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Welcome to
Kielder Yacht Club

Kielder Yacht Club is located on the shores of Kielder Water in Northumberland, United Kingdom, and enjoys unrivalled views of the tranquil landscape of Kielder Forest. The Club Marina is based in the Whickhope Inlet, part of the 27 miles of shoreline. The club provides both tranquil cruising and challenging sailing.

We are a friendly club in North East England, with a diverse membership coming from as far afield as Yorkshire, Scotland and Cumbria. We are always looking to welcome new members to the pleasures of sailing or cruising on Kielder. Our policy is to encourage both cruising and sailing events, as well as organising a full social programme – but club members may also simply like to get away from it all and relax with a peaceful days sailing.


Our Discover Sailing 2020 Event
in partnership with the Royal Yachting Association
has been suspended until further notice due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

Watch this space for updates.

  • CLUB HOUSE - Toilets (including accessible), showers, galley, members room able to accommodate over 50 members, outside seating/eating area, stunning views and tranquillity.
  • CAR PARKING - Ample members parking, gated, key access. 
  • MARINA FACILITIES - Concrete launching slip, jetty, deep water swinging moorings, club tenders or member's dingy storage.
  • BOAT PARK - TRAILER PARK - TENDER PARK - All on location.
  • WINTER STORAGE - Over winter craft storage.
  • MOTOR CRUISERS WELCOME - Motor Cruisers are just as welcome as yachts.
  • AFFORDABLE MEMBERSHIP - Check out our very competitive membership rates.

Kielder Yacht Club is not just about cruising the lake, we operate an extensive sailing calendar with enough activities to keep the whole family involved. We include everything from a gentle sail to a secluded inlet, rafting up with friends enjoying a good bottle of wine, to full blown regatta weekends. Of course, no sailing calendar would be complete without a good old BBQ.

Our social calendar operates 12 months of the year. During the winter season we make the most of our club house facilities by hosting parties, hog roasts and winter walks.

The club is home to both motor cruisers and yachts where members can enjoy a full calendar of social and sailing events or simply get away get from it all on Europe’s largest manmade lake.

Kielder Yacht Club is a family friendly sailing club in the heart of Northumberland located on the banks of stunning Kielder Water, the largest man-made reservoir in the UK.
We are based on the shores of Kielder Water in Northumberland surrounded by the quiet tranquillity of Kielder Forest, one of the few remaining Dark Sky locations in the UK and one that can boast its own public Observatory.

Core Membership Fees 2020

Initial Joining Fee: £70
Full Membership: £260
Single Membership: £240
Associate Membership: £130
Student Membership: £10

The following fees are also payable to Northumbria Water for the season:

Registration - Boat only £28.50
Registration - Boat and Tender £41
Mooring fee – £436

Full membership:
Includes one or two named adults operating one boat afloat and all their children under the age of 18 years.

Single membership:
Covers one person only and Winter boat park storage. Is for members without partners or family, who essentially visit the club, and sail, alone.

Associate membership:
Covers individuals or families who do not own a boat, but wish to use the club’s facilities or sail on a boat belonging to another member. 

Student Membership: 
Covers those between 18 and 21 years of age, whose parents or guardians are members of the club, and who can satisfy the general committee that there are in full time education.

Summer Boat Park £65 (long term storage only)
Tender Boat Park Fee £15.00 per annum.

New members are always welcome. Please email us directly or complete the following form if you would like someone to contact you about membership or you have any other questions.

We'll get back to you as soon as we can, but we would welcome your patience as this mailbox is not monitored 24 hours. 

Early History of Kielder Yacht Club

by Judith Robinson, Michael Money and Bill Holden

Charles McPhail, the second Commodore, and his wife May were walking at Whickhope one day and there below them on the hillside, men were working, putting in the moorings…. before the lake was completely flooded.

The inaugural meeting of the Sailing Cruiser Section of Kielder Water Club was held at the Duke of Wellington, Kenton Lane. Newcastle upon Tyne, on Tuesday, 7th April 1981

The mooring buoys were the pink ones, similar to those around the lake now. Tenders were pulled up on the shore just above the water line. There was a jetty. That was all there was.

The clubhouse, at this time, was still a green hut at Leaplish, shared by all sections of Kielder Water Club, who were the Sailing Club, based in the bay at Leaplish, the Yacht and Motor Cruiser Clubs, who sailed out of Whickhope, and the Ski Club. Their area was the large bay east of the Leaplish headland. It was 1981.

The shed, a cricket pavilion from Annfield Plain, costing £300, brought over and put up by members, had not yet come to Whickhope. This was finally put up and declared fit for use by a Works Officer in October 1983. 

‘Resolution’ (lain Mungall) and ‘Fable’ (Charles and May McPhail) were the largest yachts, most members sailing in 15 to 22 feet size, not in the comfort experienced today. Racing was popular, members were keen, but all the races were friendly. There must have been some bad weather, but those days seemed to be sunshine and racing winds.

Membership had increased to 63 by 1987. The Motor Cruising section was still separate. After many years, in 1985, because both sections sailed at Whickhope, it was suggested it made sense to amalgamate the Motor Cruiser Club with the Yacht Club. This finally happened on January lst 1993 under the Yacht Club name.

Two mooring buoys, bow and stern, and laid north / south against the prevailing winds caused much discomfort for the boats and eventually, in 1983, they were re-laid east to west. Much later, in 1989, these were changed to the swinging moorings we have today. It cost £150 per mooring plus diver costs of £300 a day to install the swing moorings. This was paid for by the £6,000 per year paid through Kielder Water Club to Northumbrian Water for maintaining the moorings.

The clubhouse at Leaplish, the green hut, was formerly the construction site laboratory which was re-erected about where the Leaplish conference centre and swimming pool is now. Everyone had to take a turn at galley duty, which became more controversial and a nuisance as some good sailing weather was missed. In the beginning, the building was also shared by the Reivers of Tarset who ran a boat hire/sailing school from it before they got their own building at the head of the west slipway. Their building is now the Bunkbarn.

Caroline Waitt was the first “Water Sports Officer” and she dealt with registration, not only for club members but also for the large number of day visitors who brought their own boats to Kielder in the early years. Caroline served for the I982-84 seasons and she was strict. Yachts and owners had to conform to Northumbrian Water Rules, for example, flares on board were checked and all boats had to pass an engine noise test before Caroline allowed them to stay on the water.

Alan Hetherington came after Caroline for the next two seasons. He lived on site in a caravan when on duty and did much to reduce the theft and vandalism prevalent at Leaplish at that time. One of his reports included the following incident which occurred on 30th July 1987:

“Six youths aged 16 – 18 tried to use the Reivers rescue boat, but had no petrol. They then broke into the petrol store, filled milk bottles for petrol bombs and threw them behind Reivers’ building. Later an attempt was made to start a dumper truck The next morning the police collected them from their tents and they were charged.”

Boats on moorings at Whickhope did not escape, on one night 20 were broken into. Following this many members avoided using strong padlocks on the cabin door, better to have a broken padlock than a smashed door.

After many negotiations, Northumbrian Water (before privatisation), built a magnificent new clubhouse, at an estimated cost of £300,000, which is now the Boat Inn at Leaplish (This is much changed from the original building). Grants were applied for from the English Tourist Board, who wanted the toilets to be made public. The clubhouse was opened by David Scott Cowper on Monday, 6th June 1988.

David Scott Cowper, who practised as a Newcastle Solicitor, is renowned for sailing round the world and is / was frequently away sailing (or trapped in ice) in northern waters. Sadly, the plaque which commemorated the event of the opening and the organisations who had funded the clubhouse, has disappeared.

Les and Pat Ferguson were appointed as wardens for the 1988-89 season and they lived in the upstairs flat in the clubhouse. Pat ran the galley. Evenings and socials were held in the clubhouse as the clubs continue to do in their own premises, but again, it was for all three sections.

Les and Pat left to become stewards at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club at Blyth. Gordon and May Greensill came shortly after Pat and Les. May followed on from Pat with more excellent cooking for hungry sailors. They stayed until 1991. Rumours had begun that Northumbrian Water wanted the building for themselves…. or to share it.

Launching and retrieving was at Leaplish. Easy enough to launch with cars, but Yacht Club members then had to sail or motor to Whickhope to their moorings. Ferrying cars between the two places caused some headaches, one family member / friend, had to be available to collect the car and return it to where it was needed. Sometimes this involved walking from Leaplish to Whickhope or vice versa. Many people were certainly very fit in those days!

At the end of the season, most yachts were stored over the winter at Leaplish, in the car park, which was not as large as it is now. Some boats went to the scouts at Hawkhirst and some were taken home. It was a full day. Again, members had to sail / motor to Leaplish and then help each other to haul out using cars.

Later on, for well over ten years, John Richardson was helping at launch / haul out with his tractor. Umpteen members in the club have John to thank for sorting out their trailer / boat problems as he, frequently, was waist high, or above, in the water. Nothing was too much trouble for John and members owe a huge debt of gratitude to him before their own ‘ tractor crew’ came on the scene when John decided he could no longer continue with this demanding work.

More negotiations and finally, in 1991. Northumbrian Water approved the plan for each section to have their own clubhouse and their own area. The Sailing Club chose Tower Knowe and the Yacht Club stayed at Whickhope, as the Ski Club did in their own bay. The other two sections’ clubhouses were made of whole log construction. The Yacht Club’s was half log.

Originally, it was intended that the cabin Northumbrian Water had used at the Gateshead Garden Festival would become the clubhouse, but that never materialised and what is there now was built. Not in the original agreed position however. The main windows should have been facing down the inlet. Members began using the clubhouse from April 1993.

The official opening of the new clubhouse was on the Sunday of the August Regatta 1993, by Sir Michael Straker, who was given Honorarv Membership of the club and he remained interested in us until his early death a few years later.

There was a marquee in the car park and invitations went to the other sections, and many visitors were invited to the splendid buffet lunch. Celebrations went on well into night time. The midges joined the company then as they do now.

Once the sections split up, and became totally centred in their own areas, each club began to grow and get more and more facilities. The marina built at Leaplish in 1988, which Kielder Water Club had offered £2000 towards, was towed to Whickhope and moored where it is now by October 1993. When the marina was first put in at Leaplish it was deemed to be a great success provided the wind blew from the south or west only. 

The shed (or store) at East Wickhope was kept for a few more years. It was finally demolished sometime in 1999. It had served the club well, progressing from nothing to porta-loos and parties. Trailers stayed where they had always been stored. The jetty at Whickhope remained, since refurbished by members.

Each year since has seen more progress to comfort. Larger yachts and motor cruisers appeared, sadly, the enthusiasm for racing lapsed and members began to stay overnight on their boats. Social evenings continued, from meals served by Doreen and Sadie from Bellingham, to the ‘special’ evenings now and the Pie and Pea suppers. The ferry was also booked for the club some years for an evening tour of the lake with supper on board and sometimes with themed fancy dress such as ‘pirates’, and ‘millionaires’.

The Yacht Club membership is good and constant, always determined by the number of moorings available. Several Sailing Club members moved from dinghies to yachts, some so they could sail together with their families, others just wanted something larger with a little comfort. The Yacht Club and Sailing Club continue to share sailing events with each other, such as the Yacht Club Regattas, and yachts are always welcome in the Round the Lake races. Contact with the Ski Club is less easy because of having to avoid sailing into their bay, but friendships made when members were one club at Leaplish have continued and are as strong today as they were then.

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 and as we are today

Member's Area

Dear Kielder Yacht Club Member
Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

Kielder Yacht Club is now CLOSED until further notice.

Please see the Noticeboard Announcement below.



Temporary Kielder Yacht Club Closure

NWL have made the hard decision taking into account the ongoing government advice and asked that all sites temporarily close from 5pm 24 March 2020 until at the earliest 27 April 2020. The situation will be monitored on an ongoing basis. For our members that means you will have no access to any part of the club site until further notice after 5pm on the 24 March 2020. You will be kept fully aware of the ongoing situation.
We recognise how disapointing this will be for our members and visitors.
Please continue to monitor your email for future communications and updates from the Commodore.

NWL Update (23-Mar-2020) for Coronavirus (COVID-19) - View...
Official NHS health information and advice - View...


Documentation Updates

The latest club documents have been emailed to members on the 1st April 2020 from the Commodore or you can find them in the documents area for download below.


Club Moorings Allocation 2020

Check your email for the club Mooring Plan for 2020 dated 20th March. This plan replaces the version currently displayed in the clubhouse. No mooring may be changed without prior authorisation (except in an emergency).


Overnight Moorings

We are delighted that Northumbrian Water are investing a lot of time and expense on replacing the overnight moorings that will greatly benefit our membership and give us confidence when mooring . Thank you, we really appreciate it.

2020 Calendar

All club events are cancelled until further notice with immediate effect due to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


28th - 29th Working Party Weekend


3rd - 5th Launch weekend


3rd Leaplish Trot Series – Race 1
9th Belling Belle Trophy
23rd Cruising in Company
24th Leaplish Trot Series – Race 2


6th    Leaplish Trot Series – Race 3
20th Solstice Barbeque
           Discover Sailing Event (Suspended)
21st  Leaplish Trot Series – Race 4
           Discover Sailing Event (Suspended)


5th Mystery Social Event
11th Club Barbeque
12th Leaplish Trot Series – Race 5
17th-20th Cape Cutter Association Race


1st Cruise in Company
2nd Commodores Chase Trophy
16th Leaplish Trot Trophy – Race 6
29th Regatta Weekend and Barbeque
30th Round The Lake Race


13th Leaplish Trot Series – Race 7
27th Leaplish Trot Series – Race 8


17th - 18th Haul Out
25th Haul Out 


14th Annual General Meeting


27th Christmas Walk



Member's Boats for Sale

Please note, boats listed are private sales and the club is not responsible for any details provided. All contracts whether verbal or written are solely between the seller and purchaser.

Ailsa Craig - Hunter Horizon 23

Offers in the region of £8,000
An easy to handle family cruiser with all lines leading back to the cockpit for single handed sailing. Roller furling headsail with self tacking jib. Good standing headroom below with sleeping for 4 adults and 1 or 2 children in the V berth. Further info...


Note: For your protection, the links below will open a PDF file in another page. If you are requested to download or open anything other than a PDF, you are advised not proceed and kindly notify us.


Membership guidance on how the club functions, what services are provided and what is expected of members.

Disciplinary and Grievance

Documentation describing standards of conduct and promoting fair treatment for all.

Club Constitution

Documentation outlining the purpose of the club and the duties of the club's officers along with membership definitions, club management and meeting details.

Kielder Water Rules

Northumbrian Water Ltd rules and regulations governing the use of Kielder Water.

External Links

The following links are provided as a convenience. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Kielder Yacht Club of any services or opinions of the corporation or organisation. Kielder Yacht Club bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. These links will open in a new window.



Kielder Yacht Club
Whickhope Anchorage, Hexham Northumberland. NE48 1AX

Club Location: Visitors 

The Whickhope turn off is easy to miss, check out these additional location markers to help with your visit.

Travelling from the East
See road...

Travelling from the West
See road... 


Lat Long
55°09'56.2"N 2°30'14.4"W
55.165622, -2.503986


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