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eOceanic has been made aware of this haven. We are looking for a sailor with first-hand experience to provide their direct personal insights so that we may complete our write up. In advance of this we have posted these preliminary research notes. Do you know this location? Please contact us or click the 'Report a Mistake or Omission' button below to help share this location with the sailing community.

Belderg bay, or Belderrig, is about midway between Benwee Head and Downpatrick Head on the northwest coast of Ireland. It is a tolerable anchorage in off-shore winds and moderate weather. The holding ground is good but there is generally a heavy swell rolling in, and like all bays in the close vicinity of high land, it is subject to violent gusts with off-shore winds.

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Keyfacts for Belderg Harbour
Slipway availablePublic house or wine bar in the area

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pier

Protected sectors

Current wind over the protected quadrants
Minimum depth
4 metres (13.12 feet).

4 stars: Straightforward; when unaffected by weather from difficult quadrants or tidal consideration, no overly complex dangers.
3 stars: Tolerable; in suitable conditions a vessel may be left unwatched and an overnight stay.

Last modified
April 8th 2021

Summary* Restrictions apply

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Slipway availablePublic house or wine bar in the area

No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationAnchoring locationScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinityHistoric, geographic or culturally significant location; or in the immediate vicinity

Restriction: shallow, drying or partially drying pier

Position and approaches
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Haven position

54° 18.676' N, 009° 33.115' W

at the pier in the harbour

What is the initial fix?

The following Belderg Harbour initial fix will set up a final approach:
54° 23.229' N, 009° 33.276' W
this is the position in the North Atlantic Ocean 4 miles due north of the harbour entrance.

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 Belderg Harbour for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Porturlin Bay - 5.6 nautical miles W
  2. Portacloy Bay - 8.2 nautical miles W
  3. Ross Port - 9.1 nautical miles W
  4. Kilcummin - 12.3 nautical miles E
  5. Broadhaven Bay - 12.4 nautical miles WSW
  6. Killala Bay - 13.1 nautical miles ESE
  7. Frenchport (Portnafrankagh) - 19 nautical miles WSW
  8. Elly Bay - 20.2 nautical miles WSW
  9. Blacksod Pier - 21.9 nautical miles SW
  10. Inishkea Island South - 25.5 nautical miles WSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Porturlin Bay - 5.6 miles W
  2. Portacloy Bay - 8.2 miles W
  3. Ross Port - 9.1 miles W
  4. Kilcummin - 12.3 miles E
  5. Broadhaven Bay - 12.4 miles WSW
  6. Killala Bay - 13.1 miles ESE
  7. Frenchport (Portnafrankagh) - 19 miles WSW
  8. Elly Bay - 20.2 miles WSW
  9. Blacksod Pier - 21.9 miles SW
  10. Inishkea Island South - 25.5 miles WSW
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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?
Route location The 'Erris Head to Malin Head' coastal description provides approach information to the suggested initial fix. Vessels approaching from the south should select the northeast bound Route location sequenced description; vessels approaching from the north should select the southwest bound Route location sequence; western approaches may use either description.

Belderg Harbour, also known as Belderrig, Irish : Beal Deirg, is an inlet off the North Atlantic Ocean situated midway between Benwee Head and the Stags of Broad Haven, and Killala Bay on the northern coast of County Mayo, on the west coast of Ireland.

The 24 mile stretch of coast from Broad Haven Bay to Killala Bay is most inhospitable as there is no completely safe anchorage, and no shelter from the usual swell and fierce gusts from off the cliffs. The coast is sparsely inhabited and there is little attraction in attempting a landing. However, in really quiet weather or in a southerly breeze, the cliffs some of which are 150 metres high are an unforgettable spectacle, and there are five small coves each with a small slip on its west side where a landing might be effected. Portacloy and Belderg are the best of these and a yacht might find either of them a useful passage anchorage.

Among the craggy headlands east of Broad Haven is the small inlet of Belderg, and the approach can be identified by the marked change from the very high and bold aspect of the coast west of the entrance, to comparatively low cliffs round the shores of the bay, backed by gentle grassy slopes. Horse Island to the west of the entrance is fairly low with cliffs on its west side and grassy slopes to its east. Carrickneill to the east of the entrance is a rocky shoal that is mostly covered at high water.

The small north facing bay of Belderg is slightly more than 0.5 miles wide and extends southwards inland for a distance of just under 1 mile. It has rocky shores, and at its head there is a natural lagoon behind the pier where a flight of steps lead down over the harbour wall to an amazing wave-cut platform of stone which is accessible at low water and forms an ideal place for a spot of swimming or paddling.

The harbour affords a fair anchorage for small craft with offshore winds in moderate weather, and possibly better shelter in southerly winds than some of the neighbouring bays, but should the winds shift to north west it would be better to head for the roads at Kilcummin in Killala Bay. Bunatrahir Bay and Lackan Bay, respectively west and east of Downpatrick Head are pretty but quite dangerous and are not recommended as anchorages. The recommended anchorage is off the west shore in depths of 4 to 10 metres in good holding ground. At the head of the bay is a disused boathouse standing on a rocky gut which is too narrow for anchoring, but adjacent to it is a stone breakwater pier and a slipway for a dinghy landing. On an otherwise challenging coast Belderg Harbour is another bay that can be a welcome bolt-hole.

Why visit here?
Belderg (Béal dearg, red fort mouth), is a beautiful sprawling rural coastal area located in a region rich in historical and archaeological heritage. The scattered village of Belderg is situated about 1.5 miles inland south of the harbour, and in the immediate proximity to the village are the Belderg Cliffs which contain some of the most spectacular coastal geology in Ireland, and from here on a clear day there are fine views as far as The Stags of Broad Haven in the west, and the Sligo coastline and the cliffs at Killybegs in the east.

Three miles east of Belderg there is a conspicuous pyramid-shaped building situated near to the edge of the cliffs. This is the Ceide Fields Visitor Centre, set in the largest Stone Age site and the oldest known field system in the world. Covering several square miles the Ceide Fields are over five thousand years old, and lay buried beneath the peat until a generation ago. In the 1930's whilst cutting turf the local schoolmaster Patrick Caulfield had noticed that there were stones beneath the ground laid in patterns that could only have been man made. Years later his son Prof. Seamus Caulfield an archeologist discovered evidence of cultivated fields, houses and tombs and what is now known as Ceide Fields. The Visitor Centre at Ceide Fields, pronounced Kayd – je, is well worth a visit but a little awkward to access for cruising sailors, although Belderg within 4 miles of the site is a practicable anchorage if the weather is settled.

Horse Island on the west of the entrance to Belderg covers an area of ten acres and is joined to the mainland by a short narrow causeway. It is a secluded location that is very popular with bird watchers.

The essence of the Belderg landscape was captured by Seamus Heaney in a poem accompanying a thank you letter to Patrick Caulfield's house in 1974 shortly after he made a visit. Seamus Heaney is a famous Irish poet and playwright, and was the recipient of the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Other than the pier and slipway that are used by the local fishermen Belderg has no amenities except for the village pub, a 1.5 mile walk from the harbour.

What facilities are available?
There are no facilities at this location, except for the village pub which is a 1.5 mile walk from the harbour slip.

With thanks to:
inyourfootsteps.com site research.

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