Departing Campbeltown Loch
Ideally, depart the Campbeltown Marina pontoons two hours before High Water, Campbeltown. If the wind is a light easterly, resist the temptation to spend time tacking gently out of the Loch. Use your engine to round Davaar Island unless you are running well ahead of time.
Although you will have the last of the flood against you for an hour or so, this will pay dividends later. The Arranman Barrels buoy will appear off the port bow when it is first sighted but it is important to pass it on the starboard hand.
The ebb in Sanda Sound starts early and runs strongly and if you join it then, you have the optimum benefit of the tidal stream for this passage. Keep south of the line joining the Arranman Barrels and McCosh Rock buoys if you are not to be next to be towed off the rocks by Campbeltown Lifeboat! By the time you reach Deas Point and round the headland to the Mull lighthouse, the new north (or west if heading for Rathlin or Ballycastle) going stream will be running at a great rate of knots. The seas off Deas Point and the Lighthouse may be confused for a time and you should be prepared for this but your speed over the ground will take you soon to more normal water.
If you have planned your passage as suggested, you will have the benefit of the north going stream (though at nothing like the same rate when beyond Machrihanish Bay) right to Gigha or even the MacCormaigs, but the tide does turn earlier in the Sound of Jura – hence the exhortation to set off from Campbeltown at the earliest moment. If returning to Campbeltown, aim to arrive at Mull of Kintyre Light at Low Water Dover/Greenock (approx High Water Oban) at the earliest. If too early, hold close to the shore for a counter eddy.
If departing Campbeltown for Bangor or Glenarm, leave Campbeltown at least two hours before Low Water and, on clearing Sanda, set course for destination. Bon Voyage.
The above information has been written by a member of Campbeltown Sailing Club, who has sailed these waters for many years. You are reminded that the advice given is no more than that. Skippers must always be responsible for their own passage planning.