Scottish Island Cruising – St Hilda Sea Adventures
Although I have visited many scottish islands over the years, one thing that I have never done is cruised around the islands. Well, that dream has now become a reality. At the end of May, I will be cruising with St Hilda Sea Adventures on their Mull Odyssey cruise, which takes in the Isles of Mull, Staffa and Iona.
The St Hilda is a traditional, wooden 54ft Ketch, going to sea with only six guests, but it has it’s own onboard skipper and chef. The St Hilda was built in 1973 in St Monans by a family-owned boatyard in Fife, specifically for sail training with a crew of 20. She is one of the smallest of the “Tall Ships” and has competed in several Tall Ship races. The company have recently celebrated 10 years of safe and successful cruising around the scottish islands
I am really looking forward to the cruise, especially seeing the islands from a completely different perspective. For example, when we visit Loch Na Keal, I am hoping that we can see some of the smaller islands such as Eorsa and Inch Kenneth, as well as remote islands like Gometra and Erraid.
On my last trip to the Treshnish Isles, I was unable to visit Lunga (the main island of the group) and had to visit one of the smaller islands (think it was Fladda), so as not to upset the wildlife. Again, seeing these islands from the sea should be a magical experience. Hopefully it will be around the time that the Puffins are there, as they can usually be seen from mid April until early August.
Having never been on a cruise before it is difficult to know what to expect. I have been assured that a cruising holiday on board the St Hilda is fun and informal. The deck saloon is where everyone dines and socialises and the outdoor decks are where I shall be looking out for wildlife and relaxing. I have been told to look out for Dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, otters, red squirrels,many species of birds and even the occasional Minke whale. There is a boat tender that takes passengers ashore, which will help to navigate in those hard to reach places that are inaccesible by land. It can even be used to get close to any nearby wildlife.
As well as the cruise around Mull, Iona and Staffa (known as the Mull Odyssey), St Hilda Sea Adventures also offer the following cruises:
- Isles of the Clyde Explorer: Sailing & Wildlife – departing Holy Loch Marina
- Sea Lochs of Argyll and the Crinan Canal – departing Holy Loch Marina
- Malt Whisky and Wildlife Cruise 8-night, departing Tobermory
- The Sounds of the Hebrides: Mull, Luing, Shuna & Jura – departing Tobermory
- St Hilda to St Kilda: an Outer Hebridean Cruise – departing Tobermory
- St Hilda for Skye and the Small Isles – departing Tobermory
- The Mull Experience: Dinner, Bed and Breakfast Afloat – departing Tobermory
I will be writing about the experience and will also be updating my social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter and Google +) on a regular basis with details of the cruise and images (and possibly video) taken from around the islands
Some of the places that I will be visiting around the Isle of Mull are as follows:
- Loch Tuath
- Isle of Staffa
- Isle of Iona
- Loch Spelve
- Loch Aline
Zoom in on the map below to see the exact locations of each of the places above.
The main thing I am looking forward to is being able to recharge my batteries and relax. And nowhere do I relax more than around the scottish islands. I can’t wait …