Clyde Cruising


"The Clyde" is to Scotland what the Solent is to England and Chesapeake Bay or Puget Sound is to the USA.  Perhaps Puget Sound is the fairest comparison - both enjoy great sailing waters, fantastic scenery, amazing sea and wild life and many, many places in which to berth or anchor - from busy urban towns to remote, friendly settlements.


The Firth of Clyde covers the largest and deepest area of coastal waters in the British Isles . . .


from the Forth & Clyde Canal Basin in the East

to the Campbeltown and the Mull of Kintyre in the West;


from the Ailsa Craig and the Ayrshire Coast in the South

to Arrochar (Loch Long) or Cairndow (Loch Fyne) in the North.


Narrow fjordlike sea lochs reach deep inland - Loch Long, Loch Fyne, Loch Goil, Gare Loch, Holy Loch, Loch Striven, Loch Riddon - while smaller sea lochs - Loch Gair, Loch Gilp, East Loch Tarbert, Loch Ranza, Campbeltown Loch - often offer shelter and hospitality.


There are three principal islands in the Firth - Arran, Bute and Cumbrae - each with anchorages, pontoons and towns with most, if not all, essential services. Public transport from the islands' ferry ports is available to most places of interest.


Many lovely uninhabited places - including some stunning beaches - can only be easily reached by boat while others offer quiet overnight anchorage far away from any sight or sound of modern "civilisation".


The populated areas range from the City of Glasgow (the largest in Scotland) to tiny, remote settlements - often no more than a clutch of estate or fishermens' cottages. 


With such incredible diversity, it is impossible to provide a comprehensive list of things to do!  Many towns and villages provide golf courses, bowling greens and tennis courts - most of them welcoming visitors - while countryside activities, such as angling, pony trekking, mountain climbing, archery, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting, deer stalking, etc, etc, etc, are available in many areas.  Then there are all those historic buildings and sites, cultural and artistic exhibitions and events, Highland Games, delicious food and drink .  . .


Naturally, water based activities and events are a feature of many communities with sailing and power boat competitions being held throughout the season.


Iroko remains in the water through the winter.  This is partly to avoid drying out her timbers too much but also to take advantage of some superb opportunities to venture out on the water.  It may be my advanced years but there is something very satisfying about chugging gently up a sea loch with snow-clad hills all around, sipping a hot mug of soup in a centrally heated wheelhouse!



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Additional photos by Argyll Cruising, Alison Mary Ashton and others - All rights reserved