Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sea kayaking round Ardnamurchan Point

The channel at Portuairk was draining fast due to the spring tide and with three kayaks to move it was quite a logistics exercise to keep up with the disappearing water!

Sanna Bay on the north of Ardnamurchan is fringed by glowing white shell sand beaches.

Soon we had Ardnamurchan Point and the lighthouse in our sights. In the distance, the low lands of Coll and its Cairns lay to the west. We were nearly tempted to go there as a day trip!

The spring tide was in full flow to the south and we were carried effortlessly towards the point.

The lighthouse was built by Alan Stephenson in 1849. It is built of granite quarried on the Ross of Mull. There are Islamic influences in the architectural detail. The tower is 36m high and the light stands 55m above sea level. There are two white flashes every 20 seconds. The lighthouse was automated in 1988.

The south going tide starts at +01:00 HW Oban and the north going starts at -05:22 HW Oban. The maximum spring rate is only 1.5 knots but if there is any wind against tide there can be a fearsomely rough tide race and yachting pilots advise giving the point a wide berth of 2 miles! We were at the point during maximum south going spring flow, with a light northerly wind. Conditions were very calm



  1. Hi Douglas ,

    Beautiful area I sailed on a Yawl named the Grania "OYC 10" there 20 years ago and the skipper told me it was the most westerly lighthouse on the Scottish coast not sure if he was right can you please confirm this because you are the man !
    many regards and Guinness to all!!

    yours - Danny Carrickfergus safe paddling .

  2. Hi Danny, Ardnamurchan is the most westerly lighthouse on the Scottish mainland. Barra Head light on Berneray at the south end of the Outer Hebrides will be the most westerly Scottish lighthouse.

    Needless to say some Guinness made it round Ardnamurchan Point but sadly for it, did not make it back the other way!