St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

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St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby Mark R » Sat Jul 12, 2008 3:30 pm

Don't know if this is of any use to anyone - I collated it from various sources, mainly the Admiralty and Imray pilots - to save me from having to carry an extra two hefty books next week.

Probably riddled with typos/mistakes, so don't use it for anything like, um, navigating at sea.

Mark Rainsley
--------

Pilot info – SW Scotland

MOD Firing ranges

Kirkcudbright – Kirkcudbright to Abbey Head (4 miles), extends 14 miles S. Kirkcudbright Range Control, Ch16/73, also 01412248520
Luce Bay - Targets floating and brightly coloured; southern limit is marked by buoys 1.75 SSE of ‘Scare’ islands). 01776888741

Tide streams summary
S-going stream from the North Channel divides W of the channel between the Isle of Man and the Irish coast and runs E through the channel and S between Isle of Man and the Irish coast; the E-going branch again divides E of the channel and runs E to Solway Firth and SE to Morecambe and Liverpool Bays. Similarly, the streams from Morecambe and Liverpool Bays and from Solway Firth meet E of the channel; those from between Isle of Man and the Irish coast meet them W of it.

Solway Firth (E of line between St Bees Head/ Abbey Head)- Shifting sandbanks – area blank on charts!
- Wind farm under construction (approx halfway between Maryport and Rascarrel)
- Strong W winds raise heavy sea, which decreases when N of Workington
- Tide streams off entrance are rotary anti-clockwise, strongest when NE or SW, 2kn sp
- Off entrance, ripples/eddies encountered esp. 5-6 hours before HW Liverpool, when E-going stream meets out-going stream from the Firth.
- Inside Firth, ingoing stream tends NE then N following direction of channel – 4kn sp
English side of Firth (St Bees Head to Dubmill Point), streams follow coast – ingoing begins HW Liverpool -0515, outgoing begins HW Liverpool +0045, 3kn sp either way
Scottish side (Abbey Head to Heslan Inlet), streams streams follow coast – ingoing begins HW Liverpool -0545, outgoing begins HW Liverpool +0015, 3kn sp either way
Off Southerness Point – 5 kn sp
Upper Firth – tidal bore possible nr springs, fast streams, ingoing stream lasts 3 hours max at head of Firth.

Coastal Passage – Abbey Head to Mull of Galloway
Mull of Galloway - Heavy race S of Mull of Galloway, extends NNE towards Luce Bay on E-going stream, towards SW and W on W-going stream. E-going stream begins HW Dover -0545, W-going stream begins HW Dover +0020, 4.5kn sp either way. Race avoidable inshore. Another race at Crammag Head, 3 miles NW – dangerous on flood against S wind.
Off Kirkcudbright Bay - ingoing (E) stream begins HW Liverpool -0600, outgoing (W) stream begins HW Liverpool, 4kn sp either way
Wigtown Bay - E stream begins HW Liverpool -0600 (sets ENE into the Bay, then E), outgoing stream begins HW Liverpool (Sets W across Bay, then SW), 4kn sp either way. NW end of Wigtown Bay - - ingoing stream begins HW Liverpool -0530, outgoing stream begins HW Liverpool -0300, 5kn sp either way.
Burrow Head – Streams begin nearly 2 hours earlier than above (Liverpool) times, due to local streams affected by eddies. Heavy race off Head when W going stream hits W winds. E-going stream begins HW Dover -0430, W-going stream begins HW Dover -0130, 4kn sp either way. Race avoidable inshore.
Luce Bay – S winds frequent. Scare Rocks, inaccessible bird reserve – Big Scare is 21m high. During E-going stream, eddy runs W towards Cailness Point, then S along coast to Mull of Galloway. On E side of Bay, streams follow coast between Burrow Head and Point of Lag. Tide streams in middle of Luce Bay are rotary anti-clockwise;
ESE stream begins HW Liverpool +0555 0.25kn sp
NNE stream begins HW Liverpool -0315 1.25kn
W stream begins HW Liverpool -0015 0.5kn
SSW stream begins HW Liverpool +0245 1.25kn

HW times
Ravenglass, Whitehaven – Dover +0020
Kirkcudbright, Workington – Dover +0025
Maryport – Dover +0040
Kippford, Garlieston, Isle of Whithorn – Dover +0035
Port William, Drummore – Dover +0015
Portpatrick – Dover +0030
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Postby Mark R » Wed Oct 22, 2008 6:15 pm

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Postby SJ » Thu Oct 23, 2008 8:41 am

You found that quickly - I only posted my blog yesterday and you beat me to adding a link on this thread.

Thanks for providing the information.

Cheers,

Sean
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Postby tpage » Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:35 am

Hi Mark, I don't want to appear greedy... but do you have similar set of condensed information for the Ardnamurchan to John o' Groats section that you did? Cheers Tony
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Postby Mark R » Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:35 pm

tpage wrote:Hi Mark, I don't want to appear greedy... but do you have similar set of condensed information for the Ardnamurchan to John o' Groats section that you did? Cheers Tony


Erm no, sorry - I lugged the whole Admiralty West Coast pilot as far as Cape Wrath (it gets increasingly vague/unsure as you head north, even using words like 'probably' and 'maybe'), had nothing for the north coast.
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby PeterG » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:38 am

For the north coast you need the North Sea Pilot Volume I 1960, Faeroes, Shetlands and Orkneys and Volume II 1959, Cape Wrath to Berwick. These can be found second hand together with the corrections to 1971 for volume I and 1965 for volume II as job lots for a few pounds. The corrections for volume I are worth having since they include updated tidal flow information, the 1960 edition was mostly based on pre-war information prior to the changes around Scapa Flow.

Ideal bedtime reading.
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby Mark R » Tue Jan 25, 2011 5:45 pm

I have owned the modern Admiralty pilot for the North coast and Orkney/ Shetland etc (NP52?) for some years. I have no idea why you'd want to buy one from 50 years ago,
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby PeterG » Thu Jan 27, 2011 4:11 pm

Sheer poetry, for instance on the Pentland Firth:

'with smooth water and no swell the firth is divested of much of its danger, but when a swell is opposed to the tidal stream a sea is raised which can scarcely be imagined by those who have never experienced it, and a vessel may become unmanageable'
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby ArnoG » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:48 pm

Hi there,

Just a sanity check there. If I read the info right, at Burrow head the East bound flow lasts 3h and the West bound flow lasts 9h, am I correct?
That's a serious difference compared to just across Wigtown Bay where it's pretty much 6h:6h!
Does that mean that on the ebb (W bound) the flow is a lot more mellow that on the flood?

Cheers

A.-
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:23 pm

Hello Arno,

well off Burrow Head, the east going flood starts -0600 HW Liverpool. The west going ebb starts at HW Liverpool and the spring rate is about 3 knots. Close in to Burrow Head strong counter eddies become established in the last 2 hours of the flood and the ebb, so close in, the tidal flows turn two hours earlier. Close in the spring rate is about 4-5 knots and there is turbulence at the eddy line. This means that "slack water" close under the rocks occurs when the main race is still stonking off shore. If there is any wind against tide, the main race will look quite scary and the eddy line will create very confused water. As you are approaching the head, to take advantage of the inshore slack, you will see great lumps of water from the main race heaving on the horizon and you can have a bit of a dry mouth before you round the corner and actually see what it is like.

In a wind it's much rougher than you would expect from the speed of the flow.

Flood and ebb are both about 6 hours.

It's a great bit of Coast

Image
We went round recently in almost no wind, the flood had not long started and was carrying us W to E at 1 knot. The ebb is stlll running E to W offshore, you can see the bumpy horizon.

Image
Nice rock.

Douglas
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby ArnoG » Wed Mar 09, 2011 11:59 pm

Great pictures as always Douglas. Thanks for the tip. So does the pilot info in Mark's post above refer to the flow in the main race off shore when it says

"Burrow Head – Streams begin nearly 2 hours earlier than above (Liverpool) times, due to local streams affected by eddies. Heavy race off Head when W going stream hits W winds. E-going stream begins HW Dover -0430, W-going stream begins HW Dover +0130, 4kn sp either way. Race avoidable inshore. "
The bold + is mine. I assume it's a mistake as this way it would make a 6:6 cycle.

This said, acording to the calculation I just did (first fun use of Excel I ever had), that still doesn't correspond to Liv HW -6h and Liv HW for slack water time off shore since HW Dover is only 20min before Liverpool give or take, above should read East going HW Dover +0020 and West going HW Dover -0540. I think.

Getting quite confused now.

Probably time for bed.
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby Mark R » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:27 am

I must be bored, because I just went to the bookcase to see
a] Where I copied those Burrow Head times from
b] Whether I copied them correctly

Conclusion - not sure wherever I took them from, but it wasn't the Admiralty Pilot.

Imray says...

E-going begins Dover +0430, W-going begins -0130 Dover.
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby Jim » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:02 am

I thought I had this but then I got confused and lost patience, and then realised I had got it!

Basically the flow inshore turns 2 hours earlier than offshore, and Liverpool is approx 30 mins later than Dover, which means the inshore tide time based on Dover will be 01:30 different to the offshore time based on Liverpool (approx because I rounded up 20 mins to 30).

Now, how the signs work out is the bit I lost patience with, however I am in the second photo and can confirm that we had dead slack conditions so Douglas' calculation worked on that trip.

It is a 6:6 cycle, the question just seems to be whether the + is supposed to go on the 04:30 or the 01:30. I think it might be useful to ignore precession and consider -06:00 to be the same as +06:00 to the previous HW, then -06:00 Liverpool equates to +06:30 Dover and take off 2 hours for the inshore race makes +04:30 Dover, but working with the previous HW and the extra 10 mins is lost in precession.

Have I done that right?
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby Douglas Wilcox » Thu Mar 10, 2011 12:04 pm

Hello Arno,

Using Dover times is very convenient and is great where you just want to know whether the tide is in or out. Stuart Fisher uses Dover times exclusively in his round Britain book which means you only need to work with one set of tide tables. However, the tidal constants between Dover and the west coast tidal ports such as Liverpool, Greenock, Oban and Ullapool vary quite a bit depending on whether it is springs or neaps and also throughout the year. Even the day of the highest spring tide varies between the ports for example the highest spring tide is often a couple of days later at Oban than at Dover. So for critical channels like the Corryvreckan, I prefer to use the local tidal port i.e. Oban.

On the day that Jim, Phil and I went round Burrow Head it was neaps and the Admiralty Easytide times were:

Dover
LW 0105 HW 0644 LW 1347 HW 1933
Liverpool
LW 0058 HW0701 LW 1337 HW1942

The average tidal constant for Liverpool with respect to Dover is quoted as +0015 springs and +0021 neaps. Since it was neaps the "constant" should be + 0021 but on the day the difference in the 4 changes of tide were +0007, +0047, +0010 and +0009 with respect to Dover, a range of up to 40 minutes! I used the Liverpool times for the calculation for the trip.

At 1253, when we were still about 4km from the horizon Jim commented about the lumpy horizon causded by the west going race. Phil had also spotted it but said nothing. I knew the the inshore east going flood had started about 2 hours before LW Liverpool, which was 1137 and so it was now going our way. We arrived at the Head at 1324 about 2 hours after the eddy had started and found it was carrying us east at 1 knot. Offshore the main race was just approaching slack water (1347) and the lumps had died down.

Another complication in the northern Irish Sea is caused by tidal surges created by Atlantic low pressure systems. Sometimes the tide can be up to 2m higher than predicted.

Douglas
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Re: St Bees Head to Mull of Galloway - pilot info

Postby ArnoG » Thu Mar 10, 2011 8:03 pm

Hi all,

Jim, I got to the same numbers as you. The +0430 makes sense now.

Douglas, Thanks for that. I think I've got it now clear in my head. Hopefully I'll let you know how it worked out in 10 days time.

Cheers

A.-
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