Mull, Iona & Staffa – The Grand Tour

Voyage No. Start date End date Start port End port Days Price
BE070821 Sat 7 August (15.00) Fri 13 August ( 10.00) Oban, North Pier Oban, North Pier 7 £1020 Book voyage »

Please note: all of Bessie Ellen’s bookings are now handled by Nikki’s own agency, VentureSail Holidays. By clicking ‘Book voyage’ you will be taken to a VentureSail booking form in order to secure your berths.


The seas around the western coast of Scotland offers some of the most stunning cruising grounds in the world and our departure from  the highland town of Oban opens up a world of spectacular cruising and adventures, never lacking in fantastic sailing whatever the weather.

This “hands on” sailing  experience will take you where the wind blows, through  some of the most breathtaking landscape on the planet.   There is so much to discover here that to make best use of the wind in our sails and enjoy the full experience, we do not run to specific itineraries.


Voyage Description

Oh how Bessie Ellen loves to take you beyond the mountains and onwards across the foamy waves. If we are fortunate with settled weather, we would like to take you to some of the most awesome anchorages in the world

Majestic Mull and her outlying islands are certainly one of the highlights of Scotland and I think one of the most geologically interesting and spectacular of all the island groups with ever- changing scenery from the high peaks of Ben Mor,   the famously picturesque painted village of Tobermory or the perfection of saintly Iona there truly is a special place for everyone.   Our journey will take you to some of the most remote anchorages in Scotland where tranquility and isolation, where nature is King shows  the serenity and magic that is Scotland.

Hidden on the eastern shore, at the heart of Mull lies Loch Spelve, a classic sheltered sea loch.  Accessed through a tight narrow channel and a tumbling tide,  the entrance defies the beauty that lies within.  Rising steeply from the golden shores, soft verdant fields reach up to the high rocky peaks that tower above .  This is eagle territory.  A walk along the quiet road leads to the freshwater loch where Golden eagles can be easily spotted once you know where to look.   Otters like it here too, fresh water and clams are just what they like  and for those of you that like the peace and quiet on deck should by chance see the water rippling, then hold your breath for certainly the smooth dark head will be one. Whatever the weather, rain or shine this is one of our favourite anchorages.

As Mull rises steeply from the ocean floor, we can stay relatively close inshore as we sail to the west and this is a fascinating coastline. Sheer cliffs with high waterfalls tumbling to the sea give way to a much more gentle landscape of rose granite infused with hidden bays. Onwards, we pass Torrans Rocks where R L Stevensons hero, Davy Balfour was wrecked in a tremendous storm, finally being washed ashore on Erraid .

Little lies beyond the Ross of Mull but the wide Atlantic ocean, only broken by the rocky shores of Iona, an emerald isle in a sea of aquamarine.  This is such a lovely place and with little amounts of traffic you can blend in with the community, visit the ancient abbey or walk the crofters paths in search of the ever elusive corncrake.


If you know a bit about Staffa you probably know that Mendelsohn visited the island and was so inspired by Fingal’s Cave that he wrote his Hebrides Overture.  This  tiny basalt island became an accepted venue on the cultural grand Tour of Europe,  with its   geological marvels first being made known by the  naturalist  Joseph Banks who visited in 1772. He  wrote:

“Compared to this what are the cathedrals and palaces built by men! Mere models of playthings, imitations as his works will always be when compared to those of nature.”  


Treshnish –  The Isles of the Sea and in many ways is my favourite place to while away the hours,  it is the prettiest of the smaller isles with its high basalt cliffs which are home to a vast colony of seabirds including the charming Puffins and noisy guillemots. Spend time lying on the cliff edge   amidst the burrows marvelling at these comical creatures as they crash land a few inches away before tumbling  off to catch more sand eels. After anchoring for the night we succumb to the tranquility of the island knowing there is little to do but walk, watch birds and take in the scenery and the hospitality of this special place.

To complete the circuit of Mull, we approach the the Western entrance to the sound of Mull, dominated by Arnamurchan Point and the sheltered Lochs of the Sound.  Tobermory lies at its heart, a colourful and busy centre for the island with always a good Craic at the Mishnish.

As we sail Eastwards up the Sound, the vast mountain ranges either side of the great glen that make up so much of our Highland landscape offer spectacular views of snow-capped peaks that seem to go on and on. Whatever the weather or time of year, the area never ceases to amaze and is an absolute must to experience by sail.




  • Minke whales in Scotland surfacing
  • Dolphin jumping out of water
  • Puffins and a rabbit
  • Seal on a rock

Useful Information

How to get there:

Bessie Ellen will be berthed at the North pier in Oban, just a short walk along the seafront from the station.  However, sometimes if the pier is very busy, your ship will be anchored in the bay so look for a crew member with a Bessie Ellen navy sweatshirt and they will bring you by Zodian to the ship.  See maps below for details.

By Rail: Queen Street Station, Glasgow. Train links from all over UK. Glasgow – Oban runs 4 scheduled trains a day in summer.

Fly: From Bristol, London Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton, BirminghamUnited Kingdom Belfast City Cardiff East Midland Exeter Leeds Bradford Manchester Norwich and Southampton.

There is parking space in Oban if you arrive by car.

Please note that you will need to arrange your own travel insurance, which covers you for the duration of your voyage. We recommend Topsail Insurance, which offers single policies from about £20.

Start Location:

End Location:

Where to Stay:

Oban has many hotels and B&B .

Visitor Attractions:

McCaigs Folly, Oban

Oban whisky distillery

Highland shopping

Lunch at the Seafood Bar for the best shellfish and sandwiches.

Walk Kerrera to stretch your legs.


The Ship: 07800 825 382

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for answers to a few common enquiries that we receive.