England Ireland Find Havens
England Ireland Find Routes
Boat
Maintenance
Comfort
Operations
Safety
Other



NextPrevious

Pincher Bay

Tides and tools
Overview





Pincher Bay is a small bay located immediately south of Fanad Head on the western shore of the entrance to Lough Swilly. It is a spacious and quickly accessible bay that offers an anchorage in a scenic and rural setting.

The bay provides a fair weather anchorage with tolerable shelter in settled or moderate prevailing conditions. Being unencumbered by outlying hazards and lying immediately south of Fanad Head lighthouse, it has straightforward access night and day, at all stages of the tide and in all reasonable conditions.
Please note

In bad weather continue ten miles southward into the Lough past Buncrana where complete protection may be secured from all elements.




Be the first
to comment
Keyfacts for Pincher Bay
Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location

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
3 stars: Tolerable; in suitable conditions a vessel may be left unwatched and an overnight stay.



Last modified
October 18th 2018

Summary

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Marked or notable walks in the vicinity of this locationPleasant family beach in the area


Nature
No fees for anchoring or berthing in this locationRemote or quiet secluded locationAnchoring locationBeach or shoreline landing from a tenderJetty or a structure to assist landingScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

Considerations
Note: fish farming activity in the vicinity of this location



Position and approaches
Expand to new tab or fullscreen

Haven position

55° 16.333' N, 007° 38.010' W

This is just inside the 5-metre contour in Pincher Bay.

What is the initial fix?

The following Lough Swilly Initial Fix will set up a final approach:
55° 17.800' N, 007° 35.030' W
This is an approach position for the lough that keeps a vessel clear of Fanad and Dunaff Heads where there can be some confused seas. It is also close south of the first waypoint of the Lough Swilly Route.


What are the key points of the approach?

Offshore details are available in northwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Erris Head to Malin Head Route location. A set of waypoints to assist when running up lough, as far as Fanad, can be found in the Lough Swilly RouteRoute 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 Pincher Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Portsalon - 2.5 miles S
  2. Lenan Bay - 2.6 miles ESE
  3. Crummie's Bay - 3.1 miles SE
  4. Dunree Bay - 3.6 miles SSE
  5. Scraggy Bay - 4 miles SSE
  6. Mulroy Bay - 4.6 miles SW
  7. Sheep Haven - 5.4 miles SW
  8. Macamish Bay - 5.5 miles SSE
  9. Buncrana - 6.5 miles SE
  10. Rathmullan - 7 miles SSE
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Portsalon - 2.5 miles S
  2. Lenan Bay - 2.6 miles ESE
  3. Crummie's Bay - 3.1 miles SE
  4. Dunree Bay - 3.6 miles SSE
  5. Scraggy Bay - 4 miles SSE
  6. Mulroy Bay - 4.6 miles SW
  7. Sheep Haven - 5.4 miles SW
  8. Macamish Bay - 5.5 miles SSE
  9. Buncrana - 6.5 miles SE
  10. Rathmullan - 7 miles SSE
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

Resources search

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.

Expand to new tab or fullscreen



How to get in?
Pincer Bay
Image: Kevin Flanagan


Pincher Bay lies immediately south of Fanad Head and is entered between it and Carrickacken Point a distance of just under a ½ mile southward. The bay and entrance to Lough Swilly is well defined by Fanad lighthouse on the point, Fl (5) WR 205 38m 18/14M.


Convergance Point Use northwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Erris Head to Malin Head Route location for approaches. A set of waypoints to assist when running up lough, as far as Fanad, can be found in the Lough Swilly RouteRoute location.


Initial fix location For Pincher Bay it is best to approach the lough from a central point, as a spit with less than 8 metres of water extends nearly half a mile northeastward from the lighthouse. In heavy gales the sea breaks on this and on the adjacent uneven ground. Even after the gale has subsided the rollers are dangerous, rendering it prudent to give the point a wide berth in passing.

Haven location The best anchorage is to be had in the middle of the bay in 3 metres or as far in as draft permits making the best of the shelter that its rugged cliffs provide to the prevailing winds. Holding is excellent in clear sand.


Why visit here?
Pincher Bay is situated at the very north of the Fanad Peninsula, which lies between Lough Swilly and Mulroy Bay. Although the origins of the name Fanad have been lost in time, there is some speculation that the name derives from an old Gaelic word fana meaning sloping ground.


Fanad lighthouse at sunrise
Image: Tourism Ireland


The most prominent feature of Pincher Bay is Fanad lighthouse situated on the cliffs at Fanad Head. The lighthouse was erected and first lit in 1817 in response to the sinking of the frigate HMS Saldana in December 1811. Overwhelmed by a winter storm the frigate ran for natural shelter the Lough offered, but fell short of the entrance to break up under Fanad Head. The only survivor of the tragedy was the ship’s parrot which was identifiable because it bore a silver collar inscribed with the ship’s name.


Pincer Bay Beach
Image: © Ronan Daly


The response to the tragic loss of life was a lighthouse to help guide ships and sailors safely into the most protected haven the north coast has to offer. The height of the lighthouse was increased in the 1880s and its light enhanced in 1906. Its light was completely replaced with modern electric equipment in 1975 and automated in 1983. It is classified as a sea light, not a harbour light, despite it marking the entrance into Lough Swilly which is a natural harbour of refuge. Today it acts as the land base for helicopters to make crew changes for the lighthouse stations on Tory Island and Inishtrahull.

The landing steps beneath Fanad lighthouse with Pincher Bay in the backdrop
Image: Kevin Flanagan


From a sailing point of view it is Pincher Bay's spectacular rugged cliffs and the enclosed secluded beach, on which it is possible to land a dinghy to go exploring, that makes it a wonderfully rewarding location. Fanad lighthouse is also a must visit here, and it may be accessed via its jetty. Standing between idyllic Lough Swilly and sandy Mulroy Bay, Fanad Head Lighthouse is one of Ireland's most photographed lighthouses and has been voted one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world. It has been developed into a visitors’ centre with accommodation so it is well worth visiting.


What facilities are available?
There are no facilities in Pincher Bay.


With thanks to:
Photography with thanks to Kieren Evans, Greg Clarke, Corinne Schleifer, Kenneth Allen and Michael Murtagh.


Expand to new tab or fullscreen
Please zoom out to see the 'initial fix' for this location.
The above plots are not precise and indicative only.















A brief view of Pincher Bay.



A photograph is worth a thousand words. We are always looking for bright sunny photographs that show this haven and its identifiable features at its best. If you have some images that we could use please upload them here. All we need to know is how you would like to be credited for your work and a brief description of the image if it is not readily apparent. If you would like us to add a hyperlink from the image that goes back to your site please include the desired link and we will be delighted to that for you.


Add your review or comment:

Please log in to leave a review of this haven.



Please note eOceanic makes no guarantee of the validity of this information, we have not visited this haven and do not have first-hand experience to qualify the data. Although the contributors are vetted by peer review as practised authorities, they are in no way, whatsoever, responsible for the accuracy of their contributions. It is essential that you thoroughly check the accuracy and suitability for your vessel of any waypoints offered in any context plus the precision of your GPS. Any data provided on this page is entirely used at your own risk and you must read our legal page if you view data on this site. Free to use sea charts courtesy of Navionics.