You might be surprised to learn that sailing in Scotland is available for all levels of sailor, from experienced yacht owners to complete novices, and even for those land lovers who have no intention of ever setting foot in a boat!
1. Experienced Sailors
The coast of Dumfries and Galloway is adjacent to the Solway Firth – an inlet of the Irish Sea which separates south west Scotland from north west England. Experienced sailors may plan their sailing holiday in Scotland along this coast and enjoy beautiful scenery within this conservation area.
At Kippford, the Solway Yacht Club offers temporary membership for Cruiser and Dinghy sailors. Its area on the Urr Estuary gives sailors the opportunity to take part in dinghy racing to offshore racing and cruising. It’s only a two minute drive from Coastal Kippford.
A couple of minutes walk from here you’ll find some friendly places to eat and drink. Check out our earlier post here for more info about local eateries and those just a short drive away.
Slightly further west from Kippford, lies Kirkcudbright and its Marina. Kirkudbright is a colourful town with a mix of Georgian, Victorian and medieval buildings and several attractions including the Tolbooth Art Centre and Harbour Cottage Gallery. It has some great places to eat and a range of independent shops worth browsing around.
For information about accessing the Kirkudbright marina, along with access to other harbours in Dumfries & Galloway (at Port William, Isle of Whithorn, Garlieston and Stanraer West Pier) visit the Dumfries & Galloway council website here.
2. Novices and Intermediates
Novices and those without the skills to navigate the open seas would do better to head to Galloway Activity Centre based on the shores of Loch Ken. This great centre offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including sailing courses suitable from absolute beginners to those wanting to master advanced sailing skills.
They cater for families who want a fun day out on the loch with their Sailing Taster sessions in fun boats. If the sailing bug has already taken a grip on you, you can sign up for certified RYA sailing courses. The most basic course is a 2 day “Start Sailing” introduction to the world of sailing where you’ll learn how to rig, launch and sail a dinghy. If you’re already beyond that stage, the centre also offers other 5 day courses (Basic Skills and Better Sailing).
For the youngsters in your group, the centre offers youth-specific sailing courses, all managed by highly qualified instructors.
If you’ve already nailed all the basics, you can sign up for one of the advanced courses, such as “Start Racing” (increasing your boat speed and learning about start line tactics) and “Performance Sailing” (to improve boat handling in performance dinghies).
Galloway Activity Centre is a 45 minutes drive from Coastal Kippford.
3. Land Lovers
If you’re determined to stay on terra firma, but enjoy watching others hone their sailing skills, then the annual Kippford Week and Regatta could be of interest.
Each year in July/August, this popular event takes place. During the week many crews from around the UK descend on Kippford to take part in a two day open event where they race out in dinghies on the Solway Firth.
A separate event – the Regatta – also takes part during this week, and the long courses give rise to some challenging and competitive racing.
There are many options if you want to do some sailing in Scotland, or whether you just want to be an observer. Whatever your level of experience, there is something to suit you. Furthermore since Dumfries & Galloway offers so many outdoor activities, you could always slip in a round of golf or a spot of fishing between your sailing escapades!