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Mill Bay

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Overview





Mill Bay is a small village, on the eastern shore of Larne Lough, which is situated on the northeast coast of Ireland. Located about two miles within the lough it provides a secluded anchorage where a boat may anchor off an old drying pier.

Mill Bay is a small village, on the eastern shore of Larne Lough, which is situated on the northeast coast of Ireland. Located about two miles within the lough it provides a secluded anchorage where a boat may anchor off an old drying pier.

Mill Bay offers good shelter within the enclosed waterway of Larne Lough. However, being located in the southeast corner of the lough, it is somewhat exposed to a fetch that can develop across the large expanse of water to the northwest. Access is straightforward as Larne Lough may be approached day or night, at any stage of the tide and in all reasonable conditions. Outside of the harbour area, navigation aids become scarce but the trek down to the anchorage is via a deep channel off the shore with no obstructions.



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Keyfacts for Mill Bay
Facilities
Slipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
2 metres (6.56 feet).

Approaches
3 stars: Attentive navigation; daylight access with dangers that need attention.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
December 15th 2022

Summary* Restrictions apply

A good location with attentive navigation required for access.

Facilities
Slipway availableHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationSet near a village or with a village in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pierNote: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location



Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 49.380' N, 005° 45.488' W

This is in 1.7 metres of water about 400 metres west by southwest of the pier.

What is the initial fix?

The following Larne Harbour Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
54° 51.580' N, 005° 47.550' W
Half a mile north of the harbour and approximately midway between Larne No. 1 and No. 2 Light buoys. This is set upon the leading lights alignment of 184.3° T that leads through the centre of the entrance channel.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in the northeast Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Malin Head to Strangford Lough Route location.
  • Approach directions to the Lough are available in Larne Harbour Click to view haven.

  • Track down along the deep water channel that follows the western side of Islandmagee’s shoreline to Mill Bay.


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 Mill Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Ballydowan - 0.4 nautical miles NNW
  2. Magheramorne Point - 0.5 nautical miles WSW
  3. Larne Harbour - 1.3 nautical miles NW
  4. Portmuck - 1.8 nautical miles NE
  5. Brown’s Bay - 2 nautical miles NNW
  6. Ferris Bay - 2 nautical miles NNW
  7. Whitehead - 4.7 nautical miles SSE
  8. Ballygalley Bay - 5.8 nautical miles NW
  9. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 7 nautical miles SSW
  10. Greenisland - 8.5 nautical miles SSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Ballydowan - 0.4 miles NNW
  2. Magheramorne Point - 0.5 miles WSW
  3. Larne Harbour - 1.3 miles NW
  4. Portmuck - 1.8 miles NE
  5. Brown’s Bay - 2 miles NNW
  6. Ferris Bay - 2 miles NNW
  7. Whitehead - 4.7 miles SSE
  8. Ballygalley Bay - 5.8 miles NW
  9. Carrickfergus Harbour & Marina - 7 miles SSW
  10. Greenisland - 8.5 miles SSW
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?
Mill Bay with its old quay on its southern projection
Image: Michael Harpur


Mill Bay, also historically known as Carnspindle Bay, is a small drying bay inside Lough Larne, on the western shore of Islandmagee and about 2 miles to the southeast of Larne Harbour. The bay is formed by a projection of the coast immediately to the south that has a derelict old stone pier at its head. In the immediate area above is a cluster of about 40 houses that are home to about a hundred people.


The view from the head of the old stone pier
Image: Michael Harpur


The nook in the Lough Larne offers a quiet anchorage with good holding, very little tidal flow and convenient landings off the old pier which dries or a nearby slip.


How to get in?
The run from Larne Harbour to Mill Bay
Image: Michael Harpur


Convergance Point Use the directions for Larne Harbour Click to view haven for approaches and entry to Lough Larne. After entering the harbour continue south past Ballylumford Power Station and its pier, between the L-shaped 'A' wharf and No.7 buoy, and then along the western shore of Islandmagee.



The shoreline of Islandmagee has deep water beyond Ballydowan
Image: Michael Harpur


Here the eastern shore of the inner Lough is covered by a gravelly foreshore that dries up to 200 metres off. Outside of this there is a 200-metre wide channel that carries at least 6 metres of water for a ½ mile. Close after the Larne Lough's yellow buoy is passed to starboard it falls to 4 metres and then to about 2 metres abreast of Ballydowan where local boats will be seen moored.

Larne Lough - Buoy Yellow Fl.Y.5s position: 54° 49.901' N, 005° 46.481' W

Mill Bay is situated a ½ mile further along and 1.5 metres will be found all the way in the channel although it shallows in the final approaches to the bay.


Anchor off to the southwest of the pier
Image: Michael Harpur


Haven location Boats drawing up to 2 metres should keep at least 300 metres away from the pier. Boats drawing 1.5 metres or less may come in as close as about 100 metres off the end of the pier. There is good holding in both locations and very little tidal flow. Boats that can take to the bottom may be able to dry alongside the old pier but inspect the bottom first.


The old pier dries at low water beyond its head
Image: Michael Harpur


A landing can be made at a slip on the north side of the bay or at the pier itself. The old pier dries out beyond the head at low water springs.


Why visit here?
Mill Bay is a small pier with a cluster of houses overlooking Larne Lough. It is often called Carnspindle Bay, as it lies within the townland of Carnspindle.


Mill Bay is a quiet out of the way rural retreat
Image: Michael Harpur


Carnspindle derives its name from Irish 'Carn Spinnil', meaning 'cairn (marker) of the sandbank'. The ruin of the old stone pier and its associated buildings date back to 1839. It was erected to support local fishing craft but it was also used by a ferry and traders docked and unloaded coal on the quay.


The old the old stone pier and associated buildings were erected in 1839
Image: Michael Harpur


Today Mill Bay is a quiet backwater that offers the boater a secluded anchorage hidden away behind the gentle gradients of Islandmagee’s western shore deep within the lower Lough’s sheltered waters. It is a place to get away from the hurly-burly associated with the busy harbour.


The old piers of the gated yard belonging to pier
Image: Michael Harpur


On a sunny day, the old pier or the enclosure formed by its old walls makes for the perfect place to have a picnic. Reportedly, there is a mussel and oyster farm located in the vicinity where it is said its produce may be purchased directly from the owner including crab and lobster.

The enclosure formed by the old walls of Mill Bay's pier
Image: Michael Harpur


There is also the option of the local cosy friendly family-run country-style pub a short walk away. This offers an extensive bar snack menu featuring local produce.


What facilities are available?
There is a slip and a pier but little else. A friendly pub serves the small population that surrounds the harbour in a cluster of about 50 houses with a population of less that 100 people, but there are no shops. The small village of Mullaghboy one mile away, has basic provisions to serve its population of about 300 people, and a café that also serves good food. Almost everything else is available in nearby Larne harbour.


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


With thanks to:
Terence Stitt, Portmuck Harbour Master.







Magheramourne to Millbay aerial view



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