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Macamish Bay

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Overview





Macamish Bay is a small isolated inlet on the western shore of Lough Swilly situated about ten miles south of the entrance. The bay affords an anchorage in a beautiful location with the possibility of a dinghy landing on a very attractive beach.

This location offers good shelter in winds between northwest round through west to southeast, and it offers much better protection from the swell than any of the lough's anchorages further north. Straightforward navigation is required for access which is possible at any state of the tide, in all reasonable conditions in daylight, as the bay's central above-water rock has to be identified.



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Keyfacts for Macamish Bay
Facilities
Pleasant 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 tenderScenic 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
4 stars: Good; assured night's sleep except from specific quarters.



Last modified
October 19th 2018

Summary

A good location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Pleasant 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 tenderScenic location or scenic location in the immediate vicinity

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



Position and approaches
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Haven position

55° 8.326' N, 007° 31.415' W

this is the position of the anchorage in Macamish 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 route Route 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 Macamish Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Buncrana - 1.3 miles ESE
  2. Scraggy Bay - 1.6 miles NW
  3. Rathmullan - 1.6 miles S
  4. Dunree Bay - 2 miles N
  5. The Lough Swilly Marina - 2.2 miles SSE
  6. Crummie's Bay - 2.5 miles NNW
  7. Portsalon - 3.2 miles NW
  8. Lenan Bay - 3.8 miles N
  9. Ramelton - 4.5 miles SW
  10. Pincher Bay - 5.5 miles NNW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Buncrana - 1.3 miles ESE
  2. Scraggy Bay - 1.6 miles NW
  3. Rathmullan - 1.6 miles S
  4. Dunree Bay - 2 miles N
  5. The Lough Swilly Marina - 2.2 miles SSE
  6. Crummie's Bay - 2.5 miles NNW
  7. Portsalon - 3.2 miles NW
  8. Lenan Bay - 3.8 miles N
  9. Ramelton - 4.5 miles SW
  10. Pincher Bay - 5.5 miles NNW
To find locations with the specific attributes you need try:

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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.

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How to get in?
Yacht anchored close to the central rock in Macamish Bay
Image: Graham Wilkinson


Macamish Bay is a small isolated inlet located on the Fanad Peninsula in the north of Ireland about 3 miles southeast of Knockalla Point. The bay is entered between Lambs Head and Macamish Point a distance of less than a ½ mile. The anchorage lies in the south part of the bay to the west of Macamish Point, with approximately 3 metres depth.

Macamish Bay is sheltered from the southwest through to north, and is subject to much less swell than the lough's anchorages further north. It is exposed to easterly winds and to the swell across the Lough which can make life uncomfortable when moored.


Macamish Fort with Fanad Head in the backdrop
Image: Tourism Ireland


Convergance Point Approach details are available in northwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Erris Head to Malin Head Route location. A useful set of waypoints for the run up lough can be found in the Lough Swilly route Route location.

The bay is easily identified by the conspicuous Macamish Martello Tower which stands on the north end of Macamish Point. The bay itself is bordered by cliffs, has a rock-strewn shoreline and a central rock that is fairly steep too and always shows.

Deeper draft vessels should note that a ledge with 1.7 metres of cover extends northeastward from the rock. Approach from the northeast either side of this ledge and the helm should expect a strong tidal run across the entrance.

Land by tender in Macamish beach
Image: Kevin Flanagan


Haven location The preferred berth is close west of the Martello Tower, between it and the above-water rock in the centre of the bay, where a depth of 5 metres will be found. Alternatively proceed further in towards the beach and anchor according to draft. Another alternative is to the northwest of the rock.

Good sand holding will be found throughout. Land on the beach.


Why visit here?
Macamish Bay is a lovely escape to a shoreline littered with rocky shoals and a clear open sandy beach. The head of the bay is divided by a large rocky outcrop but a dinghy landing on the beach for a picnic or to explore the surroundings is essential.

Macamish Fort
Image: Willie Duffin via CC BY-SA 2.0
The most prominent feature of the anchorage is Macamish Fort. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, despite past failures of two French invasions and the suppression of the 1798 Rebellion, the British were convinced that another attempt was forthcoming. Lough Swilly's deep waters facilitated a landing by a large fleet and it would have had widespread support of the local population so it had to be defended. Macamish Fort, completed between 1812 and 1813, was one of several Napoleonic batteries built along the shores of the lough to defend the northwest corner of Ireland.

Set on a rocky outcrop at the head of Macamish Point the Martello Tower was originally entered by a drawbridge. The structure had a single gun on the tower plus a battery covering the lough that mounted three guns. After the conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars, the defences were neglected and completely obsolete when the fort was disarmed in the 1860s. The tower is today a private residence, and the land adjoining the beach is part of the 9 hole Otway Golf Club that is one of Ireland’s five oldest links courses, having been there since 1893.


Macamish Fort
Image: Donegal Cottage Holidays


From a sailing point of view, this is one of the finest anchorages in Lough Swilly. As there are no villages on the coast of Macamish Bay the anchorage is usually a quiet, peaceful and uncrowded location. It is a lovely scenic bay in which to drop anchor for an overnight stay before proceeding onwards to busier harbours around the Lough.

The view north from Macamish Bay's beach
Image: Kevin Flanagan



What facilities are available?
There are no facilities whatsoever at Macamish Bay and the nearest harbour for re-stocking of provisions is at Rathmullan approximately 2½ miles to the south.


With thanks to:
eOceanic.


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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.