Any tips on a GB circumnavigation?

Cruising plans, discussions, etc.
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hotstonp
Posts: 75
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:54 pm
Location: Southampton

Any tips on a GB circumnavigation?

Post by hotstonp »

Happy New Year,

This year I intend sailing round Great Britain over a period of 5 months but having to make a break of 4 weeks in the middle. I am thinking of going anti clockwise and of course spending most of the time on the west coast.

So any advice, recommendations of places to visit, things not to do etc.?

Keep well
Peter
Feronia - 1986 Freedom 33 Cat Sloop (UK Hoyt), Hull # 001, Aluminium Needlespar rig, shoal keel.

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Castaway
Posts: 217
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 8:40 pm
Location: Lerwick, Shetland Isles

Re: Any tips on a GB circumnavigation?

Post by Castaway »

Peter,

If you're intending to go round the entire GB, do give us a call when you get to Lerwick; you will be most welcome if we are not away sailing ourselves! The number is Lerwick six nine five eight five eight. From Wick, the most North-Easterly harbour on the mainland, one can reach Orkney, Fair Isle and Shetland in a series of day-sails, with plenty of interesting harbours and anchorages en-route. Alternatively, a direct trip, Wick to Lerwick, should take around 24 hours with reasonable winds.

Harbours in the East of Scotland are a bit sparse. There are marinas around Edinburgh (Grantown, Queensferry) where you could leave a boat, and have good transport links back and forth. Maryport (near Dundee), and Montrose are well sheltered and have a mainline stations. Aberdeen does not allow yachts, but Peterhead has a substantial marina. There are marinas at Whitehills and FIndhorn, too. Everything else is either small and often tidal, or else a long way off your route (e.g. Inverness). I have no personal experience of staying in any of them, however. Wick has a marina (new since I was last there), trains (very slow) and an airport.

In Orkney there are two marinas where you might leave your boat for a while, at Kirkwall and Stromness. The former is somewhat subject to motion in Northerly winds, but very convenient, and the latter sheltered in all weathers, though quite busy with the ferry to Scrabster, dive boats and fishing vessels.

Shetland has twenty marinas and other harbours too. Sullom Voe is best avoided and anyway quite restricted, but most others would be happy to see you stay. Lerwick marina is a good choice; secure and with lift out facilities should you need them, plus engineering and chandlery services nearby. It is quite cheap, too – especially by South coast or West of Scotland standards. Unfortunately, travel is less so, though convenient and frequent, with a daily car ferry to Aberdeen and flights to Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

As you are a member of the Cruising Association, you can find a lot of information available on their website, and you can even borrow pilots from their library. Putting your question there will get numerous replies and opinions, too. If you want more information about Shetland, there is some stuff on the Visit Shetland website, or you are welcome to PM me directly.
Attachments
'Simmer Dim', Lerwick, a June evening at 11 pm.
'Simmer Dim', Lerwick, a June evening at 11 pm.
LWK harbour.jpg (202.03 KiB) Viewed 2888 times
Gerald Freshwater,
s/y 'Castaway', (UK F35 cat ketch, centreboard, 1987)
Lerwick Boating Club
Shetland Isles, Scotland

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hotstonp
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Location: Southampton

Re: Any tips on a GB circumnavigation?

Post by hotstonp »

Hi Gerald

Thank you very much for your reply. The review of travel from locations is something you can never find in books or web sites.

Not yet sure of the entire GB though Lerwick is most definitely a goal. We definitely intend heading to the Orkneys and have discussed the possibility of Shetlands though the latter will be short and obviously weather dependent. We intend to leave Southampton at the end of April with the aim of being on the west coast but the time my daughter's summer holiday starts. The thinking being that the islands or the East coast of Ireland will provide better sailing conditions for a 13 year old.

Thanks for contact info. Fingers crossed that we get there. Timescales hinge on an end to my current contract expected at the end of March and then looking for next bit of work in September. My partner in crime for the sail is already retired and has his wife's permission to be gone for the time.

Keep well
Peter
Feronia - 1986 Freedom 33 Cat Sloop (UK Hoyt), Hull # 001, Aluminium Needlespar rig, shoal keel.

chadrider
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2014 5:36 pm

Re: Any tips on a GB circumnavigation?

Post by chadrider »

I assume you have perused Dylan Winter's https://www.keepturningleft.co.uk/ Keep Turning Left. If not, go there.
Chad Rider
Rumford, RI
02916

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arrancomrades
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:11 am

Re: Any tips on a GB circumnavigation?

Post by arrancomrades »

Peter,

Plenty of nice harbours on the east and north coasts of Scotland, though as Gerald says, many are small and a bit shallow. A surprising number of places to anchor off if you're careful. There are only limited Sailing Directions since the Clyde Cruising Club ceded its interest in the N&NE coasts per the agreement which shares out the coast between various clubs. Best is the excellent CCC Directions for Orkney and Shetland (incl a good passage-oriented version of Cape Wrath to Inverness) - I admit an interest in this. Imray have an intent to do something about Berwick to Inverness but don't hold your breath. A good almanac will probably be enough. Late April and May can be very pleasant on these coasts. Look at Arbroath, Lossiemouth and Helmsdale as places for a short stay with rail connections - prior booking would be needed anywhere you want to leave the boat unattended except on the Clyde - Ardrossan or Greenock probably most affordable. Absolutely essential is a proper chart of the Pentland Firth and the Admiralty Tidal Charts if you're going that way. Scrabster is OK for an overnight stop but would not do for your four-week break.

The west coast is likely to be expensive for that break. There are a very few remote places where the boat might be left on 2-3 anchors and rather more with moorings for hire. Only Plockton, Mallaig and Arisaig have rail connections - Mallaig has a few moorings off the pontoons. Get hold of 'Welcome Anchorages', given out free everywhere. I could send you last year's if you want. One option is to take the break in one of the canals on a four-week licence which includes passage but you pay extra at Inverness itself. Good rail connections to the Caley Canal but Crinan is a long bus or multi-mode trip just to Glasgow. Also look at Stornoway, Loch Maddy or Loch Boisdale marinas using air travel. Or Belfast Lough - City, Carrickfergus and Bangor marinas increasing in cost.
Last edited by arrancomrades on Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mike Johnston

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hotstonp
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Location: Southampton

Re: Any tips on a GB circumnavigation?

Post by hotstonp »

Thanks again for the information.

Chadrider - Yes I have started to look at keep turning left. I had looked a while back but need to revisit - with an eye to having a fin keel instead though.

Mike - I keep looking out for the CCC Directions for Orkney and Shetlands, though I do have the 2016 version. The Welcome Anchorages is available as a PDF so I have a copy of that. I am lucky that I have chosen to not sign up for my Hamble berth this year until September so the cost of moorings will be wherever I am... just a bullet I will have to bite. All the travel and connections information is terrifically useful though. Stornaway could be a good place to take the break... I hadn't thought of that.

Thanks again.
Keep well
Peter
Feronia - 1986 Freedom 33 Cat Sloop (UK Hoyt), Hull # 001, Aluminium Needlespar rig, shoal keel.

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