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Crinan Canal

Your Comments: 6 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign




AC 2381Lower Loch Fyne, Ardrishaig; AC 2476 Loch Crinan; AC 2326 Loch Crinan to the Firth of Lorne; Imray C65 Crinan to Mallaig & Barra Imray C63 Firth of Clyde (plan of Ardrishaig); SC5610.14 Firth of Clyde (Ardrishaig); Canal Chartlet in the Canal Skippers Guide (issued free with licence)

Rules & Regulations

There is a raft of regulations and you should consult their Skippers Guide. The main points are the 4knot speed limit, requirement for 1million third party insurance and be prepared for a random safety inspection the basic requirement of which is that they dont want you sinking or catching fire in the canal (you do not need a Safety Certificate for a transit licence). There are other rules regarding waste, pets, swimming, use of radar etc. Some of these are in the Advice, Rules & Regulations section of the Skippers Guide but others (like the speed limit!) are scattered throughout that guide.


Ardrishaig The Knows 2 miles SE of Ardrishaig and Gulnare Rock with Sgeir Sgalag and Duncuan Island half a mile SE.
Crinan Black Rock 2 cables North of the Sea Lock. Also, if they are locking down when you are approaching the Sea Locks (especially if intending to tie up to the pontoon outside the Ardrishaig sea lock) be aware of strong currents in the vicinity of the gates and the pontoon

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW Ardrishaig is HW Greenock + 6 mins. MHWS 3.4m MHWN 2.8m MLWN 1.1m MLWS 0.2m: HW Crinan is HW Oban 45mins MHWS 2.4m MHWN 1.7M MLWN 1.1m MLWS 0.3m   (links)

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General Description

Crinan Canal Office in Ardrishaig     01546 603210
Crinan Sea Lock                 01546 830285 or VHF 74
Ardrishaig Sea Lock            01546 602458 or VHF 74

Probably the most important information we can give is that there is a Skippers Guide available at

https://www.scottishcanals.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/crinan-canal-WEB.pdf ... read more



To the South of Ardrishaig in the entrance to Loch Gilp there are several reefs to be negotiated and if you are sailing a finkeeler close to the bottom end of a spring tide you will need to be very careful.

The main reef extends out from the shore to the ESE of Ardrishaig from Rubha Buidhe, through the Duncuan Islands out to Sgeir Sgalag. The end of this reef is marked with a lit, green SHM (buoy) but have a care because, only a cable and a half to the SW of this buoy it starts to shelve again towards the other shore.  Two cables to the south of the green buoy is a red can buoy, also lit, which marks the Gulnare Rock reef. There is a sector light on the end of Ardrishaig Pier but if you are running in on this at night you need to pick up the red flashing buoy (4s) as early as possible and ease over in the white sector to leave it to port. 

Given the fact that you can’t get into the canal until 0800 in the morning and it’s light from about 0430 I shouldn’t imagine you will find it necessary to make your approach in the dead of night far better to stop off at East Loch Tarbert or anchor north or south of Barmore island (just to the North of East Loch Tarbert) the evening before and amble up in the dawn light to Ardrishaig! Of course, these days, there is also the option of Portavadie which is not dependent on tides.  ... read more

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

There are anchorages in the bays to the SW of the Crinan Sea lock and at the Ardrishaig end you can anchor to the north of the pier (but there are a lot of moorings here and you would be wise to use a tripping line) ... read more

Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson | 6th Apr 2017
These notes were reviewed by Don in April 2017. Having transited this canal last summer I can vouch for the fact that only the [price has change, downwards, and that you need a crew to do this unless you can piggyback on a willing boat with enough crew to compensate for your lack!
Crinan 2016
Written by Summer Lightning | 3rd Jul 2016
The Yotspot assistance is worth every penny of £60 if you are short handed or new to the Crinan. We transisted over 4 days and simply booked them by phone. 01546 602777. They have a website - theyotspot.com. Good restaurant at the Ardrashaig end of the canal. Cost for a licence for a 37 ft yacht 2016 was £131 Note that because of the dry Spring the water levels are low and it is taking time to fill the locks with water, no problem so long as you are not in a rush.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
Update 2016
Written by dononshytalk | 16th Jun 2016
Due to the storm of protest at the hike in prices to fund the extra manning at the locks they have had to return to the previous modus operandi and lower the prices. This means that if you require assisted passage due to short handed or disability you will have to contact a contractor called "The Yacht Spot" who will provide an assistant for not more than £60. If short handed do not prematurely opt for an assistant - you will probably be able to piggy back one of the other yachts going through. The Yacht Spot is a new venture which has a store with a selection of the more obvious chandlery bits and bobs, it also does Gas and Gaz and has a restaurant open until 10pm.
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June 2015 update
Written by Heretic | 15th Jun 2015
Good passage through on 8th June with just 2 on board and one other boat, also with 2. Staff at each lock, no need to go ashore. Facilities now excellent.
Update 2015
Written by dononshytalk | 19th Mar 2015
These notes were reviewed by Don in March 2015. The price of a transit licence has gone up by 50% to pay for the new staff manning all the locks; it will be £15.95 per metre from May.
The other main improvement is the provision of a new amenities building at the Crinan basin containing showers and toilets for the sole use of those holding a canal licence.
1 of 1 people found this helpful
No more Assisted Passage
Written by JulesHoult | 7th Aug 2014
This scheme is not operating this year although they claim to be reviewing this decision regularly and there is a survey on their website to encourage them.

I went through singlehanded earlier this month - arrived at Ardrishaig just in time to get through the sea lock and asked for a pilot for the next morning - Hugh and Jim arrived at 0830 and I was through in 5 hours!

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