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Our Guide to Craobh Marina
Croabh Haven Marina
Croabh Haven marina is a moderately sized marina, with over 250 water berths. The natural harbour makes the marina completely calm and accessible regardless of weather or tide. Free wi-fi is available across the marina and all fuel services are open 24 hours a day. The marina boasts a 30 ton crane and a fully covered workshop along with experience staff and contractors.
Croabh Haven is a tiny town nestled just twenty miles south of Oban. The town itself is little more than a few streets and the marina. It was developed virtually from scratch from 1983 on what was previously a rocky stretch of coast. The nearest settlement of any significance is on the other side of the peninsula at Ardfen.
Croabh Haven was intended to become a leisure village, and it has certainly lived up to that intention so far. The little housing serves purely for the employees of the marina and inn, although some are available to temporarily rent from the marina office. The village post box carries the ‘V R’ sign, showing it was placed there during Queen Victoria’s reign.
Things to see and do
The town offers a few interesting attractions that may not be realised at first glance. The local area provides breathtaking views and excellent chances to catch wildlife native to the area in their natural habitats. As such, many bird watches come to Croabh every year. Alongside these, divers frequent the village too. The ocean around the village is extremely clear and even low depth diving will reveal beautiful corals and an extensive array of Seastars, Anemone, Shellfish and underwater topographical features. Some divers have even been known to sight Minke Whales.
There’s not just diving and birdwatching though. The waters surrounding the islands are extensively used for leisure sailing areas. A good knowledge of the area is required, with weather conditions likely to change very quickly. Due to the array of separate tidal races produced by the underwater topography there are some treacherous stretches of water. These include the 'Grey Dogs' and the Gulf of Corryvreckan, in which is located the infamous Corryvreckan whirlpool, which is the third largest whirlpool in the world.
Local Events / Festivals
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Eating and Drinking
As far as food and drink go in Croabh, there’s only one place you could ever go to - The Lord Of The Isles - the town’s only pub and eatery, The Lord Of The Isles does not disappoint in either respect. The food served here is beautiful, despite the village being so distanced from anywhere else. Company is always friendly and service is excellent. The Pub also has a store, extremely well stocked, attached to the back of it for any need that someone might have.
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Where to Sail
Regardless of the strength of wind, the waters around Craobh Haven and up into Loch Melfort remain sheltered and flat, which narrows the options somewhat. In unsettled weather (or tides that do not fit well with your desired sailing hours) you can stay inside Loch Melfort, Shuna and Craignish – there are countless anchorages and moorings, shelter galore and you’ll be made welcome wherever you arrive. Otherwise, this is where we'd head...
Day 1 - A weekend sail might take you north to anchor or pick up a mooring at Balmachar. From here you can wander up to the pub at the ‘Bridge over the Atlantic’ or an anchor off Ardinamar to watch the tide run through the Cuan sound at astonishing speed. The tides around Craobh are strong so make sure you check the tide times before you set off!
Day 2 - The next day, weather permitting, head through the delightful Cuan Sound (with some very fun pilotage) best undertaken at high water slack, sail south through the sound of Luing or in settled weather outside Scarba and through the Corryvreckan. Anchor for that night in Loch Craignish or Ardfern or an all weather anchorage tucked behind Eilein Righ. Alternatively, anchor in the Bay of Pigs on the north west of Jura and watch the tides in the Corryvreckan surge past you, red deer climb nimbly around the hills above and the sea eagles circle.
Day 3 - From there check your tides, and head back to Craobh having played in some of the wildest and most tidal areas Scotland has to offer.
Your Recommended Journeys
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|Address:||Lochgilphead, Argyll, PA31 8UA|
|Long / Latitude:||N 56° 12' 43" W -5° 33' 35"|
Bottled gas, Chandler, Electrical supply, Electrical repairs, Engine repairs, First aid, Fresh water, Fuel: Diesel, Hardstanding / Boatyard, Laundry facilities, Lift-out facilities, Parking, Pub / Restaurant, Rigging service, Sail repairs, Shipwright, Shop / Supermarket, Showers, Slipway, Toilets, Telephone, Trolleys, Visitors berths
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Getting to the Marina
The nearest major airport is Glasgow, 145km away. Travel to here and then driving by car to the village will take an average of two hours and fifteen minutes.
The nearest train station is Oban, a 50 minute drive away. You can get to Oban by train from Glasgow easy enough - there are trains every hour. Argyll Taxis (01631 565293) might be able to pick you up from the station?
There are coaches that run from Glasgow to Craobh. The average travel time is around seven hours and takes three transfers along the way. :(
Car travel from Glasgow in the South East will take around 2 hours in total. But hey, you don’t have to worry about parking fees as the village has a whole load of free parking!