Findhorn Entrance Channel
The Bar moves from time to time, particularly after northerly gales and the buoys are moved as necessary to indicate the best route. There is sometimes a heavy groundswell for no obvious local reason, but on the majority of occasions it is relatively easy to cross. The Marina will provide a lead boat on request by telephone or VHF. The current flows strongly through the narrows and in the prevailing westerly winds there is often a wind hole at the entrance to the bay.
The Bar is considered passable by keelboats two hours either side of high water although in quiet conditions half tide will suffice for a boat with a three foot draft. If the bottom of the third pole is awash there is sufficient depth to get out. If there is a significant swell the route via the green and rd buoys should be taken; in calm conditions the route marked by the broken line is safe. The groundswell invariably comes from the northeast and breaker form where the bottom shelves. Inbound, the aim is to cross the Bar as far to the west as possible and then take the inner passage behind the (covered) barrier island between the red and the green buoys. The narrow gut by the red Bar Buoy has remained remarkably stable over many years.
Approaching from the East without local knowledge route towards the Landfall Buoy (GPS location, the buoy itself is no longer present) remaining well offshore in the vicinity of the Bar. From there, route to the Bar Buoy and then direct to the Outer Scaup (green). There may be breaking waves on the barrier sandbank but these should be kept close aboard to port. At the green buoy turn right and follow the marked channel, keeping the poles at least 75m to port.NB only one Scaup buoy was used in 2012) At the next red buoy turn hard to port and follow the line of the moorings leaving the green channel markers to starboard.
No longer present: Landfall Buoy N57 40.369 W3 38.790
Bar Buoy N 57 40 110 W3 38.652
Scaup Buoy N57 40.011 W3 38.160
Intermediate Fix (no buoy) N57 40.110 W3 38.652
Aerial picture of Findhorn Entrance Channel - August 2015
The Old Bar Approach
|Initial Fix||OB1||N57° 38.724'||W 003° 45.668'|
Whether or not the fixes are as plotted, there is plenty of water if the route above is followed. Notwithstanding the red can description, the marks should be treated as mid-channel (red & white)