by Luminescent View Post
    If you're prepared to look at Scotland how about Norway?
    Bit too big a jump, although we’ve considered leaving for Portugal
    Boogeying, head down, in mindless, no-nonsense sort of way

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Me: Zummerzet Boat: Plimuff
    Posts
    3,254

    Default Re: So. West coast of Scotland

    Quote Originally Posted by Dukester52 View Post
    We've been in Kip for over 2 years now and can highly recommend it. Staff are professional and helpful, as are all of the fellow berth holders! All tide access, good facilities, great restaurant. Cylde in general seems sheltered compared to what we were used to in N Wales and English East Coast. If you're looking to moor rather than berth Fairlie (near Largs) might also be an option? Run by the same company I believe.
    Thanks, that’s useful. I believe Kip and Craobh Haven are connected and you can have reciprocal berthing - is that still true?
    Boogeying, head down, in mindless, no-nonsense sort of way

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