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Ardfern Yacht Centre and Loch Craignish

Your Comments: 5 Read or add your comments

Courtesy Flag

Flag, Red Ensign


56° 10.34N 05° 32.00W


AC 2326-0 Loch Crinan to Firth of Lorne, SC5611-12, Imray C65 Crinan to Mallaig (no plan Ardfern), Imray Chart Pack 2800.2 Loch Crinan to Garbh Eileach, Antares Chart “Head of Loch Craignish”

Rules & Regulations

None known


Corryvreckan and the Dorus Moir. Sgeir Dhubh Rock and reef to NW of it.

Tidal Data Times & Range

HW is approx 45min after HW Oban and the range at springs is about 1.5 metres but times & Heights very much affected by wind and pressure.   (links)

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General Description

Ardfern Yacht Centre  01852 500247, VHF #80

Ardfern at the head of Loch Craignish is possibly one of the best known marinas on the West Coast, probably because it is the first one North of Crinan that Clyde sailors come across as they leave the Crinan Canal!  It is also useful as a jumping off point for the Canal when returning, especially as it is more sheltered than Loch Crinan.  It was also one of the earliest to be established on the West Coast.


The marina started around 1970 when a marine yard and some swinging moorings were established around the old “puffer” quay.  It has been developed ever since to the facility that now exists.  It has all the facilities associated with a marina and is a favourite spot for those leaving their boat on the West Coast whilst living elsewhere in Scotland (and even some in that other place, England!)

The marina and moorings are tucked away behind Eilean Mhic Chrion at the northern end of the Loch Craignish and is out of sight until you round the end of that island. The marina which is laid out in a hollow square is guarded by a breakwater which extends from Eilean Inshaig SW towards the north tip of Eilean Mhic Chrion leaving a small, lit gap as an entrance. (See the photo in the Navigation Gallery) This breakwater has two yellow lights spaced along its length and a Fl.G.3s light on the starboard side of the entrance. There is a red PH buoy marking the other side of the entrance.

The marina also has some moorings in Craignish Lagoon which is tucked behind Eilean Dubh and Eilean Mhic Chrion. The entrance to this lagoon is between those two islands and there is an Anteres chart of its depths.

It’s not the easiest place to get to by public transport; the only bus which calls there every four hours or so links Oban and Lochgilphead so you have to make your way to either of those for onward transit to Ardfern. Mind you, whichever route you choose you will pass through some of the most delightful scenery in Scotland (some would say the World).

Their website can be found at 


We have given a waypoint halfway up the loch abeam Eilean Mhic Chrion.

To get there from the North or West you will have to pass through the Dorus Mhor which is a complicated piece of water because, although deep, the tidal streams around it split and form back eddies and overfalls. These eddies and overfalls can be extreme in strong weather but in settled weather are not too much of a problem.

Coming from the North you will have been running down on the ebb tide. If you time your arrival at Craignish Point at slack water (about 1 Hour before Dover at Springs and 15mins before Dover at Neaps) then you can run through and pick up the beginning  of the flood up Loch Craignish.  Unfortunately, if you come through Corryvreckan the slack waters there are at exactly the same times as the slack waters here so you will have to come through Corryvreckan on the ebb about an hour before slack water to continue over to the Dorus Mhor and arrive there before the flood sets in from the East. As the slack water at Neaps at both locations lasts about an hour (and the streams not so strong) it would be much easier to plan this passage at Neaps.

From the South there are no real hazards apart from the isolated rock Sgeir Dubh Mhic Lartai SSW of Eilean Mhic Chrion, just come up the Sound of Jura on the flood and pass to the East of Eilean Mhic Chrion.

Once past the Waypoint you can leave Sgeir Dubh at the north end of the island to port or starboard as convenient but be careful of the reef extending 50m NW and 100m NNE from that island.

On the Admiralty chart the gap between the floating breakwater and the North shore of Eilean Mhic Chrion is almost invisible but be assured that the entrance is between that island and the breakwater not between Eilean Inshaig and the breakwater. The deeper water is to the starboard side of the entrance.

Berthing, Mooring & Anchoring

Your choices are to go alongside a pontoon if there is one available,.........

.......pick up a mooring, or anchor to the North of the moorings (but there may not be room here as most of the “good” spots are taken up by private moorings)
Ardfern Yacht Centre also has five moorings in Craignish Lagoon on the left hand side away from the mooring association buoys.

There is a diagram of the layout of the marina in the Navigation Gallery (top right) as it was in 2016 and if intending to visit here it might be an idea to take a screen print of that and have it handy when coming in as instructions given over the radio can be ambiguous. A pontoon berth cost (2022) £2.80 per metre per day and a mooring is£1.90 per metre per day.  There are mooring buoys close to the North of the marina and more down in Craignish lagoon. In both locations the buoys belonging to Ardfern are marked AYC and their number.

Further Berthing Information

The pontoon berths are fully serviced with shore power (£3.85 per day) and water; toilets, showers and a laundrette are in the NEW amenities block.

They can supply refills for Calor Gas and Camping Gaz and can refuel diesel but, regrettably no petrol.

There is a chandlery which has been described as the “Best on the West Coast” and which also supplies an outlet at East Loch Tarbert

They have an extensive boatyard and repair facility

An interesting service is their “Bring alongside” service.  You can leave your boat on a long term mooring and when you need it they will bring the boat from the mooring to a pontoon for you to load and board her; mind you they do charge for the service.

The boatyard has a 40 ton Swedish boat hoist.

They have new Wifi on the pontoons and claim it is "much better"

Eating, Drinking & Entertainment

The Gally of Lorne Hotel and restaurant is just along the road from The Marina and is a popular watering hole for visitors to the Marina



Your Ratings & Comments

Written by Don Thomson 3 | 22nd Jul 2022
I reviewed these notes in July 2022. As noted below (and now in the main text) they have opened a new amenities building which from the photos I have seen is very. impressive>
Update early 2022
Written by BRIGHTHOPE | 17th May 2022
A brand new shower/toilet/laundry block has just been opened for all users (entry by key pad combination) - first class facility. The chandlery is excellent and for food, there is an excellent village shop 300m from the marina and a lovely cafe/bistro (Lucy's) about quarter of a mile along the road for coffees, lunch and afternoon teas.

Be aware that AIS and VHF transmissions can be masked within the loch so it is best to be persistent when calling.
Update Early Summer 2021
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 14th Jun 2021
I reviewed these notes in June 2021 and the only change necessary was to the charges.
Update 2019
Written by Don Thomson 3 | 25th Apr 2019
These notes were reviewed in April 2019. Apart from improved Wifi there are no changes here unless you count the inevitable price rises. They are now charging a hefty £3.85 per day for electricity. The chart has been replaced
Ardfern marina
Written by Juanyd | 16th Mar 2018
Excellent facilities, showers, comprehensive chandlery and workshop.
Staff most helpful, short walk to shop and pub.
Very good shelter, but can be busy in the season.
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