Pentland Firth

Introduction

Times of high water

Gills Bay: High water is 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Wick

Skirza Pier: High water is 1 hours before high water at Wick

Tidal streams

South west of Dunnet Head: The east north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The west south-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The east north-east going stream reaches a speed of 0.9 knots at springs. The west south-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.6 knots at springs.

Dunnet Head: The east going stream begins at 2 hours and 40 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The west going stream begins at 3 hours and 20 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The flow reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs.

East of Dunnet Head: An eddy here flows north. Either stay very close to shore or cut corner from Dunnet Head

Halfway between St John's Point and Hoy : The east going stream begins at 4 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The east going stream reaches a speed of 4.6 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 5.5 knots at springs.

St John's Point: The east going stream begins at 5 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The east going stream reaches a speed of 7 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 5.5 knots at springs. Best to travel on east going tide, in last hour. Submerged rocks and breaking seas even in fine weather. Good landing and rest point just to south.

Mell Head: Rough water.

Inner Sound: The east going stream begins at 4 hours and 35 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 50 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The flow reaches a speed of 5 knots at springs.

The Swilkie tide race: Aim for slack water. Tides pick up very quickly. Very dangerous if Westerly wind and west going tide.

Swilkie Point, Stroma and Tails of Tarf, Swona: The east going stream begins at 5 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 20 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The flow reaches a speed of 9 knots at springs.

South of Swona: The south-east going stream begins at 5 hours before high water at Dover. The north-west going stream begins at 1 hours after high water at Dover. The flow reaches a speed of 9 knots at springs.

Inner Sound: The east going stream begins at 5 hours before high water at Dover. The west going stream begins at 1 hours after high water at Dover. The flow reaches a speed of 4 knots at springs.

East of Tree Geo: The tidal stream here flows south-west. West flowing tide splits to go north and south. Aim for north of Tree Geo to avoid being carried south.

Inner sound: Rough water on east going stream

North Head, Swona: The east going stream begins at 4 hours and 25 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The flow reaches a speed of 6 knots at springs.

Eddy east of Duncansby head: An eddy here flows east.

Ness Head: The north going stream begins at 55 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The south going stream begins at 5 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The flow reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs.

Duncansby Head: Smoother water found away from the cliffs.

Duncansby Head: The south-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The north-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The flow reaches a speed of 8 knots at springs. Rates can be greater than this between The Knee and the mainland

Pentland Skerries: The south-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Aberdeen. The north-west going stream begins at 2 hours and 20 minutes before high water at Aberdeen. The flow reaches a speed of 12 knots at springs.

Notes

Access/Egress

Dwarwick Pier: (ND 207 712) g

Brough: (ND 221 741) g Limited parking

Scarfskerry: (ND 259 746) g Limited parking

Wester Haven (Harrow): (ND 283 743) g Very limited parking, if any.

Gills Bay: (ND 328 730) g Landing on east of harbour (outside), rocky beach

Keiss beach: (ND 344 601) g

Harbour on south coast of Stroma: (ND 352 763) g

Keiss Pier: (ND 351 609) g

Geo of Nethertown, Stroma: (ND 358 785) g

Nybster: (ND 371 635) g Lots of parking, maybe a long walk.

Freswick Bay: (ND 378 676) g Very little parking

John O'Groats: (ND 379 735) g Plenty parking

Skirza Pier: (ND 387 680) g Limited parking next to house.

The Haven, Swona: (ND 393 851) g

Scartan Bay, Muckle Skerry: (ND 469 782) g Not always an easy landing- rock slab.

Suggested trips

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