Tayvallich Bay has always been one of the best natural anchorages on The West Coast of Scotland. It was well known to the raiders on Long Ships from Norway 1,000 years ago as a place of shelter and plenty, and was a safe haven to trading ships up to the 19th century. Now Tayvallich Bay is best known as a safe and picturesque anchorage for visiting yachts and motor cruisers from The Clyde, The North of Scotland, Europe, Scandinavia and Beyond.
Tayvallich Bay (56°01.45"N and 5°37.3"W) is at the head of Loch Sween and is sheltered from the North, West and South with only 1.5 miles of fetch from the East. The passage from Tayvallich to the mouth of Loch Sween, which opens out onto The Sound of Jura and the four MacCormaig Islands, is some 7 nautical miles. Yachts on passage North round The Mull of Kintyre from The Clyde or from Ireland will pass the mouth of Loch Sween, some 12 nautical miles South of Crinan, and should certainly consider a stopover at Tayvallich. Visiting yachts should be aware that there is a strong tidal effect at the mouth of Loch Sween and that the tide can run at 3 knots in The Sound of Jura (and up to 4 knots at Springs) so that tidal planning is certainly helpful. As a general guide the North-going stream at the mouth of Loch Sween starts at HW Oban plus 4.50 hours and the South-going stream at HW Oban minus 1.10 hours. The relevant Admiralty Chart is 2397.
Tayvallich is about 17 nautical miles from Craighouse on the Isle of Jura, 22 nautical miles from Ardminish Bay on The Isle of Gigha, 34 nautical miles from Port Ellen on Islay, 67 nautical miles from Campbeltown, and some 40 nautical miles from Oban to the North.
When you visit Tayvallich Bay by yacht or motor cruiser there are many moorings but all are privately owned and organised by The Tayvallich Mooring Owners Association (TMOA). Have a look at the chartlet below to see the three areas where visiting yachts are most welcome to anchor. Please do not pick up private moorings on arrival.
Another delightful anchorage very close-by, is at The Fairy Islands, only some 2 miles from Tayvallich and while almost everyone will love this magic place, many will prefer it for a secluded lunchtime picnic and a leisurely exploration by dinghy, followed by a stopover in Tayvallich as the Fairy Islands provide no man-made facilities whatever.
In 1998 The Tayvallich Harbour Committee (a non-profit making body) greatly improved the concrete jetty adjacent to the public slipway at the old “Post Office Pier” and in 2000 they funded the laying of a pontoon from the new jetty. Please note that the new pontoon may only be used by boats (resident or visitor) for a maximum of one hour at a time and that crew must be in attendance at all times. There is a separate facility for dinghies at the concrete pier. A fresh water supply at the pontoon was installed in May 2001. Meanwhile a water tap is available at the very well stocked Village Shop. Donations from visiting yachts using these facilities would be greatly appreciated and may be given at The Village Shop or at The Tayvallich Inn.
Until these recent upgrades at the “Post Office Pier” the only facility that allowed a yacht to lie by the shore, was at The Carrick Pier. This is still available for local and visiting boats but at high tide can be difficult of access and as it is largely used by fishing boats, you should be aware that your vessel may be “rafted out” even after a brief layover. The same restrictions that apply to the new pontoon apply to Carrick Pier.
Most types of bottled gas can be purchased at Leachive Caravans next to the Tayvallich Inn but the nearest facilities for diesel, a water hose and for chandlery is at Crinan Boatyard. (See Links Page) The nearest Marinas are Ardfern and Croabh Haven to the North.
If on passage on The Sound of Jura you are tempted to visit Tayvallich but have time constraints on your sailing holiday you might consider a night stop at Carsaig Bay (the same Admiralty Chart 2397 as for Tayvallich) which is some 15 nautical miles from Tayvallich by sea, but only one mile from The Tayvallich Inn by road. A stopover at Carsaig is less well known than Tayvallich itself but is an interesting alternative to lying in Crinan Basin, only 5 nautical miles to the North. There are three valid anchorage’s at Carsaig. The first is in the inner South Bay (about ¾ miles from the shore) and well sheltered from the prevailing SW wind. The second is the outer South Bay but this is not appropriate if you want to visit the fleshpots of Tayvallich. The third is in the North Bay inside of Carsaig Island. Good shelter is provided in one or the other and you will also see the other side of the Magic of the Tayvallich Experience which is the outlook to Jura from Carsaig Bay.
Tayvallich also has a coffee shop, together with toilets, and a shower for visiting yachtsmen and women.