Sailing Along the Road to the Isles
Once round Ardnamurchan, the sound of Sleat offers two safe havens for yachts exploring the Hebrides or on a passage to the North West.
Arisaig in Loch Nan Ceall
Arisaig offers shelter in all conditions. The commonly used sailing directions which describe the entrance to Arisaig as “challenging” are now out of date.
The entrance to Arisaig is marked by a 3 metre square white mark visible from many miles away. The channel into Loch Nan Ceall is clearly marked with port and starboard perches. Access for shallow draft yachts is at all states of the tide but for those with deeper draft it is advisable to wait for 2 hours either side of low water at springs.
Arisaig Marine (Tel: 01687 450224 or VHF16 or 80) provides permanent and visitor moorings, with a pontoon for short stay changeovers or taking on water. Diesel is available at the stone pier or by arrangement with Arisaig Marine. It has shower and toilet facilities and a laundrette.
Boat lift, and storage ashore for 70 boats, as well as marine engineering and boat repairs, are available.
Arisaig village has a Spar shop, Post Office, restaurants and 2 hotels within easy reach. The Mallaig Medical practice has a surgery in Arisaig. There are train and bus services to Mallaig and Fort William.
Mallaig Harbour Yacht Pontoons and swinging moorings
Mallaig Harbour Authority (VHF 16, 9) has a new marina with 50 pontoon berths and 14 swinging moorings available to visiting yachts; there is also a pick up and drop off point. Harbour Master (Tel: 01687 462154).
Entry into Mallaig Harbour is straightforward, and the generous spacing of the pontoons allows easy access.
Mallaig harbour is a ferry port, and port entry control lights should be followed. All vessels will listen on Channel 16 entering harbour, working channel 9. Three vertical red lights will be exhibited whilst ferry is entering or leaving harbour. All other ship traffic must not proceed except with permission of the Harbour Master. Mariners are reminded that the main channel for entry and exit is the North channel. South channel now closed.
The pontoon berths have water and electricity, and fuel is available by arrangement with Johnston Brothers (Tel:01687 462215)
The harbour has a busy commercial boatyard with engineering and repair facilities. There is also a smaller boatyard whose main expertise is in the build and repair of wooden boats. Between them they can provide all services.
Mallaig village has a Visitor Information Centre, restaurants, 3 hotels, Post Office, Banks, a Pharmacy, and a Medical practice. It is convenient for provisioning with butcher, fishmongers, and Spar and Coop for supplies. Mallaig boasts good road, rail and bus connections.