West Highland Anchorages and Moorings Association
Last updated 16/08/2017
Loch Creran Anchoring Restrictions - a reminder
Even though the sign at the entrance to Loch Creran has been removed, anchoring is still restricted to four areas: Glaceriska, Creagan, Head of the Loch and South Shian.
More information is available at Loch Creran Anchorages
Oban Harbour new Code of Practice
The Oban Bay Management Group has revised the Code Of Practice for users of Oban Bay. From 31 March 2017, amongst other guidance, small yachts (less than 20m LOA) in the North Channel are asked to use their auxiliary engines and to remain outside of the large vessel channel in accordance with IRPCS Rule 9 - Narrow Channels. A new guide called Be Safe - Be Seen has also been developed. Everyone is asked to use the Guide and Code to help the area remain safe and enjoyable for all. For details visit Oban Harbour Navigation.
Doirlinn Channel, Tobermory
The two tubular steel perches marking the Doirlinn Channel into Tobermory have been replaced.
Reports of Sea Squirt, a nasty invasive, non native, species, in Loch Creran have now been confirmed.
SNH and others, especially fish farmers, are very concerned and urge mariners in Loch Creran to keep a keen look out for this slimy invader. This note from Marine Scotland will give a flavour of the threat and WHAM urges mariners to report any suspicious organism to SNH as soon as possible.
Sound of Ulva
A pontoon has been installed on the Mull shore of the Sound of Ulva-thanks to the Coastal Communities Fund. It has water and fuel.Note it is not on the Ulva side where the excellent Boathouse Cafe is. If you want to avail yourself of the cafe you will still need your dinghy. Note the cafe closes at 5pm.
Eight visitor moorings have now been installed at Lochaline, in addition to the pontoons. These VM's do not impede access to the anchorages at the head of the loch.
Aids to Navigation
The NLB plan to mark Cleit Rock with a south cardinal mark has been postponed to 2017.
As a result of the traffic survey of Oban Bay the Ferry Rocks have been remarked to remove any ambiguity about the channels. An additional buoy has been provided at Sg an Fheuran to the south of Ferry Rocks.
In the Hebrides, Red Rocks off Leverburgh are now marked by a sectored light in the existing (modified) tower. Grocis Sg in the Sound of Harris has been re-marked. Both Sg Goblach and Sg Thraid in the Inner Hebrides now have lit beacons.
Branra Rock beacon is now lit while the Small Isles beacon at Craighouse has been refurbished and lit.
This very big loch continues to attract applications for aquaculture on a grand scale. Western Isles Council have taken cognisance of our comments last year and afforded us both a very courteous and constructive reply and an open invitation to visit and have local discussions. We hope to be able to do that in 2017.
The facilities at Gigha are now virtually complete. The pontoon has 2.7m LWS at the end so it is useable for most vessels. There is fresh water at the end of the walkway. Showers at the boathouse and at the hotel have been refurbished. Gas and ‘white’ diesel are available at the shop and 'white' diesel plus improved grocery stock.
You can pay for the moorings by phone, at the Boathouse or at the hotel. If you pay at the hotel then there is a reduction of 10% for a meal taken there.
Dunstaffnage Marina has developed its pontoons and the buoyage and channels in the bay have altered. This chartlet and description show the details.
Portree harbour visitor moorings
Concern has been expressed by some visitors about the visitor moorings in the harbour. Particular queries were raised regarding the spacing between moorings and whether they had been dive checked in recent times.
These moorings are the property of Portree Moorings Association who are very conscious of the increasing size of visitors’ craft. So steps are in hand to increase the spacing between some of the moorings and to subject them all to diver inspection and improvement where necessary. This will take a little time to effect but it is anticipated that the work will be complete by the time summer visitors arrive. The group of eight moorings adjacent to the north shore of Portree Bay offer adequate swinging room for larger vessels, although they are further from the pier and pontoon.
Six new visitor moorings have been laid in Dunvegan Bay where the old HIDB (Hippo) buoys used to be. These are attached to a brand new ground chain. Access to the shore is still by the jetty close to the hotel though negotiations are taking place about pontoon access.
There was a rumour that serpulid reefs had been discovered in the loch and that anchoring would be banned by SNH throughout the loch. There may well be serpulids in the loch but they are not in the anchorage area, so if you visit this tricky anchorage, it is important to use only the anchorage area described in the Sailing Directions.
Floating Lines especially in the Western Isles
Floating lines are universally agreed to be a menace, a genuine hazard which can, and should, be made non existent. On the west side of the Hebrides it is a particularly difficult problem and reports from the Monachs suggest it is very, very difficult to avoid them there. In poor weather and /or heavy swell, even with a keen lookout, avoiding them becomes extraordinarily difficult. Added to that is the fact that there are black holes in VHF coverage in this area so that, if entanglement occurs, help may not be accessible. WHAM has raised this issue with the Harbourmaster, Western Isles and the Chief Officer, Stornoway Coastguard. Both were very constructive in their responses. The HM has raised the problem with the Secretary of the Western Isles Fishermens Association who, in turn, has circulated all his members reminding them of their obligations. SCG have put the issue on the agenda of the next Safety Committee. It is widely believed that the major offenders are not locals but incomers and the practices on the inside of the Hebrides and in the Minch, while not perfect, are certainly much better. How the incomers are to be dealt with or educated is not clear.