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Schull Harbour (Skull)

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Overview





Located on Ireland’s southwest coast in Co. Cork, Schull Harbour is situated at the head of Long Island Bay in a south facing bight of the shoreline that leads out to Mizen Head. The harbour offers an anchorage with sturdy moorings, and the possibility to come alongside the busy pier or raft up to a fishing boat for a short period.

Although somewhat open to the south Schull Harbour gains a large degree of southerly protection from Long Island and in most reasonable conditions offers good shelter. However it can be uncomfortable if a strong swell is running into the bay, and with a southerly or southeasterly gale, it is untenable. On the other hand, it is more comfortable than Crookhaven in easterly and westerly winds. Supported by markers and night lights the open harbour has straightforward access on any state of the tide night or day.
Please note

Protection from southerly gales may be found immediately outside the entrance and to the north of Long Island, a distance of a mile and a half from Schull pier.




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Keyfacts for Schull Harbour (Skull)
Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair servicesScuba diving cylinder refill capabilitiesBus service available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementJetty or a structure to assist landingNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: harbour fees may be charged

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
3 metres (9.84 feet).

Approaches
4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
Shelter
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
May 9th 2018

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Water available via tapDiesel fuel available alongsideGas availableMini-supermarket or supermarket availableFuel by arrangement with bulk tanker providerSlipway availableLaundry facilities availableShowers available in the vicinity or by arrangementHot food available in the localityPublic house or wine bar in the areaMarked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationCashpoint or bank available in the areaPost Office in the areaInternet café in the areaInternet via a wireless access point availableChandlery available in the areaHaul-out capabilities via arrangementBoatyard with hard-standing available here; covered or uncoveredMarine engineering services available in the areaElectronics or electronic repair available in the areaSail making or sail repair servicesScuba diving cylinder refill capabilitiesBus service available in the areaTourist Information office availableShore based family recreation in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationBerth alongside a deep water pier or raft up to other vesselsVisitors moorings available, or possibly by club arrangementJetty or a structure to assist landingNavigation lights to support a night approachSailing Club baseScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: harbour fees may be charged



Position and approaches
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Haven position

51° 31.484' N, 009° 32.520' W

Shull harbour pierhead.

What is the initial fix?

The following Schull initial fix will set up a final approach:
51° 29.947' N, 009° 31.682' W
This is 300 metres west of the Amelia Rock Marker and on the harbour’s 346° T in-line leading through the entrance. The anchoring area in Schull Harbour is a mile and a half from here.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in southwestern Ireland’s Coastal Overview for Cork Harbour to Mizen Head 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 Schull Harbour (Skull) for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Colla Harbour - 0.8 miles SSW
  2. Long Island - 1 miles SSW
  3. Coney Island - 1 miles SW
  4. Castle Island (North Side) - 1.1 miles ESE
  5. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 1.1 miles E
  6. Castle Island (South Side) - 1.2 miles ESE
  7. Croagh Bay (Long Island Sound) - 1.3 miles SW
  8. Horse Island - 1.6 miles E
  9. Rossbrin Cove - 1.7 miles E
  10. White Strand - 2 miles SE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Colla Harbour - 0.8 miles SSW
  2. Long Island - 1 miles SSW
  3. Coney Island - 1 miles SW
  4. Castle Island (North Side) - 1.1 miles ESE
  5. Trawnwaud (Castle Island Sound) - 1.1 miles E
  6. Castle Island (South Side) - 1.2 miles ESE
  7. Croagh Bay (Long Island Sound) - 1.3 miles SW
  8. Horse Island - 1.6 miles E
  9. Rossbrin Cove - 1.7 miles E
  10. White Strand - 2 miles SE
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?
Schull Pier
Image: Tom Vaughan


Schull Harbour lies at the foot of the areas highest ground Mount Gabriel made further conspicuous by radar domes near the summit. This makes its location readily identifiable throughout the bay area. The harbour provides an excellent anchorage for leisure craft in a scenic setting.



Convergance Point Vessels intending to use Long Island Channel, on the north side of the island, between Long Island and the mainland, should use the approaches described for the the Long Island Click to view haven entry or the area overview provided in the above coastal descriptions.


South Western Approach Vessels approaching from the southwest that intend to enter Schull by the eastern channel, between Long Island and Castle Island, should range 500 metres out along the southern side of Long Island. The island is two miles long and about 500 yards wide. It rises near the middle to a modest 29 metres from where it declines to the low shelving point at its northeastern end. This is called Copper Point where a light is shown from a white 14 metre high round tower. The outer shores of Long Island are generally clear to the distance of 90 metres, except near the eastern end, within 0.8 miles of Copper Point, where the always visible Carrigeenwaun Rocks extend off 200 metres.



Once the initial fix is approached by the Amelia Rock starboard hand light-buoy that marks the rocks to the west of Castle Island, or at the northeast end of Long Island, it is safe to haul up towards the channel between Long and Castle Islands.




Southern Approach Vessels approaching from the south will find the Mount Gabriel Radar Domes in alignment with Copper Point on a bearing of 355° T clears Calf Island West.

For other approaches through the reefs and islands of Long Island Bay, careful use of charts and pilots is advised. Many of the bay’s dangers make their presence known by breakers, especially at low water, and in good weather the pilotage is interesting.




Initial fix location The Schull Initial fix is set 300 metres to the west of Amelia Rock marker and on the Schull Harbour leading lights.

Amelia Rock - G Lt buoy Fl. G. 3s position: 51° 29.979’N 009° 31.461’W

The transits, with leading lights Oc 5s, are at the head of Schull Harbour. They consist of a 5 and 8 metre high white masts positioned 91 metres apart but are difficult to distinguish by day.

Front Leading light - Oc 5s 5m 11M; 51°31.693’N, 009° 32.410’W

Once located proceed in on 346° T for the entrance a third to the east of Long Island, between it and the Castle Island, called Castle Island Grounds. Long Island’s Copper Point will be conspicuous with a light showing from a white 14 metre high round tower.

Copper Point - Lighthouse Q(3)10s 16m 8M position 51° 30.250’N 009° 32.063’W

At the convergence point of Long Island and Castle Island Channels, some protection is provided to the entrance to Schull Harbour. The harbour is entered between Coosheen Point and Skull Point, about half a mile apart, that is divided in half by Bull Rock.



The Bull Rock covers at half-tide, when its position is pointed out by a port hand light beacon. The rock runs off to the north by northeast for about 100 metres.

Bull Rock – iron beacon Fl (2) R 6s position: 51° 30.758’N 009° 32.205’W

Bull Rock may be passed on either side. The preferred approach is the 200 metres wide channel on the eastern side, between Bull Rock and the rocky ledges that extend nearly 150 to 200 metres from Coosheen Point. A berth of at least 200 metres off the Coosheen Point side is recommended. Those electing to enter on the west side of Bull Rock should make note of Baker Rock that is situated 300 metres north of Schull Point. Baker Rock is awash at low water but after that the western shore of the harbour is clear.



Once within the harbour, depths decline from 10 metres at the entrance to 3 metres at the head of the harbour. The village of Schull is situated on the western side near the head of the harbour. A conspicuous disused chimney stands on a hill on the east side of the harbour. A small pier will be seen off the village at the northwest corner of the bay, usually lit by street lights all night, with a depth of 1.5 metres alongside the seaward end.

Haven location Visiting boats may anchor in 3 metres 200 metres southeast of the pier. Anchoring vessels should not impede the approach channel south-southeast of the pier. Good holding can be found in sand and mud but it can be subject to kelp. As such it is advisable that the anchor should be well dug in with the engine. All anchored and moored vessels should carry a light throughout the night as the harbour is busy with plenty of vessels coming and going.

There are 12 visitor moorings available in the northeast corner of the harbour and below the modern holiday village. Berthing fees should be paid to Schull Watersports at the foot of the pier.

Schull moorings – position: 51° 31.500’N 009° 32.300’W.

The moorings are rated to 15 tons and are large, coloured bright yellow and labelled VISITOR.
Please note

Be careful when circling about this area. There is an unmarked rock with 0.5 metres over it close to the visitors´ buoys about 300 metres southeast of the front leading beacon. The very large buoys east of the pier are for fishing vessels only and should not be used by leisure craft.



Land at the dinghy pontoon on the pier, which can get congested during the season, or at the sailing club slipway. An alternative is a new slip, belonging to the active Fastnet Marine Education Centre, 600 metres south of the pier. A footpath leads along the shore to the town from here.
Please note

As this slip is used extensively it is important not leave a tender on the slip.





The pier is usually occupied by the harbours busy fishing fleet. On occasions, it may be possible to come alongside for short periods. The head and north side of the pier is used by fishing boats whilst the south side is utilised by the Clear Island tourist boat. If an opportunity arises come alongside at the north of the fishing boat side.


Why visit here?
Schull, pronounced Skull, derives its name from the Irish Scoil Mhuire which is believed to have originated from a medieval monastic school of which no trace remains today.

The area’s history dates back to Neolithic times when it was a centre for bronze and copper mining. The metals were extracted from the southeast slopes of Mount Gabriel by using intense heat to discharge the ore which was then hammered into shape with stone mauls. Prehistoric narrow horizontal shafts can be found today hidden amongst the bracken to the west of the Barnacleeve Gap road. Copper mining continued into the 19th-century on the east side of the harbour, as well as on Horse Island, and to the northeast of Rossbrin. The ore was then exported to Swansea.


Schull is a major yachting centre
Image: Ludovic Péron


Today Schull it is a remote picturesque fishing town that is regarded as one of West Cork's most popular tourist destinations. As such it comes to life during the summer months when a large number of tourists and yachtsmen visit. This is catered for by a wealth of activities to enjoy including a variety of water sports, pony trekking, walking in the wonderful countryside, with plenty of wildlife flora and fauna and archaeology to explore. There are many pubs and bars that provide a variety of music, and several fine restaurants for that all important good meal. The area is particularly notable for a number of local cheese making farms that make for an interesting visit plus Schull has Ireland’s only Planetarium with Star Shows throughout the summer.

Most of all Schull is a centre for a wide variety of waterborne activities such as windsurfing, kayaking, scuba diving, and sea angling trips by boats operating off the pier. There is a thriving local diving club that welcomes visiting divers, plus canoeing with boats available for rent, and tuition can be supplied if required. It is also the home of a very active sailing club and visiting yachtsmen are invited to take part in their organised events including the Schull Regatta. This is now the high point of a weeks racing, colloquially known as ‘Calves Week’, that is recognised as a major event in the Irish racing calendar. This is held during the week following the August Bank Holiday weekend. Another annual event that is held during the second week of July is ‘The Fastnet International Schools Regatta’. Attracting young sailors from all over Europe and beyond, it holds an excellent reputation within the international sailing community.

Schull is truly a lovely spot with much to offer the visiting yachtsmen. The harbour provides an excellent anchorage in a scenic setting and it is free from danger except for a single well-marked rock at the entrance. It should be considered one of the 'must visits' on the southwest corner of Ireland.


What facilities are available?
Facilities include water from a tap at the foot of the pier, chandlery, laundry and ice. Rubbish may be disposed of at the sailing centre. Showers are available at one of the hotels by arrangement with the Harbour Master who will also help with diesel and petrol requirements - via cans from five miles distant Ballydehob. Gas can be obtained from the town, and Wi-Fi coverage is available in the harbour area. There is a slip that dries at LWS and a place to land for tenders sail repairs. A boatyard with storage, slips, and boat launching facilities, caters for repairs and maintenance work. There is also a very active Sailing Club in the harbour. Most of the shoreside resources can be discovered on Schull's website.

Schull village, situated on the west side near the head of the harbour, offers visiting yachtsmen many facilities, with a variety of shops. These include two small supermarkets, a launderette, grocers, butchers, bakers, delicatessen/coffee shops, internet cafe, pharmacy and an excellent book shop plus local craft shops. There is also a Bank, ATM machine and a Post Office. There is a very large number of eating and drinking establishments in Schull with a wide range of price and food options. Taxi services are available in the area, and the route 237 bus service calls three times a day serving Cork-Clonakilty-Skibbereen-Schull’ (a distance of approximately 100km). Throughout the summer daily ferry trips leave the harbour pier taking visitors on trips to Sherkin Island, Cape Clear, Fastnet Rock and several smaller islands in the bay.


Any security concerns?
Never an issue known to have occurred in Schull Harbour.


With thanks to:
Burke Corbett, Gusserane, New Ross, Co. Wexford. Photography with thanks to Mike Searle, Richard Webb, Francesco Crippa, Martin Southwood, Burke Corbett, Andrew Wood, Dr Bryan Lynch and Emma Cooney.


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Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
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Aerial overview of Schull Harbour

The following video presents an overview of the Schull area and sailing club.




The following video presents views of West Cork including Schull Harbour.




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