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The Quoile River is located on the northeast coast of Ireland within Strangford Lough’s south-western corner. The river was navigable up to Downpatrick but now a tidal barrier, situated at Quoile, makes it the end point for navigation. It offers a very good anchorage with well-maintained visitor moorings and a yacht club pontoon in a highly attractive location.

Inside the Quoile River, like many of the islands and snug creeks on the western shore, a vessel will find an anchorage that offers complete protection. 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 Quoile
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
4 metres (13.12 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
5 stars: Complete protection; all-round shelter in all reasonable conditions.



Last modified
July 18th 2018

Summary* Restrictions apply

A completely protected location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShore power available alongsideShore based toilet facilitiesShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this location


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationMarina or pontoon berthing facilitiesAnchoring locationVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: strong tides or currents in the area that require consideration



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 22.233' N, 005° 40.318' W

In the middle of the anchorage between Castle and Gibbs islands.

What are the initial fixes?

The following waypoints will set up a final approach:

(i) Quoile River Initial Fix

54° 23.614' N, 005° 38.195' W

300 metres east of ‘Town Rock’ off Killyleagh. This is a distinctive red cylindrical brick pillar marker lit QW. From here a bearing of 210°, passing Green Island to port, takes a vessel down the middle of the Quoile River.

(ii) Killyleagh Initial Fix

54° 23.573' N, 005° 37.537' W

Between Barrel and Skate Rocks that are marked by perches. It is set upon the useful transit marked on the Admiralty chart keeping Portaferry pier open upon Chapel Island.
Please note

Initial fixes only set up their listed targets. Do not plan to sail directly between initial fixes as a routing sequence.




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 Quoile for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Moore’s Point - 0.4 miles NE
  2. Between Rat & Salt Island - 0.4 miles ENE
  3. Brandy Bay - 0.6 miles NE
  4. South of Salt Island - 0.6 miles ENE
  5. Killyleagh - 1.1 miles NNE
  6. West of Jackdaw Island - 1.4 miles ENE
  7. Holm Bay - 1.6 miles NNE
  8. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 1.6 miles ENE
  9. East Down Yacht Club - 1.8 miles NNE
  10. Chapel Island - 1.8 miles ENE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Moore’s Point - 0.4 miles NE
  2. Between Rat & Salt Island - 0.4 miles ENE
  3. Brandy Bay - 0.6 miles NE
  4. South of Salt Island - 0.6 miles ENE
  5. Killyleagh - 1.1 miles NNE
  6. West of Jackdaw Island - 1.4 miles ENE
  7. Holm Bay - 1.6 miles NNE
  8. Between Jackdaw & Chapel Island - 1.6 miles ENE
  9. East Down Yacht Club - 1.8 miles NNE
  10. Chapel Island - 1.8 miles ENE
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.

Having entered Strangford Lough make for the Quoile River Initial Fix between Barrel and Skate Rocks that are both marked by perches. Barrel Rock which uncovers at low water and normally has racing Mark 4 close by lies to the north, and Skate Rock which uncovers at four hours of ebb and normally has a racing mark K close by lies to the south. A useful transit to pass between the Barrel and Skate rocks is available by looking astern on approach and keeping Portaferry pier open upon Chapel Island. The Killyleagh Initial Fix is on this transit indicated on the Admiralty chart between the rocks.

Once between Barrel and Skate rocks do not be tempted to cut directly to the river as the normally unmarked Riggs Shoal is situated in this area. Continue on to the Quoile River Initial Fix or the area immediately before it if obstructed by moored yachts.
The Quoile River Initial Fix is 300 metres east of ‘Town Rock’ off Killyleagh. This is a highly distinctive red brick pillar marker, that looks not unlike a ‘Rook’ chess piece, and is lit QW. This waypoint places the vessel outside the mouth of the River Quoile. It takes a west-southwest direction from off Killyleagh to Quoile for a distance of approximately 2.5 miles. A bearing of 210° from the waypoint, passing Green Island to port, takes a vessel down the middle of the river.
When approaching Salt Island look upriver for the highly distinctive Gibbs Island that is to the north of the anchorage. It is one of the few islands within the Lough to have trees. Indeed its’ collection of mature Scot’s Pine, resembling a sprig of broccoli, that make it clearly identifiable. Once it is located, align with the centre of the trees on the island.

The first mark to pick up after this is the Toad Stone perch off the north point of Gore’s Island.

Toad Stone perch - position: 54° 22.460’N, 005° 40.030’W

Come between Gore’s Island and Toad Stone perch, leaving Toad Stone to starboard - you will find deep water up to the mark.

The next iron beacon, with a crows nest type structure on top, marks the Gibbs Island or Scotsman’ Pladdy and it should also be left to starboard by a wide berth. Then head for a distinctive tree in the middle of Castle Island and you will find you are in the middle of the moorings.

Haven location Three yellow visitors moorings, supported by the local council, can be freely picked up. These are checked annually and are available free of charge to visiting boats.

It is possible to anchor but there could be decades of moorings and you may foul. If you do anchor it is advisable to use a tripping line and only anchor at the perimeter of the mooring area between Castle and Gibbs islands.

Alternatively, you can berth alongside the Quoile Yacht Club 40 metre pontoon situated on Castle Island to port, and in through the moorings. One last obstacle lies to starboard before tying up at the pontoon; a small Pladdy just off the pontoon. Pass through the mooring and head towards the end of the pontoon passing the Pladdy to Starboard where you will see a perch and a starboard can to the east of the Pladdy.

Boats cannot be left unattended overnight, and the maximum time on the loading bay is 1 hour. This is clearly marked and has to be kept clear. The pontoon can be very busy at weekends but space can usually be found during weekdays. Please give preference to Quoile Yacht Club members if berthing here. There is no charge for berthing but there is a donations box where your support for the club would be appreciated.

Although Quoile affords complete protection, there may be a little chop with very strong northeasterly gales, which at most would give a bumpy night. Likewise at the pontoon, if it is blowing hard you may be asked to move to a mooring to take the pressure off.


Why visit here?
Quoile is derived from the Irish: An Caol, meaning "the narrow", and is a quiet and totally secure anchorage in a highly picturesque part of Strangford Lough.

Immediately adjacent to the anchorage is the Quoile Pondage National Nature Reserve. The Pondage was created in 1957 by the construction of a tidal barrier to prevent flooding in the Downpatrick area. Soon after the barrier was built, plants and trees flourished along the former seashore making it an ideal habitat for a wide range of wildlife.

Facilities at the reserve include the Quoile Countryside Centre with displays on the wildlife and history of the area. Many of these features of historical interest are within the reserve itself, including Quoile Quay which is situated close to the Centre just beside Quoile Castle. This is a 16th century Tower house that was inhabited into the 18th century.



Another notable building of historical interest is Inch Abbey located 1.2 km north-west of Downpatrick on the north bank of the river. The abbey was originally situated on an island in what was then the Quoile Marshes and dates back to the year 800 AD. In 1002 a Viking fleet came up the Quoile and plundered the abbey. The settlement was subsequently plundered again in 1149.

Quoile is a must visit location for the cruising boatman as it has it all. It is a picturesque anchorage which offers complete protection. Immediately ashore are a number of beautiful nature walks, that include bird hides on the freshwater side, enabling you to enjoy the diversity of wildlife. All this comes with a welcoming sailing club which has good facilities, and on most Saturday nights there is a "bring your own" party.


What facilities are available?
The pontoon has water and mains electrical points. Quoile Yacht Club has a bar, toilets, showers, pay washing machine, tumble-dryer and payphone that are all available to visitors. The bar opens Saturday 1700-2300, Sunday 1500-1700, Wed after evening racing. Diesel is available from the pier head by arrangement.

There is a slipway and quay that can be used for drying out alongside and scrubbing, plus a winch that can handle vessels up to 40 foot. The nearest shops are in Downpatrick a distance of five miles that would probably require a taxi. This is a sizeable town that serves as a commercial and administrative centre for the locality.


Any security concerns?
Never a problem known to have occurred at Quoile.


With thanks to:
Brian Crawford, local Strangford Lough boatman of many decades. Photography with thanks to Albert Bridge and Paul McIlroy.


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


















Aerial views of Quoile sailing club - at 2 minutes 50 seconds in



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Add your review or comment:


Rodolphe Thimonier wrote this review on Jul 30th 2016:

The landscape around Strangford Lough being low-lying hills, the shelter from the wind is not that good in the lough, specially since the best spots are, of course, already occupied by local boats. Fortunately, the lough is not subject swell and its mud provides a firm holding.
In Quoile, the shelter is fairly good. The visitors moorings have rusty chains and a depth <3m (LWS).
Very picturesque surrounding rural landscape. The boat is moored among cows, sheeps and seals.

Average Rating: ****

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