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Kilclief Bay

Tides and tools
Overview





Kilclief Bay is located on the northeast coast of Ireland, on the western shore of Strangford Lough’s narrows. The location provides the first anchorage opportunity inside the ‘Narrows’ in a quiet location.

Kilclief provides a good anchorage that is protected from almost all winds except from 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. The enclosed stretch of water provides shelter sailing in all weather, all tides and has ample marks to make daylight navigation straightforward.



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Keyfacts for Kilclief Bay
Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tender

Considerations
Restriction: strong to overwhelming tides in the localityNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 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
July 18th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with careful navigation required for access.

Facilities
None listed


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tender

Considerations
Restriction: strong to overwhelming tides in the localityNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 20.130' N, 005° 32.330' W

500 metres west of the Kilclief Castle in 3 metres.

What is the initial fix?

The following Strangford Lough Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
54° 18.266' 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 Kilclief Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Cross Roads - 0.5 miles NNW
  2. Strangford Harbour (Strangford Village) - 1.4 miles NNW
  3. Portaferry - 1.6 miles N
  4. Audley's Roads - 1.7 miles NNW
  5. Audley’s Point - 2 miles NNW
  6. Ballyhenry Bay - 2 miles NNW
  7. Chapel Island - 2.2 miles NW
  8. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 2.3 miles NW
  9. West of Jackdaw Island - 2.3 miles NW
  10. South of Salt Island - 2.7 miles WNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Cross Roads - 0.5 miles NNW
  2. Strangford Harbour (Strangford Village) - 1.4 miles NNW
  3. Portaferry - 1.6 miles N
  4. Audley's Roads - 1.7 miles NNW
  5. Audley’s Point - 2 miles NNW
  6. Ballyhenry Bay - 2 miles NNW
  7. Chapel Island - 2.2 miles NW
  8. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 2.3 miles NW
  9. West of Jackdaw Island - 2.3 miles NW
  10. South of Salt Island - 2.7 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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How to get in?
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 until you see Kilclief Castle on the western shore, bear 265° T when the ‘Meadows Shoal’, an area with just over 2 metres of cover, has been safely passed to port.

The castle is a tall, four storey's high tower-house, (sometimes called the gatehouse type because of its castle gatehouse aspect) and will be unmistakable. Also, you will most likely see a handful of boats on moorings there.

Track in to the inner bay paying careful attention to steerage when passing from the main tidal streams of the fairway into the comparative slack water of the inner bay.

Haven location Anchor in a depth to your preference where you will find excellent holding in muddy gravel that is out of the main run of the ‘Narrows’ tidal streams.

Kilclief has a nice small hard sandy beach to land on.


Why visit here?
Kilclief (locally kill-leaf) Bay offers the cruising boatman the first anchoring opportunity inside the Strangford entrance with the possibility to land. It is also an area of historical interest and beauty.

A family on Kilclief beach
Image: Tourism Ireland


Kilclief's dominating early tower-house castle was built between 1413 and 1441 as the residence for John Sely Bishop of Down. The tall four-storied building, with its square projecting turrets, high arch and spiral staircases, is the earliest known tower house in County Down. It has an unusual gatehouse style, echoed in Ardglass and nearby Audley's Castle.

The building was the centre of scandal from the outset when the bishop was found to be living there with Lettice Whailey Savage, a married woman. The Pope stripped Bishop Sely of the seat of Down and in 1443 he was ejected and deprived of his offices. The castle was later garrisoned for the Crown by Nicholas Fitzsimmons and ten warders in 1601 for a short time. By the 18th-century the castle was thatched and became part of a farm, and was recently used as a farm granary. It is now in state care and guided tours are available on request.

It is open July and August (closed on Mondays). A board outside the castle tells where you can obtain a key should you want access or phone +4428 9181 1491 for details. Admission is free and children under 16 years must be accompanied by an adult for safety reasons. Visitors should also take in the nearby parish church that has medieval coffin lids on display.

The Kilclief shoreline is characterised by rocky and sandy coves with views across the Narrows and across to Angus Rock lighthouse, passed whilst entering. It is a popular summer bathing spot with pleasant rock pools covered in colourful lichens and a variety of interesting seaweeds at low water, particularly on the lower shore. Above the beach big white daisies called Seaside Mayweed which flower in late summer, (not May as the name suggests), are in abundance.

Kilclief is the ideal place to take time out to sit for a while and look over the Strangford Narrows, watch the seafaring birds, including terns which breed in the Lough, and enjoy the remote location.


What facilities are available?
Kilclief is situated on the A2 Strangford to Ardglass road with a parking area just above the beach. There is a small village of the same name to the south but apart from that there are no local facilities and the nearest village of any size is Strangford 2.5 miles (4km) to the north.


Any security concerns?
Never a problem known to have occurred in Kilclief Bay.


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


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.






Kilclief and Angus Rock aerial




Sunrise at Kilclief beach



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