The beauty of the West Coast of Scotland is plain to see right in front of Loch Melfort.
And there is a wealth of activities and adventures awaiting you at sea, some of which are detailed below.
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.
Loch Melfort Hotel has four free moorings for vessels up to 40ft. The moorings operate on a first come first served basis and landing is via a well-maintained slipway with ropes and after that it’s just a 5 minute walk to the hotel.
Sea trips and wildlife spotting
Wildlife sea trips are a must and go out all year, sea state permitting. The Corryvreckan Whirpool is the centrepiece. There are plenty of local boat operators offering day or half day trips along the coast and up to the Inner Hebrides (including Sealife Adventures and Seafari Adventures Oban, or Jenny Wren Boat Charter in nearby Craobh Haven Marina). The Scottish Sea Life Sanctuary near Oban allows you to get better acquainted with a range of sea mammals and rarer species.
Sea fishing is excellent in the area, with deep sea wreck and reef fishing almost certain to provide a good catch. Scottish records have been broken in these parts. Sea angling is free in local sea lochs (the Sound of Kerrera is a good angling spot), and if you don’t want to venture too far, line fishing in the sea just outside the hotel is where you want to be.
Kayaking and canoeing
Now for something a little more active, sea kayaking and canoeing are a fantastic way to discover the area. Sea kayaking and canoeing are just as enjoyable in winter as in the summer. Picture making your way through calm loch and coastal waters, as you admire the still landscapes and wildlife on water and land. Whales, dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, sea eagles, peregrine falcons and buzzards, seals and otters can all be spotted around these shores, making a trip out to the sea lochs or to the sea a real treat and a unique experience.
Argyll Sea Kayak Trail is a 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.
Kayak Majik own a fleet of stand-up paddle boards and can offer tuition in this very popular new water sport for individuals or groups of up to 8. Why not get started with a 2hr ‘taster’? You could even book a 2 day course which culminates in a loch or river, wildlife seeking journey
The Firth of Lorne is a Special Area of Conservation and as such is a major UK centre for diving. As well as interesting and rare marine life, spectacular wall and reef dives, there are also many wrecks including World War Two vessels. There are also plenty of tidal races such as the spectacularFalls of Lora and the mazelike Grey Dogs at Scarba which offer more challenging dives for experienced divers. Contact Porpoise Diving or Puffin Dive Centre for further information.
For more inspiration on what to do and where to go in Argyll, visit www.wildaboutargyll.co.uk, the guide to Scotland’s Adventure Coast.