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Cross Roads

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Overview





Cross Roads is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, on the western shore of Strangford Lough’s narrows. The location offers a little-used traditional coaster anchorage where a vessel may anchor and stay-aboard in a quiet location in the middle of Strangford Narrows.

Cross Roads is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, on the western shore of Strangford Lough’s narrows. The location offers a little-used traditional coaster anchorage where a vessel may anchor and stay-aboard in a quiet location in the middle of Strangford Narrows.

Cross Roads provides a good anchorage that is protected from almost all winds except the general Narrows exposure, northeast – southeast, with very secure holding out of the main tidal stream. Within The Narrows, it would require a force six or more from the exposed quadrants to make a location become uncomfortable as there is little or no fetch. Although the entrance to Strangford Lough and Narrows is well marked, access requires careful navigation owing to exceptional currents.



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Keyfacts for Cross Roads
Facilities
None listed


Nature
Remote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring location

Considerations
Restriction: landing not recommended, possible or permitted hereNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
8 metres (26.25 feet).

Approaches
2 stars: Careful navigation; good visibility and conditions with dangers that require careful navigation.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
September 23rd 2022

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with careful navigation required for access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
Remote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring location

Considerations
Restriction: landing not recommended, possible or permitted hereNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 20.952' N, 005° 32.636' W

Upon the alignment track of the Cross Roads anchor beacon and the Tully Hill white pillar beacon where it intersects the nine metre contour.

What is the initial fix?

The following Strangford Lough Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
54° 18.226' N, 005° 29.492' W
Two miles out from the Angus Rock Lighthouse, a white tower with a red top Fl. R. 5s 15m 6M. It is situated upon the 323° leading line provided by the tower in-line with the Cross Roads anchorage beacon that is a grey stone pillar. It is just over half a mile southwest of the Strangford Light buoy (safe water marker L Fl.10s) and it leads into the Lough’s preferred East Channel.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details for vessels approaching Strangford Lough from the north are available in the northeast Ireland’s coastal overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location. Details for vessels approaching from the south are available in eastern Ireland’s coastal overview for Strangford Lough to Dublin Bay Route location. Details of the approaches, tidal timings and the run up the Narrows to about a ½ mile below Strangford are covered in the Entering and exiting the Strangford Narrows Route location.


Not what you need?
Click the 'Next' and 'Previous' buttons to progress through neighbouring havens in a coastal 'clockwise' or 'anti-clockwise' sequence. Below are the ten nearest havens to Cross Roads for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Kilclief Bay - 0.8 nautical miles SSE
  2. Strangford Harbour (Strangford Village) - 1.5 nautical miles NNW
  3. Portaferry - 1.8 nautical miles N
  4. Audley's Roads - 1.9 nautical miles NNW
  5. Audley’s Point - 2.4 nautical miles NNW
  6. Ballyhenry Bay - 2.5 nautical miles NNW
  7. Chapel Island - 2.7 nautical miles NW
  8. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 2.9 nautical miles NW
  9. West of Jackdaw Island - 3 nautical miles NW
  10. South of Salt Island - 3.8 nautical miles WNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Kilclief Bay - 0.8 miles SSE
  2. Strangford Harbour (Strangford Village) - 1.5 miles NNW
  3. Portaferry - 1.8 miles N
  4. Audley's Roads - 1.9 miles NNW
  5. Audley’s Point - 2.4 miles NNW
  6. Ballyhenry Bay - 2.5 miles NNW
  7. Chapel Island - 2.7 miles NW
  8. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 2.9 miles NW
  9. West of Jackdaw Island - 3 miles NW
  10. South of Salt Island - 3.8 miles WNW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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Chart
Please use our integrated Navionics chart to appraise the haven and its approaches. Navionics charts feature in premier plotters from B&G, Raymarine, Magellan and are also available on tablets. Open the chart in a larger viewing area by clicking the expand to 'new tab' or the 'full screen' option.

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What's the story here?
Cross Roads and Cloghy Point
Image: Michael Harpur


Cross Road lies on the west shore of the Narrows, ¾ of a mile above Kilclief castle and about a ½ mile southward of Cloghy Point. The drying embayment has a shoulder of rock at its southern end and a further one off of Cloghy Point at its northern end. The foul ground off Cloghy Point has the Cloghy Rocks out to more than 200 metres which pushes the tidal streams out from the shoreline and creates the pocket of water out of the tide-way. This creates an excellent anchorage in Cross Roads that has been used for centuries.

Cross Roads provides an excellent anchorage over a solid sandy bottom that provides excellent holding.


How to get in?
The southern approaches to Cross Roads
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Details of the approaches, tidal timings and the run up the Narrows to about a ½ below Strangford are covered in the Entering and exiting the Strangford Narrows Route location route description. Continue on this track past Kilclief Castle, on the western shore, bears 265° T when the Meadows Shoal, an area with just over 2 metres of cover, has been safely passed to port.

The Gowland and Salt Rock beacons ½ above Cross roads
Image: Michael Harpur


From there take a mid-channel route up the Narrows until the Dogtail Point Front Strangford Lough Leading Lights beacon comes abrest off the eastern shore. Then sound in northwestward under Cloghy Point the road will be seen fronting the head of the bay. Prepare to anchor when the Salt Rock Beacon is due north (½ a mile distant). The inner section of the bay dries and it has a very steep shelf stepping up from the 5-metre contour.
Please note

Do not overshoot as the rocks off Cloghy Point extend out more than 200 metres and dry to 3 metres. The helm should pay careful attention to steerage when passing from the main tidal streams of the fairway into the comparative slack water of the inner bay.




Anchor over a bottom of compacted sand
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Anchor aught and conditions over a bottom of compacted sand that provides excellent holding out of the Narrow's tidal streams.

It is possible to land on the gravelly shore by tender but Cross Roads is essentially a stay-aboard anchorage.


Why visit here?
Cross Roads is a historic Narrows commercial shipping anchorage located at the midpoint of the narrows which is surely why it acquired its name.


The embayment inside Cross Roads at the centre of the narrows
Image: Michael Harpur


Arriving in longboats and broaching these fast-flowing waters the Vikings bestowed the area its name Strangfjörthr, 'place of strong currents'. This Narrows part is 5 miles long, 500 metres wide (at its narrowest point) and up to 60 metres deep, which is a natural phenomenon. The twice-a-day tidal rise of more than three metres pushes 350 million tonnes of water at up to 4 metres a second through this deep constricted channel every six hours.


The Routen Wheel situated ⅔ of a mile above Cross Roads
Image: Michael Harpur


Nowhere can this power be seen more than at The Routen Wheel situated ⅔ of a mile above Cross Roads and approximately 500 metres south of Rue Point. The two respective stone beacons of Salt Rock and Gowland Island, locally known as the pepper pots, mark the southern approaches to the whirlpool about 200 metres above and on the east side of the fairway. It is here that the outgoing tidal stream attains its fastest rate of 7.5 knots at springs. It can be seen in a series of whirlpools, boils and swirling waters, which are caused by a ledge extension from the point and pinnacles of rock on the seabed. The Routen Wheel is identifiable as a seething surface rip and is much more turbulent on the ebb tide than the flood. It is one of the features that make The Narrows an extraordinary sailing and boat handling experience and one that leisure boaters should take due caution when approaching.


Southbound yacht passing The Routen Wheel with the Gowland Beacon in the backdrop
Image: Michael Harpur


Today The Narrows is a marine nature reserve of unparalleled beauty that provides a boatman with magnificent world heritage cruising in unspoilt surroundings. Cross Road is an interesting location to await a tide or spend a night in an out-of-the-way location at the heart of The Narrows itself.


It is possible to land but there is nothing ashore save road access
Image: Michael Harpur


From a boating perspective, Cross Roads offers a respite from the Narrows currents with good deep water holding and direct and immediate access to the gateway to Strangford Lough when needed. It offers a convenient quiet set-down area lying just outside the Strangford Harbour fees paying area.


What facilities are available?
Cross Roads is a stay-aboard anchorage with nowhere to land and no local facilities.


Any security concerns?
Never a problem known to have occurred in Cross Roads.


With thanks to:
Brian Crawford, local Strangford Lough boatman of many decades.







The Routen Wheel



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