What is the route?
- • Outside The Calf rock
- • Outside The Bull rock
- • Outside Great Skellig
- • Outside Great Foze Rock
- • Outside Tearaght Island
The preceding southwestern coast's set of waypoints and coastal description is available by clicking 'Previous', above, and vessels planning on continuing northwards, into the Shannon and beyond, can find the following sets of waypoints and coastal descriptions by clicking 'Next'.
Why sail this route?This is a coastal sequence for cruisers who want to stay out in safe water but easily turn in and explore the simply beautiful islands, deep bays and estuaries this coast has to offer.
What are the navigational notes?
The ninety miles of coastline between Mizen Head and Loop Head is characterised by bold mountainous peninsulas with deeply indented bays. Taking the full violence of the North Atlantic’s prevailing gales it is subject to heavy seas and swell.
This has created an irregular broken aspect, indented with several deep bays and estuaries that make it a perfect cruising haven. The deep inlets abound in safe anchorages with easy access and navigation is relatively easy as, although the headlands are fringed with outlying rocks and islands, they have deep water close to them with few hidden dangers. The area is also particularly beautiful; most of the coast is bordered by rock and cliff shorelines, with some of the headlands, bays and coves fringed with white sandy beaches. The coastal area to the north of Sybil Point has an added accent on the white sandy beaches lapped by turquoise waters and is outstandingly beautiful.
Offshore dangers and islands are few off this coastline. Dursey Island resides immediately west of its promontory with The Bull that has several detached rocks in its vicinity. The Skelligs, consisting of two conspicuous pinnacle rocky islets, lie about fourteen miles northwest of The Bull. Little Skellig also has the Lemon Rock sea stack a couple miles to the northeast.
The great tidal wave from the Atlantic Ocean splits a little to the south of the Skelligs, and sets in two separate paths around the island of Ireland. One part goes to the north, sweeping round the northwest coasts and enters the Irish Sea by the North Channel. The other part goes to the east, rounding Cape Clear to enter the Irish Sea by the South Channel. Seven hours after the separation occurred the two streams flow together again in the vicinity of St. John’s Point, to the south of Strangford Lough. Along the west and south coasts the stream is weak seldom exceeding a maximum of 1 to 1.5 knots, but as the Irish Sea’s constricting north and south channels are approached the flows acquire a higher velocity. This is particularly the case in the North Channel, where it runs at a rate of 6 knots on springs.
Cruisers should pay particular attention to the areas excellent weather forecasting and not risk a gale at sea; over what would most likely be a lee shore. On the first appearance of a change, seek shelter in one of the host of harbours the coast has to offer. Marine farming in and around this coastal area is rapidly growing. Large steel-jointed fish cages with tubular rubber sides, are marked on the charts but may be placed anywhere, and the structures are hardly visible. Each cage is required to be marked by two yellow flashing lights and a radar reflector.
The complete course is 94.93 miles from the waypoint '½ a mile southwest of Mizen Head' to '2 miles west of Loop Head' tending in a northerly direction (reciprocal southerly).
½ a mile southwest of Mizen Head, 51° 26.580' N, 009° 50.040' W
This is immediately outside the races that form, in both directions, of Mizen Head. The headland is made conspicuous lighthouse on a concrete platform, Iso.W 4s 44m 15M, with the lantern visible 313° - 133° T.
► Next waypoint: 17.31 miles, course ⇓ 293.94°T (reciprocal ⇑ 113.94°T)
½ a mile southwest of The Calf, 51° 33.552' N, 010° 15.468' W
This is a 21 metres high rock that lies ¾ of a mile to the southwest of Dursey Head. Calf, with its off-lying Heifer about half its size and height, has a red unlighted iron pillar and the stub of a lighthouse destroyed in 1881.
► Next waypoint: 3.46 miles, course ⇓ 304.74°T (reciprocal ⇑ 124.74°T)
1 mile west of the Bull Rock, 51° 35.520' N, 010° 20.040' W
This 89 metres high remote and mighty pyramid shaped rock that that lies 2½ miles west-northwest of Dursey Head. Detached rocks lie out to 600 metres west from The Bull, terminating at the 6.1 metres high Gull Rock. Bull Rock Light, Fl 15s W Vis 220°-186° (326°), a white 15 metres tower stands on the seaward side of The Bull.
► Next waypoint: 14.42 miles, course ⇓ 317.38°T (reciprocal ⇑ 137.38°T)
2 miles west of Great Skellig, 51° 46.108' N, 010° 35.810' W
The 214 metres Great Skellig shows a light, from a 12 metre high white tower Fl (3) 15s, that stands on the islands southwestern extremity. The light is sectored to cover Little Skellig and Lemon Rock, West Vis 262°-115° (213°), the inshore dangers.
► Next waypoint: 16.12 miles, course ⇓ 341.67°T (reciprocal ⇑ 161.67°T)