South of Oban

Introduction

Times of high water

Seil Sound*: High water is 25 minutes before high water at Oban

Garvellachs*: High water is 10 minutes before high water at Oban

Loch Beag*: High water is 1 hours before high water at Oban

Loch Feochan*: High water is at high water at Oban

Oban*: Oban is a standard port

Tidal streams

Sound of Luing*: The north-going stream in the Sound of Luing begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban at springs, 5 hours and 15 minutes at neaps. The south-going stream begins one hour and 45 minutes before high water Oban at springs, 1 hour before at neaps.

The rate of flow is around 2.5 knots at the southern entrance to the sound, east of Scarba. Rates increase progressively from south to north.

Dorus Mor*: The north or west-going stream begins 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water Oban at springs and 5 hours and 15 minutes after high water Oban at neaps. The south or east-going stream begins 1 hour 45 minutes before high water Oban at springs, 1 hour before high water Oban at neaps. The flows attain 8 knots at springs, 6 knots at neaps. The duration of slack water is 15 minutes at springs, 1 hour at neaps.

To the west of Dorus Mor, the west-going stream splits, heading both south and east of Coiresa and Reisa Mhic Phadean, forming a race to the east of Reisa Mhic Phadean. This stream causes turbulence throughout the area between Garb Reisa, Reisa an T-Sruith and Reisa Mhic Phaidean.

The east-going stream is strongest near Garbh Reisa.

Eddies east of Craignish Point*: Eddies form along the shoreline to the north of Dorus Mor during flows in both directions. The area where the east-going eddy flow meets the west-going stream can be turbulent.

North of Craignish Point*: An eddy flows south here when Dorus Mor is flowing west. This eddy turns along the shore to the east of Craignish point.

When Dorus Mor is flowing east, the tide flows swiftly south along this shoreline, forming overfalls at Craignish Point.

Eddy north shore of the Corryvreckan*: There is a strong eddy on the north shore of the Corryvreckan.

Gulf of Corryvreckan*: The Gulf is a notorious stretch of water, with flows reaching 8.5 knots at spring and 6.5 knots at neaps. The west-going stream begins 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water Oban at springs, 5 hours and 15 minutes after at neaps. The east-going stream begins 1 hour and 45 minutes before high water at Oban at springs, and 1 hours before at neaps.

The Gulf's flows are thus in the same direction as those in Dorus Mor, and the stream flows across the sound of Jura between these two channels.

The west-going stream meets an shelf south of Scarba (marked as 'Whirlpool' on OS maps, 29m sounding on charts) and speeds up forming a major overall, even in calm weather. The water is smooth during the first 30 minutes of the flow, with turbulence at this point beginning 1 hour after the tide turns, and remaining until slack water. When the west-going stream meets a swell from the west, dangerous conditions can form across the Gulf and for miles to the west.

The east-going stream generally forms less serious conditions, although there can still be turbulence around the whirlpool area and to the east of it.

Grey Dogs*: The channel marked 'Bealach a Chion Ghlais' is known as the 'Grey Dogs' or 'Little Correyvreckan'. The flow through this narrow channel can resemble a whitewater river, reaching 8.5 knots at springs, 6.5 knots at neaps.

The west-going flow begins 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban at spring, 5 hours and 15 minutes at neaps. The east-going flow begins 1 hour and 45 minutes before high water at Oban at springs, 1 hour before at neaps. The water is slack for around 15 minutes at springs, an hour at neaps. However, the flow here is difficult to forecast with precision, and may turn an hour either side of these times.

The channel has strong eddies and standing waves. A fine wave for surfing can form at the west end of the channel in some conditions.

Loch Craignish*: Streams generally less than one knot.

Shuna Sound*: The north going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban. The south going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Oban. The north going stream reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs.

South of Torsa Beag*: [HW] The tide flows through this drying channel for at least 2 hours either side of local high water. High water here is 20 minutes before high water at Oban.

Cuan Sound*: The west-going stream begins 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water Oban at springs, 5 hours and 15 minutes at neaps. The east-going stream begins 1 hour and 45 minutes before Oban at springs, 1 hour at neaps. The flow reaches 7 knots at springs, 5 knots at neaps. The stream reaches its greatest speed soon after turning. The sound has strong eddies both sides, and in the vicinity of Cliet Rock (An Cleiteadth) - an islet just south of Rubha Bread.

Middle of the Firth of Lorn*: The north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban. The south-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs.

South east of the Garvellachs*: The north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban. The south-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 3 knots at springs.

Eddy south east of the Garvellachs*: An eddy here flows south-west starting 1 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban.

Between Fladda and Easdale*: The north going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban. The south going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs.

Around Belnahua*: The tide flows north and south. The flow reaches a speed of 5 knots at springs.

Firth of Lorn west of south end of Kerrera*: The north north-east going stream begins at 6 hours before high water at Oban. The south south-west going stream begins at 15 minutes after high water at Oban. The north north-east going stream reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs. The south south-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.9 knots at springs.

Between Frank Lockwood's Island and the Garvellachs*: The north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Oban. The south-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Sound of Kerrera*: The north-east going stream begins at 5 hours after high water at Oban. The south-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs.

North entrance to Oban Bay*: The south going stream begins at 1 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Oban. The north going stream begins at 4 hours and 55 minutes after high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs.

Middle of Firth of Lorn, west of north entrance to Oban Bay*: The north north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Oban. The south south-west going stream begins at 45 minutes after high water at Oban. The north north-east going stream reaches a speed of 0.4 knots at springs. The south south-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.3 knots at springs.

East of Fladda*: The tide flows north and south. The north going stream reaches a speed of 7 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 7.5 knots at springs.

South of Dubh Sgeir*: Streams here flow north-east on the north-going tide, south on the south-going tide. Rates attain 5 knots.

North of Rubha Fiola*: On the north-going tide, a race forms north of Rubha Fiola, extending to the west of Ormsa and Belnahua

North of Port an Droighinn*: Along the eastern shore at the very north-east tip of Jura, the flow is always northerly, as the flow runs into the Corryvreckan on the west-going tide and forms and eddy on the east-going tide.

Around Eilean Mor*: An eddy forms to the south and west of Eilean Mor when the flow is west-going through the Correyvreckan.

When there is an east-going flow through the Correyvreckan, the tide flows around both sides of Eilean Mor into the Gulf. Huge overfalls can develop off the northwestern corner of Eilean Mor.

Eilean Beag*: The east-going flow runs both sides of Eilean Beag. An eddy forms behind the island.

Clachan Sound*: The north going stream begins at 5 hours and 55 minutes after high water at Oban. The south going stream begins at 25 minutes before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 5 knots at springs. The sound is reported to dry 2.4 m (charted as drying 1.5 m), with MHWS 4.0m, MTL 2.4m, MLWS 0.7m - such that it is navigable in the top half of the tidal range at least.

Seil Sound*: The north north-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 25 minutes after high water at Oban. The south south-west going stream begins at 55 minutes before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs.

East of Torsa*: The north north-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 20 minutes after high water at Oban. The south south-west going stream begins at 2 hours before high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Eddy west of Garbh Reisa*: An eddy forms on the west side of Garbh Reisa when Dorus Mor flows west. This turns east along the north shore of the island.

To the South of Eilean na h-Eairne*: The tidal stream here flows west north-west reaching a maximum speed of 6 knots at springs.

To the south west of Eilean na h-Eairne*: The tidal stream here flows south reaching a maximum speed of 4 knots at springs.

Eddies behind Rubha na Lic*: An eddy forms behind Rubha na Lic (Cobblers of Lorn) with flows in either direction.

East shore of Lunga*: The flow continues south here for around an hour after it turns north in the Sound of Luing.

Loch Feochan entrance*: The east going stream begins at 3 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Oban. The west going stream begins at at high water at Oban. The flow reaches a speed of 5 knots at springs.

Notes

Oban Harbour*: There is a code of conduct for navigating within Oban Harbour and the Sound of Kerrera - kayaks keeping close to the shore, or crossing clear of other craft should have no problems. Monitor channel 12 and 16 if possible, as large vessels will make warning broadcasts on these channels.

Access/Egress

Crinan*: (NR 788 944) g Slipway onto the sea just west of the sea lock. Car park just to the south of the canal basin. Access also onto the canal just to the east of Lock 14. Portage trolleys are apparently availiable!

Ellenabeich*: (NM 742 174) g Boats can be dropped on a paved area (or grass area) by a rocky slipway just east of the ferry pier. There is a car park just to the north.

Arduaine*: (NM 801 099) g Small car park, slipway and access ramp courtesy of the Argyll Sea Kayak Trail.

Ganavan*: (NM 862 327) g Slip onto the beach, with car park (pay and display, no overnight parking).

Craignish*: (NM 812 050) g Roadside parking near the village hall, close to the water.

Aird Jetty*: (NM 762 003) g Easy parking and a short carry. However, getting down to the water can be a little tricky here.

Rubha Cuil*: (NM 732 084) g One or two cars might be left here, near and old quay and ramp down to the water.

Cullipool*: (NM 737 124) g There is a slipway and boat park to the north of the post office, but it may be a little easier to park near the small jetty a little further south.

Toberonochy*: (NM 750 086) g Space to leave a car or two near the quay and a small beach.

Luing Ferry*: (NM 751 141) g There are places to park near the ferry pier.

Clachan Bridge*: (NM 785 197) g There is a small parking area on the west side of the Clachan bridge.

Balvicar*: (NM 768 168) g There is a large layby to the west of the village. The walk to the water will be shorter at high water.

South shore Loch Feochan*: (NM 843 233) g A layby has easy access to the water.

Head of Loch Feochan*: (NM 871 241) g A layby has easy access to the loch. There may be something of a walk to the water's edge at low tide.

Kerrera Ferry*: (NM 835 283) g Parking for Kerrara ferry- can get very busy. Check out ferry times?

Suggested trips

Garvellachs*: In good conditions and with a group of appropriate competence, a trip out to the Garvellachs is not to be missed. The route out will depend on the tidal streams, possibly dropping down from Easdale on a southerly flow, or coming up from Lunga (having perhaps come from Arduaine via the Grey Dogs) on a northerly tide. The Garvellachs is a fine space to camp overnight, with most groups choosing the area around the ancient Beehive cells of the ancient Monastery on Eileach an Naoimh. The tangle of islands to the east provides many options for the return journey, with passage through the Cuan sound or Clachan sound being possibilities. It should go without saying that any trip in this area requires careful tidal planning, and heading out to these exposed islands requires good conditions.

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