7 days discovering Scotland’s craggy southwest coast on a luxury yacht

Oban to Mull

Lying in the southwest of Scotland is Argyll and its islands. With a coastline longer than that of France, it is an interesting area for cruising or for a Scottish superyacht charter. This beautiful land has been inhabited for thousands of years and this is evident from the ancient standing stones and castles to be found here.

A sail from Oban to Glasgow, around Scotland’s craggy southwest coast is without doubt, a memorable and exhilarating experience.

Day 1: Oban to Mull

The town of Oban, located to the west of the mainland has the best practical facilities in the area, and, nicknamed the seafood capital of Scotland, you can enjoy an array of superb seafood eateries. There are good landward travel connections and the marina has seaplane docking.

Mull, the largest island in this group, lies just across the dramatic sound that separates it from the mainland. From the picturesque harbour in Tobermory, surrounded by quaint multi-coloured houses, it’s just a short journey by road to local whisky distilleries. On Mull’s west coast you can tuck into sheltered anchorages in order to explore natural wonders such as Fingal’s Cave on the tiny island of Staffa. Here, solidified lava forms perfect hexagonal columns that tower high into the cliffs.

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Jura and Islay

Yet more distilleries beckon as you cruise further south towards Jura and Islay – both will be familiar names to whisky connoisseurs. It’s easy to go ashore and sample the famously peaty liquor as many of the coastal distilleries have moorings. It might be sensible not to imbibe too much if you plan on taking on the notorious tidal races that sweep these islands, such as the infamous whirlpool at Corryvreckan. Between Jura and Scarba a rock pinnacle rises from 200m to less than 30m from the surface at the point where the current is most constricted. With the right conditions and local knowledge, it makes for a very exciting, albeit potentially dangerous, ride in a RIB.

Picture courtesy of Scoot Photo

Crinan Canal/Mull of Kintyre

After the exhilaration of Corryvreckan, change down several gears and take in the Crinan canal, known locally as ‘the most beautiful short cut on earth.’ You’ll have to abandon your yacht for the tender if you want to take this shortcut yourself, as only small craft can take this route to Loch Fyne. Larger vessels have to take the long route south round the Mull of Kintyre. On board your tender, this is a very pleasant 9-mile inland route; otherwise enjoy the ‘wild west’ as your yacht takes the 100-mile windward route. No matter how you get there, you’ll soon be entering the Firth of Clyde, one of the largest areas of sheltered deep water in the entire British Isles.

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Loch Fyne

Loch Fyne is a name now synonymous with excellent seafood. As you reach the head of the Firth, close to the Crinan canal, the Loch Fyne Oyster bar provides moorings and is the perfect place to sample the freshest local delicacies. At the right time of year, you can venture inland to explore the ancient buildings and hills, or visit to the Highland Games at Inverary Castle.

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Isle of Arran

Right in the centre of the Firth, between Kintyre and the mainland, lies the Isle of Arran. It may not be the largest of islands, but it has an incredible variety of landscapes. Rocky mountains contrast with soft rolling hills, home to seven golf courses and 50 or so, whisky distilleries.

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Troon

Yet more treats are in store for golf lovers, in this its birthplace. The Troon Yacht Marina is a great place to berth and gain access to the nearby courses at Troon, Prestwick and Turnberry. It’s also just 10 minutes from Glasgow Prestwick airport.

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Glasgow

But if you don’t have to leave straightaway, why not continue up the Clyde. Historically, this area was famous for commercial shipbuilding; but now it’s the pleasure craft industry that is booming as more and more yachts arrive to cruise the calm waters and take in the stunning views. The City of Glasgow lies on the Clyde itself. Recent investment in regeneration has elevated this old industrial town into a truly European city. Culture lovers can also take the one-hour trip by road to Edinburgh to enjoy fine dining, or take in the best of the arts at the Edinburgh Festival in August.

Picture courtesy of Targn Pleiades/Shutterstock.com

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