Sailing in Scotland

Sailing around Scotland and the Scottish Isles

SCOTLAND offers several marinas as well as pontoon amenities that have improved proportionally as Sailing in Scotland becomes a primary destination for the yachting fraternity. In fact Its pretty safe to say that Sailing in Scotland is a now a primary visitor destination for holidaymaker who want a more personal or intimate experience of Scotland.

It's currently feasible to completely sail round Scotland using only using marinas or pontoons for overnighting. The most lengthy (though possibly some of the the best scenery) being the approximately 70 nautical miles between Kinlochbervie and Orkney.

These types of contemporary as well as superbly outfitted amenities look after just about all mariner preferences as well as vessel kinds, and have opened the Scottish Highlands and Islands coastline to any or at least most levels of competency. A growing quantity of south of the border (English) mariners are migrating north in order to berth their own motorboats and yachts in Scotland – inexpensive plane tickets coupled with less expensive berthing means Scotland is a cost effective but stylish choice for individuals who enjoy cruising in both easy and challenging seas.

EAST COAST SAILING has never been as popular as the west, however in recent years things have improved to the extent you can now cruise down through some 8 marinas and a plethora of pontoon style facilities at the many little (and some not so little) fishing harbours. Don't forget to pick up some Smokies at Arbroath - its one of Scotland's delicacies, relatively unknown to outsiders.

GLASGOW AND THE FIRTH OF CLYDE SAILING A great city supports a plethora of harbours, marinas, pontoons and word class boatyards, making this and ideal area for repairs etc. Glasgow is easily accessible as the further reaches of the Firth of Clyde are well serviced with buses and trains. The shopping is probably the best outside of London with big brands as well as Scottish specialist shops. Doon the waater at Dunoon and the Kyles of Bute and Arran imbue all seafarers with a sense of calm with glorious Scottish mountains on all sides at some points of the journey. Simply a must see!

ISLE OF SKYE SAILING offers possibly the best Sailing in Scotland as the scenery and conditions are ever changing. The facilities vary from excellent to just friendly and basic; the emphasis being on friendly as can be experienced if you venture into Loch Nevis and stop at the Inn at Inverie; where you WILL have a great time and good fresh seafood.

SAILING IN SKYE - 7 days of cruising around the Isle of Skye

Rhum CastleSKYE DAY 1 Loch Nevis about 1.5 hours away from Armadale. If you are not bothered about going ashore, anchor at Glaschoile or at Tarbet Bay. Or moor at Inverie where the attractions of going ashore to visit the Old Forge the most remote pub on mainland Britain can be very tempting.

DAY 2 Canna, Rum for lunch. Both Canna and Rum have scenic attractions although they are completely different. Canna now has 10 visitors moorings and has a cafe serving delightful evening meals (check in advance that it is open before going). There is still space to anchor if necessary. More information about Canna can be found here. Rum sports a small shop and Kinloch Castle, which is well worth touring as it is a complete step back into a different time warp. Tours of the castle coincide with the ferry times which is usually about 14.00 but it might be as well to phone in advance to avoid disappointment - the telephone number can be found in the pilot book. Alternatively, you could plan to go via Loch Scavaig for lunch and Soay for the night if the tide is right.

DAY 3 South Uist - Wizards Pool (Loch Skipport), one of the Wests’ classic anchorages where you can enjoy perfect solitude after a wonderful day's sailing. (In High Season there may be a couple of other yachts there as well). If you feel in need of some more civilisation you could visit the new pontoons at Lochmaddy or the new 52 berth marina at Lochboisdale.

DAY 4 Rodel, Harris - catching the tide into the pool at Rodel is essential. Ashore St Clements Church is well worth a visit. At the time of writing - Dec 2017 - the hotel is closed and up for sale so you should plan on eating on board while there..

DAY 5 Back across the Minch heading for Rona. On a good day stopping at the Shiants for lunch where it is possible to sit among the puffins in season is an unmissable option. The keen birdwatcher will find the Shiants a very attractive destination but the swell will soon convince you that it is not an overnight anchorage. Most people then head for Acairseid Mhor on Rona, which is a classic well-sheltered anchorage. Ashore there is pleasant walking to the top of the hill, church cave or the old village. Showers are available at the Caretakers House.The caretaker offers a few local products for sale.
It is also possible to anchor in Loch a’Brhaige on Rona or Eilean Fladday on Raasay which are both delightful alternatives.

DAY 6 Totaig, Loch Duich; a passage through the Sound of Rona will take you to the Crowlins which are also an attractive lunchtime stop if the wind is right. The Crowlins offer you an opportunity to have seals gather around your boat and watch you eat your lunch. Anchoring at Totaig lets you watch the crowds visit Eilean Donan castle from a safe distance or you may prefer to go and have a closer look if the weather is appropriate. A walk ashore to the right at Totaig here will take you to a pictish broch.

DAY 7 Coming back through Kyle Rhea on the tide possibly anchoring at Sandaig Bay - where Gavin Maxwell wrote "Ring of Bright Water" for a lunchtime swim, Loch Hourn beckons. Depending on the weather and time you may wish to sail up the loch to come back to anchor at Sandaig for the night. Alternatively, there are several anchorages in Loch Hourn itself. Allow 1.5 hours to get back to Armadale from Loch Hourn entrance. Alternatively you could splash out for the last night of your holidays and have dinner at one of the wonderful selection Sleat eating establishments including; the Ardvasar Hotel. Doune Marine, Duisdale House Hotel, Eilean Iarmain, Kinloch Lodge or The Old Forge not forgetting several good restaurants in Mallaig!

ARGYLL, ISLAY & WEST COAST SAILING is one of the the most ancient parts of Scotland. There are five major marinas on the mainland as well as many pontoon facilities and ad hoc sheltered anchorages. This is an area where sailing in Scotland has been recognised as an expanding business and so plans are afoot for further anchorages and moorings with services. After Ardnamurchan (Northwards) there are only scattered but clearly marked and well-known pontoon facilities.

ISLAY has its own charm to sailors and their families. Clear water, remote and perfect sandy beaches, some of the best anywhere in the world off-shore and a total of 8 distilleries on-shore - most with moorings nearby as the many coves and bays around Islay offer safe anchorages if tranquility is what you prefer.

ORKNEY SAILING Orkney has three marinas and unique sailing - just make sure your charts are good and you know what you are doing. There is a great deal of heritage just on-shore as Orkney has been settled by seafarers for millennia: Stone age, vikings, early Christians, Crusaders up to relatively modern times when the islands were under attack in the the second world war.

SHETLAND SAILING provides a safe haven from visitors from Norway, Denmark and Sweden as well as Scotland and England! There are marinas popping up everywhere doo keens. There are currently 4 established marinas, with a plethora (just under 20 I think) of smaller marina/pontoon facilities. Shetlanders have a great love of the sea and a respect for EVERY mariner - you will be an instant friend to all Shetland seafarers. Note that Shetland folk have different names for boat parts, sea birds, plants and animals - if you are not sure what they are talking about - just ask!