We visited the Firth of Clyde on our recent charter holiday and I particularly liked this anchorage so I decided to write an article about it.
Scotland is known for its wild countryside and many islands and Caladh Harbour is a perfect example. Caladh Harbour is nestled between steep Scottish hills and Eilean Dubh in the Kyles of Bute, a small forested island with rocky cliffs. This harbour is perfect to shelter in from bad weather. Caladh is Gaelic for harbour so Caladh Harbour literally means harbour harbour – clearly referencing its sheltered waters.
Being Scotland there is no charge to visit Caladh Harbour. The anchorage is between Eilean Dubh and a shallow bay in the mainland. It is quite a cosy anchorage with space for up to 4 or 5 boats. The harbour is sheltered from all angles apart from South Westerly gales.
The approach to the harbour is from the south, just keep the large white beacon to port and go mid channel to avoid the rocks. Holding is very good between the bay and Eilean Dubh however watch out as the west side dries a considerable way at low water. Anchoring is in 3 meters of water but be careful of kelp as there is some which could clog up your anchor. If the anchorage is full it is possible to anchor east of the southern entrance beacon in 3-5 meters of water – but be careful of the spit extending about 100 meters south to the west of the entrance. If the wind is from the south west, I recommend anchoring in Wreck Bay next to the Burnt Isles.
There are, as with any remote Scottish anchorage, no facilities ashore however there is a small slipway for the tender on the mainland. Eilean Dubh means Black Isle, which we thought was not an apt name due to the huge amount of bracken and Rhododendrons on the north side. There are paths on the south side but when we visited we didn’t notice them and we made our way through the tall bracken and shrubs until we hit a path.
On the mainland there are well maintained paths around what used to be the estate of a large country house which was blown up in a military exercise due to its rampant dry rot. It is well worth climbing the steep hill to get to a viewpoint (marked on OS maps) of the whole of East Kyle, Loch Riddon and even Largs. Since we visited the viewpoint the amazing view seemed to pop up everywhere – it was even on an advertisement for Portavadie Marina some 20 minute drive away.
Caladh harbour is a tranquil anchorage with an abundance of wildlife. Porpoises swim to the south of the anchorage, seals often bask on the rocks and deer come right down to the water. Keep a good lookout for the Herons on Eilean Dubh as many love to swoop around the cliffs there.