You don't need to be a vastly experienced sailor or an extreme adventurer to discover the West Coast of Scotland. Using the mainland as a base, you'll find a vast array of peaceful anchorages, unique wildlife, pretty harbours, delicious seafood, hidden coves and jaw-dropping landscapes all within easy reach, even for the average sailor.
So, to whet your appetite, we've put together the ultimate 7 day cruising holiday to see the Firth of Clyde and the West Coast of Scotland which you can start from Largs or Troon (both just an hour from Glasgow with berth holders enjoying complimentary stays at both marinas).
Day 1 - Troon to Lamlash (15miles)
Start your trip off with a gentle westerly sail to Lamlash on the Isle of Arran. On arrival, pick up a visitors mooring and step ashore admiring the Holy Isle, home of the Buddhist monks. Great for hiking, the views from on top Arran’s famous Corbett, Goat Fell, will take your breath away.
Day 2 - Lamlash to Campbeltown (25miles)
Having sailed between the Islands of Pladda and Ailsa Craig, you’ll see some breathtaking scenery as you sail west towards Campbeltown Loch. A well-deserved local whisky will await you at the superb Royal Hotel while you discover the famous connection between the Mull of Kintyre and The Beatles. Alternatively, you can get your walking boots on and join the Kintyre Way footpath. Walkashore visitor pontoons available.
Day 3 - Campbeltown to Gigha (42miles)
Berthing in the sheltered, turquoise, sandy Ardminish Bay in Gigha is a unique and special experience. Stunning landscapes spanning 360 degrees around you. On your way to Ardminish, look out for some of the unique Atlantic wildlife in these waters, from birds of prey and migrating birds, to dolphins and common seals. Standard facilities and a basic shop await you from a dinghy landing with gentle hill walks and the excellent seafood restaurant, The Boathouse. The village may look fairly unassuming, but you'll have some of the best food on your journey if you venture ashore!
SHORTER OPTION (60miles shorter in total) - Head north east with the Mull of Kintyre on your port side and Arran to starboard. Enter Loch Fyne and anchor at Otter Ferry before continuing your cruise towards Tighnabruaich (blue route on map)
Day 4 - Gigha to Puilladobhrain (42miles)
The anchorage of Puilladobhrain (or 'Pool of The Otter' if that's easier to pronounce!) is extremely well-protected in all winds and the clay seabed ensures anchors are unlikely to slip. When you think of a classic, remote Scottish cove, then this is the one! The sheltered bay is very popular but worth the visit. Ashore you'll find the historic Tigh an Truish pub and the famous 'Bridge Over The Atlantic', and that's about it!
SHORTER OPTION (40miles shorter in total)You have the option if you wish to take a shorter route or enjoy some time ashore. You can skip Puilladobhrain and head straight to the Western End of the Crinan Canal to rejoin the route and spend the night at Cairnbaan (green route on map)
Day 5 - Puilladobhrain to Cairnbaan (21miles)
A trip to this corner of West Scotland wouldn't be complete without a trip through the Crinan Canal. So make the most of it and stay overnight at Cairnbaan halfway along the passage. Don't be put off if you've never been through a canal before. It's very self-explanatory and Lock-keepers are on-hand to help you through. A licence is needed to pass through (around £10 per metre) payable on entrance.
Day 6 - Cairnbaan to Tighnabruaich (25miles)
Into Loch Fyne, you may wish to stop at Tarbert, one of the most popular fishing harbours on the Clyde. Shadowed by the remains of the ancient castle, boats can enjoy excellent facilities and walkashore pontoon berthing. Heading into the Kyles of Bute you'll enjoy one of the prettiest passages as you head north towards your final mooring at Tighnabruaich. Ample swinging moorings available for visitors.
Day 7 - Tighnabruaich to Largs (17miles)
Your final day starts off in spectacular fashion as the mist clears from the hills revealing the pretty villages of Colintraive and Rothesay (visitor pontoons available). Mount Stuart, the incredible historic home of the Marquis of Bute family is well worth a visit. Arriving to the charming seaside resort of Largs, the town's Viking history is prominent as well as the historic ice cream shop, Nardini’s. You may be interested to know that annual marina berth holders at Largs Yacht Haven enjoy unlimited berthing at sister marina Troon Yacht Haven! A great benefit, especially if the weather scuppers your plans.
187miles, 6 stopovers, endless memories!
2019 Berthing Special Offers at Largs
2019 Berthing Special Offers at Troon
Troon Yacht Haven
Holy Isle at Lamlash
Sound of Mull
Isle of Gigha
Crinan Canal Entrance
Kyles of Bute
Largs Yacht Haven
Firth of Clyde sailing
Map - Red line shows the main proposed route with two shorter options marked in blue and green. Not to be used for navigation.
"Scotland provides hauntingly beautiful cruising and fine food and drink. Efforts to spread the word and grow the sector should be applauded. It is no surprise Scotland has been voted as Cruising Ground of the Year. With modern marinas, wild anchorages and friendly fishing ports there is plenty to go round when you sail Scotland.”
- Sailing Today magazine
Image credits: Sail Scotland, Sylvia Watson (Crinan Canal), Ross Pichler (Carbost), Raymond JP Watson (Sea Horses), Judith Lightoof (Isle of Bute), Rhona Wallace (Loch Riddon), Innes (Bridge Over the Atlantic, link) Yacht Havens.