This location offers good shelter in winds between northwest round through west to southeast, and it offers much better protection from the swell than any of the lough's anchorages further north. Straightforward navigation is required for access which is possible at any state of the tide, in all reasonable conditions in daylight, as the bay's central above-water rock has to be identified.
Keyfacts for Macamish Bay
SummaryA good location with straightforward access.
Position and approaches
Haven position55° 8.326' N, 007° 31.415' W
this is the position of the anchorage in Macamish Bay
What is the initial fix?
What are the key points of the approach?
Not what you need?
- Buncrana - 2.2 nautical miles ESE
- Scraggy Bay - 2.6 nautical miles NW
- Rathmullan - 2.6 nautical miles S
- Dunree Bay - 3.3 nautical miles N
- The Lough Swilly Marina - 3.5 nautical miles SSE
- Crummie's Bay - 4 nautical miles NNW
- Portsalon - 5.2 nautical miles NW
- Lenan Bay - 6.1 nautical miles N
- Ramelton - 7.3 nautical miles SW
- Pincher Bay - 8.9 nautical miles NNW
What's the story here?
Image: Graham Wilkinson
Macamish Bay is a small isolated inlet located on the Fanad Peninsula in the north of Ireland about 3 miles southeast of Knockalla Point. The bay is entered between Lambs Head and Macamish Point a distance of less than a ½ mile. The anchorage lies in the south part of the bay to the west of Macamish Point, with approximately 3 metres depth.
Macamish Bay is sheltered from the southwest through to north and is subject to much less swell than the lough's anchorages further north. It is exposed to easterly winds and to the swell across the Lough which can make life uncomfortable when moored.
How to get in?
Image: Tourism Ireland
Approach details are available in northwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Erris Head to Malin Head . A useful set of waypoints for the run up lough can be found in the Lough Swilly route .
The bay is easily identified by the conspicuous Macamish Martello Tower which stands on the north end of Macamish Point. The bay itself is bordered by cliffs, has a rock-strewn shoreline and a central rock that is fairly steep too and always shows.
Deeper draft vessels should note that a ledge with 1.7 metres of cover extends northeastward from the rock. Approach from the northeast either side of this ledge and the helm should expect a strong tidal run across the entrance.
Image: Kevin Flanagan
The preferred berth is close west of the Martello Tower, between it and the above-water rock in the centre of the bay, where a depth of 5 metres will be found. Alternatively proceed further in towards the beach and anchor according to draft. Another alternative is to the northwest of the rock.
Good sand holding will be found throughout. Land on the beach.
Why visit here?Macamish Bay is a lovely escape to a shoreline littered with rocky shoals and a clear open sandy beach. The head of the bay is divided by a large rocky outcrop but a dinghy landing on the beach for a picnic or to explore the surroundings is essential.
Image: Willie Duffin via CC BY-SA 2.0
Set on a rocky outcrop at the head of Macamish Point the Martello Tower was originally entered by a drawbridge. The structure had a single gun on the tower plus a battery covering the lough that mounted three guns. After the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, the defences were neglected and completely obsolete when the fort was disarmed in the 1860s. The tower is today a private residence, and the land adjoining the beach is part of the 9 hole Otway Golf Club that is one of Ireland’s five oldest links courses, having been there since 1893.
Image: Donegal Cottage Holidays
From a sailing point of view, this is one of the finest anchorages in Lough Swilly. As there are no villages on the coast of Macamish Bay the anchorage is usually a quiet, peaceful and uncrowded location. It is a lovely scenic bay in which to drop anchor for an overnight stay before proceeding onwards to busier harbours around the Lough.
Image: Kevin Flanagan
What facilities are available?There are no facilities whatsoever at Macamish Bay and the nearest harbour for re-stocking of provisions is at Rathmullan approximately 2½ miles to the south.
With thanks to:eOceanic.
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