Isles of the West: Staffa, Mull & Iona
|Voyage No.||Start date||End date||Start port||End port||Days||Price|
|BE090520||Sat 9 May (15.00)||Fri 15 May (10.00)||Oban, North Pier||Oban, North Pier||7||£950||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 sea around the West coast of Scotland offers some of the most stunning cruising grounds in the world. Our departure from Oban opens up a world of spectacular cruising and adventures, never lacking in great sailing whatever the weather.
This hands on adventure will take you where the wind blows and some of the most stunning landscape in the world. There is just so much to take in, and to make best use of the wind and enjoy the full experience, we do not run to specific itineraries. Tacking the ship westward through the Sound Of Mull, we could head out beyond Ardnamurchan Point and alter course to the North or South or Westwards to Barra and beyond. Taking the Southerly heading, follow the majestic coastline of Mull down past Treshnish and on to Staffa. A visit to Fingal’s cave is a must, but landing is very much dependant on swell.
Beyond lies the sacred isle of Iona where the resonance of Columba lives on. Onwards, we pass Torrans Rocks where Davy Balfour was wrecked in a tremendous storm, finally being washed ashore on Erraid. Heading on south to Colonsay, stop for the night alongside the pier and walk through one of our favourite islands for its gentle beauty and of course to taste some great ales from smallest island brewery in the world.
If the weather means that landing on either Staffa or Iona will be dangerous, Bessie Ellen will sail off to the North. The Northern route takes us on and out to the more remote Hebridean Isles. Rum, by far the largest island, possesses a cluster of formidable volcanic peaks, Askival (Ash Mountain) the highest peak, dominates the landscape, and the name itself tells of the Viking settlers here.
If we are fortunate with settled weather, we would like to take you to one of the most awesome anchorages in the world. Nestling at the foot of the Skye Cuillins lies Loch Scavaig, the sea loch with the waters of Loch Corusk pouring in. Follow the trail and you feel like you have walked right into middle earth. Eigg, which measures just 5 by 3 miles, is by far the most vibrant, populous and welcoming of the Small Isles.
There are wonderful views of Muck and Rhum from An Sgurr. Canna, in many ways is the prettiest of the isles with its high basalt cliffs which are home to a colony of Puffins. Spend time lying on the cliff edge as they hover a few inches away before darting off to catch more 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 island community.
Westward lie the Outer Hebrides, remote and utterly enchanting and a day’s sailing across the sea of Hebrides. The land here features the oldest rock in the world and is made up of hundreds of islands, both small and large, inhabited and uninhabited. The east side of the islands is made up of islets and sea lochs running deep inland, while out west where the Atlantic pounds the shore, untouched white sand beaches stretch for miles with crystal clear water just waiting to be explored by you. Every where we travel, we find that each island provides some good short walks of about an hour before setting sail and heading towards a new anchorage.
Wildlife is guaranteed at this time of year and not a week passes without seeing at least 3 of the big 5. Red Deer, Otter, Seal, Golden Eagle and of course the Red Squirrel. The Treshnish Isles will provide us with seals and eagles fly close by.
Lunga is designated a SSSI for its abundant plant life. Many of the rare and endangered plants are native to the island. Grey seals inhabit the waters, while birdlife includes storm petrels, kittiwakes, puffins and razorbills. It is possible to stand amongst the puffin burrows whilst watching the toing and froing of the parent birds as they feed their young with mouths full of eels.
Whales and dolphins are often seen out to the North of Colonsay and Canna, mostly Minke but Orca have been known to visit these waters. Basking sharks in summer offer regular sightings.
How to get there:
Bessie Ellen will be berthed at either the North Pier, just a 5 minute walk from the station, across the bay or Ardantrive bay, a short dinghy ride out.
Our crew will be on hand to meet you at the North Pier at 15.30 to take you to the ship. If you do get here early, please ring the captain on the ship’s mobile.
Fly to Glasgow from Bristol, London Gatwick, Stanstead, Luton, Birmingham, Belfast City, Cardiff, East Midlands, Exeter, Leeds, Bradford, Manchester, Norwich and Southampton. There is parking space in Oban if you arrive by car.
Queen Street Station, Glasgow. Train links from all over UK. Glasgow – Oban runs 4 scheduled trains a day in summer.
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.
Where to Stay:
Oban has many hotels, B&B’s and a backpackers lodge.
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.
Ships Mobile: 07800 825 382