Water Based Activities
Boat TripsBoat trips in the Firth of Lorne and Sound of Jura are famous for being among the most exciting in Britain. The centrepiece is the Corryvreckan Whirpool – the third largest in the world. Charter boats as operated by Sealife Adventures, Craignish Cruises, and Seafari Adventures are powerful enough to navigate the strong tidal races between the islands then enter the whirlpool for an exhilarating experience. Wildlife sightings along the way often include (in season) whales, porpoises, dolphins, golden and sea eagles, and seals.
Caledonian MacBrayne operate numerous ferries across to many islands departing from Oban and further south around Tarbert.
WhalewatchingWhalewatching in the Oban area is becoming increasingly popular as there are regular sightings during the warmer months. Minke whales are often seen in the Gulf of Corryvreckan and the waters around Mull, and charter boats run special whalewatching trips to view these magnificent creatures of the deep. Visit our whalewatching page for more details.
WatersportsFor adults and children wanting to learn canoeing or sailing, Craobh Haven Watersports has canoes, dinghies and instructors for hire (April-September), and experienced yachtsmen will find all their berthing and chandlery needs as well as yacht chartering at Craobh Marina and Ardfern Yacht Centre. The Admiralty Chart 2326 “Loch Crinan to the Firth of Lorne” maps the area, but please ask marina staff about the more treacherous tidal areas.
The waters around the Firth of Lorne provide some of the best sea kayaking in the UK. There are gentle routes around some of the islands or, for the expert, strong tidal races and whirlpools. Tuition, guided tours and kayak hire are available from Sea Kayak Oban, Sea Freedom Kayak or Rowland Woollven Seafari Adventures offer a kayak taxi service with an adapted boat able to carry 9 kayaks for those wishing to take an ‘easy ride’ to more interesting places.
Argyll Sea Kayak Trail is a newly devised 150km long trail from Helensburgh to Ganavan, offering some of the best sea kayaking in Europe. Rich in wildlife, naturally diverse coastline, sheltered waters, islands, sandy beaches, caves and much more, it is everything you want from a paddling destination. Our nearest access point is Arduaine Pier.
Arduaine – Ganavan and Arduaine – Crinan Route Maps
Both sea and freshwater fishing is in abundance, and all within easy reach of Loch Melfort Hotel. Nearby lochs and rivers stock large trout and wild salmon, whilst the Firth of Lorne provides good, light shore and boat fishing as well as deep sea fishing for skate!
Fly fishing permits are available from reception, as is information on where to fish. World class trout fishing can be had at Loch Awe, where the UK record wild brown trout was caught weighing in at 31lb. Fly fishing tuition and rod hire is available at Inverawe Fisheries; a major centre for fly fishing in the area with four lochs and two river beats. Closer to the hotel is Loch Scammadale, a picturesque loch set in the hills that is known for its large brown trout.
The excellent sea fishing in the waters around Oban and Mull attracts anglers from all over the UK. There are plenty of accessible shore marks in Oban itself such as Dunollie Point, a good spot for mackerel spinning, and the salt water reaches of Loch Etive provides excellent fishing for spurdog and thornback ray. Charter boats leave Oban regularly for the deep sea marks off Mull in pursuit of skate, tope and ling. Visit Gannet day charters, Donald Maclean or Firth of Lorne Charters for more details.
Read more about fishing in the Oban area.