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Lenan Bay

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Overview





Lenan Bay is a small bay located close south of Dunaffe Head on the eastern shore of the entrance to Lough Swilly in Northern Ireland. It is a spacious and quickly accessible bay that offers an anchorage in a scenic and rural setting with a pier that makes landing convenient.

The small bay offers a tolerable anchorage in conditions from north round through east to the south, but in the case of the latter quadrant, it can be exposed to the swell which sometimes rolls up the Lough. Being unencumbered by outlying hazards it has straightforward access night and day, at all stages of the tide and in all reasonable conditions.
Please note

Lenan Bay is used extensively by local fishing boats and caution should be taken to avoid their nets which stretch across the entrance.




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Keyfacts for Lenan Bay
Facilities
Slipway availableMarked 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 landingQuick and easy access from open waterScenic 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
4 metres (13.12 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 24th 2018

Summary

A tolerable location with straightforward access.

Facilities
Slipway availableMarked 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 landingQuick and easy access from open waterScenic 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° 14.385' N, 007° 31.449' W

This is on the about the 5 metre contour in the middle of Lenan 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 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 Lenan Bay for your convenience.
Ten nearest havens by straight line charted distance and bearing:
  1. Crummie's Bay - 1.4 miles SSW
  2. Dunree Bay - 1.8 miles SSW
  3. Portsalon - 2.4 miles WSW
  4. Pincher Bay - 2.6 miles WNW
  5. Scraggy Bay - 2.8 miles SSW
  6. Macamish Bay - 3.8 miles S
  7. Buncrana - 4.4 miles SSE
  8. Rathmullan - 5.4 miles S
  9. The Lough Swilly Marina - 5.8 miles S
  10. Mulroy Bay - 6.3 miles WSW
These havens are ordered by straight line charted distance and bearing, and can be reordered by compass direction or coastal sequence:
  1. Crummie's Bay - 1.4 miles SSW
  2. Dunree Bay - 1.8 miles SSW
  3. Portsalon - 2.4 miles WSW
  4. Pincher Bay - 2.6 miles WNW
  5. Scraggy Bay - 2.8 miles SSW
  6. Macamish Bay - 3.8 miles S
  7. Buncrana - 4.4 miles SSE
  8. Rathmullan - 5.4 miles S
  9. The Lough Swilly Marina - 5.8 miles S
  10. Mulroy Bay - 6.3 miles WSW
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?


Lenan Bay is a remote inlet on the eastern shore of Lough Swilly to the south of Lenan Head, about 3 miles south of Dunaff Head and on the Inishowen Peninsula. The cliffs surrounding the bay slope down to a lovely sandy beach and Lenan Head provides partial shelter to the bay which is entered close to the south of it. A small concrete pier, called Lenan Port, is situated on the northern edge of the bay where a landing may be possible and a handful of small local fishing boats have moorings close by. There is no other development here save for a small cluster of cottages at Leenankeel at the southern end of the bay.

Depths of up to 7 metres can be found in the bay which gradually decreases to the drying sands at the head. The bay is open to the west exposing it to the prevailing westerly winds and to the swell which sometimes rolls into the Lough, which can make life uncomfortable when moored. So this is the reserve of some fair summer weather conditions. The pier has about 1 metre of water at its head but is usually subject to a surge or swell, making it impracticable to come alongside and dry out.

View southward from Lenan Pier
Image: © Don Browse


Convergance Point Approaches to the Lough Swilly can be found in northwestern Ireland’s coastal overview for Erris Head to Malin Head Route location. A set of waypoints to assist with the run up the lough as far as Fanad can be found in the Lough Swilly route Route location. The entire length of Lough Swilly is marked with various easily identified navigation lights along the main deepwater shipping channel. The fairway is about 3½ miles wide at its entrance from which it gradually narrows to a width of 2½ miles at Lenan Bay opposite Crabbin Point.

Drift netting for salmon takes place throughout the summer months within the lough particularly in Lenan Bay and together with several other marine farms care should be taken to avoid them, their charted positions are approximate and additional farms may be established without prior notice.

Haven location Anchor according to wind and conditions in excellent sand holding. Land by dinghy on the beach or at Lenan Port.


Why visit here?
Lenan Bay, in Irish Cuan an Líonáin, is a lovely crescent-shaped bay that is open to the west. It has a beautiful sandy beach with low lying farmland that slopes down from the hills and cliffs to the shoreline on the mainland to the east.


Lenan Head Fort
Image: aidyheaney


Above the bay, on Lenan Head, stand the remains of Lenan Head Fort, sometimes spelt Leenan, that is one of a total of seven defensive forts built by the British to defend the deep-water anchorages of Lough Swilly. The fort is defended by a ditch system with fortifications at the corners. It was constructed in tandem with Dunree Fort in 1895 and is an unusual British fortified site because it was started so late. As such it is constructed with concrete caponiers in an extensive ditch system that climbs the hill to the headland. It was initially armed with 3 breech-loading 9.2" guns but was refitted in 1911 with 2 newer 9.2" models that had a 12-mile range, the largest in Ireland at the time. The gun positions are linked by extensive underground magazines and these passages are still in remarkably good condition.

Two of the three gun positions that are in remarkably good condition
Image: Patrick Mackie via CC BY-SA 2.0
On 6 December 1921, the Anglo Irish Treaty was concluded that included provisions by which the British would retain sovereignty over three strategically important ports known as the Treaty Ports. This included a number of coastal artillery defences, including the Defences of Lough Swilly, which were retained by the British Government on a Care and maintenance basis. All three military sites were fully transferred to the Republic of Ireland in 1938 and, although the battery was manned by the Irish Army in the Second World War, the fort was decommissioned in 1952.

The Victorian site was only used for less than 40 years and never fired a shot in anger. Yet it still remains standing, isolated on Lenan Head for over 120 years. Much of the fort area comprises the former barracks which were partly demolished and have not stood the test of time well. All that remains of them are the redbrick chimney stacks and the best-preserved building is, surprisingly, the squash court. But the highlight of the site are the three gun emplacements at the western end. Some of the original signage remains in the tunnels between.

Remote Lenan Bay has to one of the most picturesque havens of the Irish coast. In the midst a remote area the rough mountains slowly soften to green pastures, reaching a quiet beach and quay, where anglers and local fishermen mingle. The beach is simply beautiful and it makes an ideal starting point for a variety of hiking trails into the magnificent Urris Hills.

Lenan Head Fort at dusk
Image: © Gareth Wray


From a sailing point of view, this is a useful scenic bay in which to drop anchor whilst making passage during easterly conditions. It also offers an overnight stay after rounding Dunaff Head before proceeding further into Lough Swilly.


What facilities are available?
there are no facilities at this location


With thanks to:
Graham Wilkinson. Photography with thanks to Patrick Mackie, Joyce and Mervyn Norris of Trean House Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast, Don Browse and Gareth Wray.


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




Lenan Bay, Lough Swilly, County Donegal, Ireland
Image: eOceanic thanks Donegal Cottage Holidays


Lenan Port
Image: eOceanic thanks Greg Clarke via CC BY-SA 2.00




Lenan Head Fort - Aerial 1




Lenan Head Fort - Aerial 2




Exploring Lenan Head Fort Magazine




Urris Mountains and Lenan Bay



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