Inner Hebridean Island Cruise - week
This is a suggested cruise plan for the week but may vary depending on weather :
Participate in an enjoyable trip afloat exploring Scotland's West Highland and Island Shores while learning a range of sailing skills. Visit islands, secluded anchorages and view wild life in its natural environment while making passage in a luxurious ocean going sailing yacht. The Skippers are professional seafarers and fully qualified RYA Offshore Yachtmasters. Cruise Ecosse Ltd have been providing sailing holidays in Scotland since 1993 and really know how to get everyone involved while maintaining a relaxed social atmosphere. The Skippers also prepare the meals but needs help with the washing up.
During the first evening you meet the Skipper and get to know your sailing colleagues. Then it's time for a safety briefing followed by a demonstration of the yacht's equipment and, if possible, a short practice sail in sheltered waters where the Skipper will show you how to steer the yacht and handle the sails. A home cooked evening meal can be taken before, after (or instead of!) the evening sail.
Saturday night will probably be spent at the yacht's mooring in Ardentrive bay on the Island of Kerrera or, if the wind is in the east, at anchor in Oitir Mhor Bay on the other side of the island. In the morning, with a fair wind, we will set sail for the Sound of Mull. The crew's progress in learning how to handle the yacht, and the wind direction, will decide Sunday evening's destination although we may end up enjoying Tobermory's nightlife. This also applies to whether we stop for lunch or eat while sailing.
After leaving the sheltered waters of the Sound of Mull we should round Ardnamurchan Point (the most westerly point on the British mainland) and head for the Small Isles. Within this group of islands a visit to Rhum and Canna is recommended. Another place well worth a visit is Loch Moidart, located at the east end of the sound of Arisaig, either via the north or south entrance. Another wonderful place is Loch Scavaig nestling at the foot of the 4000( plus Cuillin mountains at the South end of Skye. Turner, the artist, has captured the sole of the place on canvas. This anchorage allows easy access by foot to the fresh water Loch Coriusk a few metres above sea level. It may not possible to visit all the places that I have already mentioned, but the weather and state of the tide will help us decide.
On our way back to Kerrera we should try and visit the islands of Coll, Lunga, Staffa (where the basalt columns and Fingals cave inspired Mendelssohn to compose the Hebrides Overture), Iona (where St Columba first landed in Scotland) and do some rock hopping into Tinker's Hole or Rubh Ardlanish on the Ross of Mull. Time, weather and the tides will determine where we go and when.
All too soon it will be Friday morning and passage will be made back to Oban. By early afternoon the yacht will be berthed on the pontoon at Kerrera where after a quick lunch it's all hands on deck to wash and tidy the yacht before disembarking.
The price includes tuition to Coastal skipper level and the use of all safety equipment, meals and snacks. If you have a favourite nibble or tipple you are welcome to bring it along. You will have to bring waterproofs (some help can be given with those), warm clothes, a hat, sleeping bag, soft soled non-slip shoes and wellington boots.
Cars may be parked free of charge at Oban. Scotrail run 3 trains a day between Glasgow Queen Street station and Oban. Citylink run 3 express coaches a day between Glasgow and Oban and once a day between Edinburgh and Oban.