Contacts: Craobh Haven Marina (pronounced “Croove”) Marina Office 01852 500222 VHF 80
The settlement here is of late origins being built late in the twentieth century. It consists of two rows of terraced houses and the Marina with its associated amenities building, office and boat park. The marina is part of the Kip Marina group which also owns Fairlie Quay on the Ayr coast; as such you have to be careful when consulting their web page because some of the links and telephone numbers are for the Clyde, not round here.
The place lacks history and atmosphere, the village store has closed (it was still up for sale in 2013) and in the meantime the pub “The Lord of the Isles” has opened up collocated premises that carries a small stock of consumables but is not a place for a major restock of the galley.
On the other hand the marina, tucked away behind Eilean an Duin (which is joined to the shore by breakwaters) affords really good shelter and is as well serviced as you would expect of a more accessible facility. Many people elect to over-winter their boats here though there is fierce competition on this coast as others, of the well heeled variety, keep a “spare” boat in this region as well as a boat in their local harbour for weekend sailing.
It all depends on what you want as there are similar options at Ardfern, Oban, Arisaig, Kilmelford etc and each will have its adherents. Craobh lacks much in the way of shops and entertainment (but that suits many sailors) but it also has severe limits on its accessibility bracketed to both North and South by tidal choke points.
Some make a big deal of these choke points but, to be honest, they exist all along this coast from the Mull of Kintyre to Cape Wrath and are very much part of navigating in British waters, so their existence in this case is very much what you want to make of it; cruising has always meant that, on occasion, one has to set the alarm to catch the tide.
For general notes on cruising in these waters we have compiled an article which you can find on this site at:
From the South you have to leave Eilean Arsa to starboard and keep heading NE until....
.... the entrance to the marina opens and you can see the SHM guarding that rock just outside the entrance.
How you get there is up to you; from Crinan you can leave Eilean an h-Earne to starboard and turn North to pass Reisa an t-Sruith on either side or you can head up to Craignish Point and pass though the narrow passage between that and Garbh Reisa, continuing up the Craignish Peninsula between that and the offshore islands/reefs.
For tidal streams you need to disassociate the terms flood and ebb from north and south here because when it is what is essentially the UK “Flood” it is flowing South here and vice versa; you should consult the tidal stream atlas which, fortuitously, you can find on this site at
From the North you have the choice of the long way around to the West of Luing and thus essentially make an approach to Craobh from the South or you brave it out through Cuan Sound (and if you do that why not go the whole hog and pass through Easedale Sound) Both these sounds are on Antares charts so if you have our Unified Admiralty charts and plotter along with the Antares charts it’s a piece of cake although we did it the first time years ago with the CCC notes and a Mk I eyeball. (admittedly a bit sphincter clenching) from there you run down, passing between Scoul Eilean and Eilean Gamhna and go whichever side of Eilean Creagach you feel happiest with (there are no leading marks for the narrow northerly passage so if unsure skirt round to the South)
Your problem is that, as you exit Seil Sound and pass between the next two islands, Craobh Haven is completely masked by Eilean Creagach and your picture is just that one of a horizon of overlapping islands none of which look like what you expect! You shouldn’t forget the good old fashioned compass and ad hoc sight lines to stay on the track you want to.
Finally, when you pass through the gap between the two breakwaters you will find the pontoons are off to port sitting on the other side of a line of red, spherical mooring buoys none of which have yachts on them and are spaced sufficiently far apart to suggest that you can pass in between them - Don’t. Those red buoys are Port Hand Marks guarding a shallow reef (there is a single can buoy marked on the Admiralty chart) Leave them all to Port and, when you have passed the last one, turn back on yourself to make good the pontoons.
The Marina website can be found at www.craobhmarina.co.uk/
Good amenities building with free showers (cf. Tobermory where the shore power is free but the showers are coin op!). There is also a coin op laundrette and within that a paperback swap shelf! Diesel on pontoon B but there is no petrol at all for miles.
Winter storage, travel lift, slipway can be found here.
The Marina now boasts Wifi!!
They can do engine and electrical repairs and the chandlery has improved over the years.
There is a bus service to Oban or Lochgilphead but this operates only on school days and is one trip in either direction. On Saturdays or non school days you have to walk a mile to the main road to catch a bus in either direction once midmorning and once midafternoon (NB the buses cross at this point)
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