Argyll Coast – The Region

Cuan Sound is just one of the West Coast’s interesting tidal gates.

THE STRETCH OF COAST from the Mull of Kintyre to Ardnamurchan Point is the heartland of Scottish cruising, and for decades has been the focus of ambition for all cruising novices. In days gone by it was a serious challenge; cruising in engineless yachts, or ones with unreliable power units, was difficult amongst the tides and variable winds of the Inner Isles, not to mention for transitting the Crinan Canal.

Increasing coastal commerce led to the Crinan Canal being built over 200 years ago, created to open up the West Coast and improve access to the Western Isles. It offered a safer route from the Firth of Clyde to the west coast, avoiding the often difficult sail around the Mull of Kintyre and cutting over 100 miles off the journey. The canal opened in 1809. However busy it was in the days before road transport, its commercial success was never in doubt: it never made a penny profit! Today it is maintained by Scottish Canals as part of Scotland’s historic infrastructure, and is a wonderful asset for recreational sailors.

Along this coast lie the island attractions of Tobermory on Mull, Iona, Colonsay, Jura, Islay, Coll, Tiree and Lismore, as well as marinas and yacht stations at Crinan, Ardfern, Craobh, Kilmelford in Loch Melford, Oban, Dunstaffnage, Loch Creran, Port Appin and Corpach, entrance to the Caledonian Canal.

A quiet morning in Loch Spelve