The west coast of Scotland is potentially the best sailing area in the world, be it racing, cruising or just mucking about on the water. The infinite variety of islands, lochs, open sea, rivers and canals make for a diverse environment in which to practice the art of sailing and boating. Written by Rob Teago.
Each of our islands and lochs has its own unique history, geology, landscape and access, and all are there to be enjoyed by the would be voyager. There are a number of yacht charter companies up and down the west coast offering boats for hire, some with a skipper for the inexperienced. The proliferation of marinas and repair yards is an indication of the increase in popularity of the sport.
Our own loch, Loch Carron, is one of a large number of sea lochs of approximately five miles length and almost one mile wide. We like to think it is one of the most beautiful! The main part of the loch is deep water with little obstruction but the landward end shallows from just beyond the village. The fairly narrow twisting entrance can experience quite strong tides and local tide tables should be consulted by visiting boats. There are two islands situated off the village of Lochcarron and visitors are encouraged to anchor just opposite the Lochcarron Hotel adjacent to a new slipway (GR 912 402). All shore facilities including shops, hotel, guest house, restaurants, fuel and water, are within walking distance. There are no visitor moorings. The nearby harbour of Slumbay (GR 895 387) affords good shelter to local boats. Anchorages in both Loch Carron and Loch Kishorn are listed on Admiralty Chart no. 2528.
Sailing in Loch Carron has been more accessible, safe and enjoyable since the Lochcarron Sailing Club was set up in December 1988. The club has grown hugely in stature and popularity over the years to become an RYA (Royal Yachting Association) training establishment with a very active programme of racing instruction, race days, fun days, try a boat day, and an annual regatta. A dedicated group of enthusiasts and volunteers man the safety boats and run the club on strict safety lines. A new clubhouse has enhanced the appeal for visitors and members alike. New and old sailors are encouraged to join the club and become involved in the activities. Although the training is geared towards dinghies, a lot of which the club own, some of the members own and sail larger boats and yachts. A number of these are moored in the shelter of Slumbay Harbour and yacht races are held throughout the spring, summer and autumn months. This affords a colourful spectacle from the village and crew are sometimes taken from visitors wanting to experience a yacht race at close quarters.
There you have it, all the eggs in one basket; wonderful area, beautiful surroundings and facilities to match. Please don’t tell too many folk, we want it to remain that way.
The information contained on this page is also available in the Lochcarron Out and About guide available locally in Lochcarron or by post.