The best sailing destinations in Scotland

If you don’t care much about water sports, you probably generally associate Scotland with castles, kilts and bagpipes, but if you have the teensiest bit of interest in sailing, you know what a goldmine for sailing addicts Scotland really is. The windy, rainy climate of the country is contrary to walks in the park, but not to hopping on a boat and floating along Scotland’s coastline and taking in the magnificent views of the shore. A rugged coastline, lots of lakes and hundreds of islands makes Scotland a treasure trove of sailing opportunities, so if you like the feel of a boat’s hull under your feet, here are the best sailing destinations in Scotland.

Findhorn Bay, Moray

Findhorn Bay, photo by Miketually

The village of Findhorn is surrounded by a vast natural conservation area where a large number of protected species live, but where the shores aren’t occupied by colonies of gray seals, there are lots of great sites for sailing. The sheltered waters of Findhorn Bay are especially well suited for sailing. The Royal Findhorn Yach Club has a variety of equipment, as does the Findhorn Marina.

Loch Lomond, Argyll and Bute

Loch Lomond is the largest lake in the United Kingdom, dotted with many islands and providing a dreamlike natural environment for all sorts of outdoor activities. The vast lake is perfect for sailing, and on clear summer days you can see hundreds of boats of all types navigating the lake. Bring your own boat or rent one, as there are several boat rental facilities around the loch.

Shetland Islands

Shetland, photo by Bex Ross

Shetland is at once Scottish and not Scottish at all – in some respects, the islands preserve some of the most basic elements of Scottish culture, but their distance from the mainland and various Nordic influences confer them a character of their own. There are over a dozen marinas around the islands (sailing is almost like a second nature to many Shetlanders) and 906 miles of coastline.

Skye

Skye is the northernmost of the Inner Hebrides, and one of the most fascinating destinations in Scotland where you can genuinely get in touch with the Scottish wilderness in its most unspoiled form. The wing shape of the island guarantees and extensive coastline with a variety of sights for sailors, and every hour of sailing offers an incredible variety of landscapes, from dramatic peaks to impressive cliffs.

Tarbert, Loch Fyne, Argyll and Bute

Tarbert, photo by Scott Denham

The Firth of Clyde is sheltered and its waters are deep, while the scenery is nothing short of dramatic – what more could a sailor wish from one of the best sailing destinations in Scotland? Among the many exciting destinations in the Firth, Tarbert is one of the most popular. There are various sailing facilities in the town, as well as lots of attractions for when you’re not on a boat.

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