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In fine weather, the western coasts of Ireland, Scotland, Norway, the Shetlands and Orkneys offer a great variety and some of the most beautiful and wildly scenic cruising in Europe. The whole area is rich with aquatic wild life. However, western facing shores are exposed to severe Atlantic weather throughout the year, with periods of big swell and poor visibility creating further challenges. Rain dilutes the fun, too, which is perhaps why the Irish spend a lot of time making music - "the craic" - in their welcoming pubs. More sheltered areas are the Irish Sea, much of the Scottish coastline, and inside deep estuaries and fjords of SW Ireland and Norway. The Irish Sea is good for passage making between Scotland and SW England, but has less charm. The sheltered coasts of Scotland, clear of Atlantic swell, offer superb cruising areas. Vast, scenic archipelagos of islands, channels, lochs, anchorages and occasional marinas, blessed with 18 hour long mid-summer days, set a scene which could take months to explore thoroughly.
So, what's the charm?
Further contents to this section will be added from January 2015, working northward up the western coasts.