Sound of Sleat and Loch Alsh

Introduction

Times of high water

Loch Nevis: High water is 40 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Armadale: High water is 40 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Isle Ornsay: High water is 50 minutes before high water at Ullapool

East of Loch Alsh, Loch Duich, Loch Long: High water is 25 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Kyle Akin: High water is 30 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Loch Hourn: High water is 1 hours and 10 minutes before high water at Ullapool

Mallaig*: High water is 30 minutes after high water at Oban

Tidal streams

Sound of Sleat, South of Sandaig Isles: The north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 35 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south-west going stream begins at 25 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Loch Nevis Entrance: South of Rubha Raonuill: The east going stream begins at 5 hours and 15 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 5 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs. A weak stream sets around Inverie Bay and streams are imperceptible elsewhere except at the narrows.

Narrows of Loch Nevis, Kylesknoydart: The tide flows east north-east and west south-west. The flow reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. Above the narrows, there are no perceptible streams.

Loch Hourn: The east going stream begins at 6 hours before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 10 minutes before high water at Ullapool. Streams are weak away from the narrows.

Narrows of Loch Hourn: The east going stream begins at 6 hours before high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 10 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs. Streams are weak elsewhere in the Loch. The narrows are short, and it is possible to eddy hop against the stream if needed.

Eddy at Narrows of Loch Hourn: An eddy forms on the south side of the loch during the in-going stream.

Kyle Rhea: The north north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 45 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 15 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The north north-east going stream reaches a speed of 7 knots at springs. The south south-west going stream reaches a speed of 8 knots at springs. Streams of up to 12 knots have been reported at some points, with the strongest streams at the southern end of the narrows. Serious overfalls can form at the southern end when the tide flows against a strong south westerly wind. Large eddies form along both shores. A tidal stream diagram is shown on chart 2540. During the north-going streams, eddies form on the west side between the light and the ferry slip and between the port south of the ferry slip and the river entrance to the south. On the east side, an eddy runs from Sgeir nan Caorach to Sgeir nan Laogh. Eddies form further north during the first part of the north-going stream, but wash out, especially on the north side during the latter half of the stream. On the south-going stream, and eddy forms on the west side of the Kyle between the point south of the ferry slip and the light and on the east side around 600m either side of Eilean Liath.

Eddy in Glenelg Bay: When the tide is running south in Kyle Rhea, an eddy forms in the bay.

Kyle Akin: The tidal streams at Kyle Akin vary significantly between neaps and springs and are affected by air pressure, wind and precipitation. The 1958 Admiralty Pilot presents a wonderful and unique contour plot that attempts to summarise this variation, and subsequent versions contained a lengthy table. With the building of the bridge, tidal information appeared on the chart which shows some irregularities but does not capture the differences between neaps and springs. The following is a 'best guess', drawing on several sources, all times relative to high water at Ullapool: The east-going tide begins at -3:20 (or -4:05?) at Springs, -0:25 at Neaps. The west-going tide begins at +4:20 (or +3:50?) at Springs, +5:40 at Neaps. For times between this, interpolate the time of the west-going stream starting. However, for the east-going stream start, assume times are as springs until a tidal factor of 90%, and as neaps for less than this - i.e. the east-going stream begins as at neaps until very close to springs. The westerly flow is stronger, with speeds at springs of 2-3 knots. The easterly flow is weaker at 1.5-2.3 knots. At Springs, the channel under the smaller bridge to the north of the main Skye bridge flows north west from +3:45 to -3:45. Flow is then weak and variable until -1:15 when it turns south east. Flows in this channel likely do not exceed 1.5 knots.

Off the Sandaig Islands: The tide flows north north-east and south south-west. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs.

Loch Duich and eastern part of Loch Alsh: The east going stream begins at 6 hours after high water at Ullapool. The west going stream begins at 20 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs.

Loch Long: The north north-east going stream begins at 6 hours after high water at Ullapool. The south south-west going stream begins at 20 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The stream runs strongly under the bridge at Dornie but is weak elsewhere.

Sound of Sleat, North of Sandaig Islands: The north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 35 minutes after high water at Ullapool. The south-west going stream begins at 25 minutes before high water at Ullapool. The flow reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs.

Notes

Access/Egress

Kyle of Lochalsh: (NG 761 272) g Slipway, with parking nearby.

Kyleakin: (NG 752 264) g Car park by gravel beach.

Armadale: (NG 638 038) g Access to beach by the pottery. Parking further up the road by the pier. Watch out for the ferry!

Isleornsay: (NG 703 125) g Limited parking near the pier.

Glenelg: (NG 810 192) g Roadside parking near war memorial and on the roadside to the west near the pier.

Kylerhea west side: (NG 789 212) g Small parking area just up the hill from the ferry pier. Keep out of the way of the ferry operations.

Eilean Donan: (NG 883 257) g Large car park near the foreshore. The southern end of the parking areas may be the best place to launch from.

Ardelve point: (NG 879 263) g Parking by slipway.

Reraig: (NG 814 271) g Park at picnic area off main road, next to the shoreline.

Letterfearn: (NG 882 243) g The road along the south side of Loch Duich follows the shoreline, but there are few places where a car can be left. There may be some options to the north of Letterfearn.

Sheil Bridge: (NG 937 196) g Limited parking near slipway.

Kylerhea east: (NG 794 213) g Possible to drop boats near the ferry pier, keeping out of the way of the ferry operations. Car park 200m up the road.

Ardearg Cemetery: (NG 909 208) g Limited parking at picnic spot.

Arnisdale*: (NG 843 105) g The road follows the shoreline for some distance, and there are a range of options for roadside parking in laybys and on verges.

Loch Beag*: (NG 946 069) g Jetty, dries at low water. Parking 500m to the east.

Mallaig*: (NM 677 969) g Slipway at back of harbour, likely slippery with seaweed at low water. Parking nearby all along the harbour front, although this may well become busy - best to arrive early. Large public car park 300 m to the west by the A road.

Suggested trips

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