St Kilda, Outer Hebrides Cruise, Scotland

“A 12 day cruise, on board a traditional ketch boat, with a fabulous skipper who knows everything there is to know about the Outer Hebrides, its wildlife and wild spots.”

Highlights

Tobermory, Isle of Mull| Isle of Oronsay | Rum Island National Nature Reserve | Loch Scresort | Canna | Sanday | Barra | Berneray | Barra Head lighthouse | St Kilda archipelago and Hirta | Monach Island | Lochboisdale on South Uist | Loch Skipport | Eigg | Muck | Soay | Boreay

Description of St Kilda, Outer Hebrides Cruise, Scotland

This wonderful, 12 day St Kilda cruise will, if the weather is kind, give us time to explore fabulous St Kilda; the remote Monach Isles; many dramatic islands of the Outer Hebrides; and the spectacular Small Isles. Our starting point is the harbor Oban, the gateway to the Hebridean islands.

Our sea adventure vessels will anchor in scenic, lonely islands, in tranquil bays and, throughout the trip, we see incredible wildlife - soaring sea and golden eagles, many species of sea birds, basking sharks, orca and minke whales, porpoises, dolphins and seals. Aboard our small ships you can do as little or as much as you want. Sit back and enjoy the trip as you travel through the Sounds; pass the islands and sea lochs; view the spectacular mountains and fast running tides that make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea; marvel at the lofty headland lighthouses and castles; and, if you want, become involved in working the wee cruise ships.

Our ultimate destination is Village Bay, Hirta, on the archipelago of St Kilda - a UNESCO world heritage site. Hirta is the largest of the four islands in the St Kilda group and was inhabited for some 2000 years before the villagers were evacuated in 1930, never to return. The sea cliffs (the highest in the UK) of the St Kilda islands rise dramatically out of the Atlantic and are the protected breeding grounds of many different sea bird species (gannets, fulmars, Leeches petrel, which are hunted at night by giant skuas, and puffins). These thousands of seabirds were once an important source of food for the islanders. The breathtaking islands of Soay and Boreay have rare, ancient species of feral sheep and the St Kildan wren and field mouse are both unique sub species.

Travelling back from St Kilda, we could stop at a remote anchorage on the Monach or Heisker islands, which lie some five miles west off North Uist and are famous for their wild flowers in the Machair, sandy white beaches and for a huge grey seal colony.

Throughout the trip we will explore the many wonderful, breath-taking islands of the Outer Hebrides and the Small Islands.

Guests can choose to book St Hilda (maximum 6 passengers), Seahorse II (maximum 11 passengers) or Gemini Explorer (maximum 7 passengers). St Hilda is a traditional, wooden ex-Tall Ship. Seahorse II is an ex-Norwegian Ferry. Gemini Explorer is an ex-Cruising Lifeboat. All three ships have been converted to cruise the western islands of Scotland in comfort and style. The roomy deck saloons aboard our small ships are where everyone dines and socialises and the outdoor decks are perfect for spotting wildlife, relaxing and eating al fresco. The small ships’ tenders can also take you ashore for some wonderful, serious coastal and cliff walks or you could just wander along the shore beachcombing and examining the pretty seaside rock pools.

The professional and knowledgeable skipper and the chef will look after you as you travel the islands and lochs and dine on delicious, locally sourced food, in the light and spacious saloon.

Please note that your voyage is weather dependent. Weather doesn't just mean good or bad weather. There are many considerations such as tidal gates, wind direction and strength, the strength and direction of currents, overfalls, and fetch.

Travel Team

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03 Jun 2020
£2750
excluding flights
Full
 
05 Jun 2020
£2750
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25 Jun 2020
£2700
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27 Jul 2020
£2700
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24 May 2021
£2750
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03 Jun 2021
£2805
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07 Jul 2021
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Holiday type

This holiday is designed for families, small group and solo travellers

Our small ship cruises in Scotland take place on a choice of three converted small ships: St Hilda (a traditional wooden ex-tall ship with maximum capacity for 6 guests), Seahorse II (a former ferry cruiser from Norway with maximum capacity for 12 guests) or Gemini Explorer (a converted lifeboat cruiser with maximum capacity for 7 guests). All three ships have been converted to cruise the western islands of Scotland in comfort and style and are especially suited to families, solos or groups of friends. Children from 5 years old to the most demanding teenager love the experience. Included in the price are all meals and your onboard skipper and chef who will provide an unforgettable holiday for everyone on board. This holiday is operated by a company based in the holiday destination and they will be able to provide expert local knowledge. If possible they will tailor-make your holiday to suit your requirements including length and start date of trip.


 

Responsible tourism

St Kilda, Outer Hebrides Cruise, Scotland

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

We ask guests to bring their own water bottles which we refill.

We do not use straws, plastic cutlery/plates, drink stirrers, mini butter/jam packets.

We recycle all of our waste where possible.

We buy items with minimal packaging.

Our trips start and finish at or close to railway stations, bus stations and ferry terminals; this makes it easy for our guests to travel to Oban by rail, bus and ferry and we provide you with information which will encourage you to use public transport. Vessel boarding and disembarkation times, where possible, tie in with the train and bus timetables.

Engine revolutions are kept to a minimum to reduce fuel consumption. We do not travel at night as we anchor in secluded in anchorages and in two of our vessels the fuel consuming generators are switched off to give quiet ships. On St Hilda, where possible, we set the sails. All fuel usage is recorded so that fuel consumption can be tightly monitored.

Our company depends largely on the internet and word of mouth for marketing to reduce paper waste.

Bed linen and towels are not changed daily.

We do not use imported flowers.

We try to use seasonal and locally produced food.

Vegans are catered for.

We use low energy LEDs where possible.

Environment

We are committed to excellence in offering holidays to people who have a feel for the sea and its wildlife, both below and above the waves, as well as ashore. Our holidays operate on a strict “leave only a wake” policy. Our aim is to respect the sea and the local marine and shore-based environment. To leave everything as we find it is our motto, respecting the delicate eco-system balance of sky, sea and shore. Our “leave only a wake” policy is explained by the skipper at the start of every trip and practiced by guests and crew throughout the trip. Sailing is, of course, a very sustainable mode of travel. To achieve this “Leave Only a Wake” policy we have a series of aims:

Our aim is to create sustainable tourism by respecting the local sea and shore-based environment. We adhere to high standards of economic, environmental and social policy and practice in our interactions with clients, staff, core suppliers and partners as well as the wider social and ecological environment. We buy free range eggs, free range chicken and organic meat. Where possible we buy line caught, sustainable fish from the local fish-monger.

We look after our clients to the best of our ability and supporting them on the vessel in personnel safety and creating a respect for the marine environment. Our on board skills training aims to develop confidence and competence and we have extensive briefing of our safety and environmental procedures to our crew.

We have responsible standards of crew recruitment and development. At all times there are always two team members available. Our fully qualified skippers have sailed many thousands of sea miles. All activities in the water are monitored to protect both humans and the marine life.

Our onboard policy is that all rubbish is brought ashore and we have a strict recycling policy of all non-organic waste.

Our skippers and onboards wildlife guides discuss the local shore and marine environment, wildlife and ecosystems. We explain how to behave in a responsible manner to the animals (for example puffin and seal colonies) and birds (especially breeding colonies) that we encounter. We also help clients gain an awareness of local marine environment by encouraging them to study the nautical charts of the region as well making them aware of the ever changing Scottish weather patterns. The skipper keeps the clients regularly informed of local meteorological reports.

Community

We only employ the services of the local marina, shops, services, restaurants and guides. These suppliers all employ local staff.

We encourage our guests to visit locally important heritage sites, visit local gardens, craft shops and participate in cultural events. We also work with local wildlife rangers and tour guides. Tourism is increasingly a vital part of the income for the local residents of this somewhat remote, isolated but beautiful region of the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Thus we use all local products and local services with the intention of helping to support local businesses, create employment and contribute to the overall sustainable development of not only our starting point of our voyage but also in the islands and communities of the Inner and Outer Hebrides.

We aim to create a good relationship with tourism and the local communities and at all times are aware and try to bring awareness to the fragile marine ecosystems through which we sail.

5 Reviews of St Kilda, Outer Hebrides Cruise, Scotland

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 23 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


For Wendy and I arrival at Hirta after a dramatic sea crossing, to a long dreamed of adventure. Within Village Bay, kayaking amidst rafts of thousands of puffins in the evening. Whilst moored at Eigg we were kayaking with Dolphins at our bow.
Most of all the union of fellow guests and crew.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Just be prepared for all weathers, as suggested in trip preamble. A wetsuit (full/part) useful re kayaking/paddlebording/snorkelling. The additional one we purchased for twenty+ pounds at Tesco in Oban.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


All our spending we felt was of benefit to the places visited, be it artists, retail outlets, our trip organisers. Small group travel always better re the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The Crew and fellow travellers pulled together as members of an 'expedition'. None of the trip would be enjoyable without this fellowship !A well organised itinerary. Food amazing !

Reviewed on 20 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Getting out to St Kilda for a day and a half and the wide range of wildlife we saw

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The journey out to St Kilda can be a bit 'bouncy' so pack sea sickness tablets

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes we supported a local enterprise, and supported conservation on St Kilda. We also learned about the impact of over fishing/global warming on sea birds and other wildlife

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent - lovely crew, great food, comfortable cabins and stunning scenery and wildlife

Reviewed on 27 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The stacks at St Kilda with thousands of birds in the air.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If booking a twin cabin be aware it is very small and not easy for person in top bunk to get down.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Neither, as we only had 2 destinations where we could spend and the ship uses diesel. But as we were a small group we didn’t have an adverse effect on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I would rate my holiday an 8 out of 10. Crew excellent. Food fantastic.

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We loved sailing on the little ship St.Hilda. The captains Christophe and Chris kept the sailing trouble free all the way to St.Kilda and we even did some under
sail only. It was beautiful. We saw seals, dolphins, a minke whale and all sorts of sea birds. There were plenty of books to reference what we saw. Morag our
cook was brilliant serving up tasty meals and even making bread for my husband who is gluten intolerant. We sailed all around St.Kilda too, to look at the bird
colonies on the sea stacks. It was amazing with the weather being kind to us too. We also stopped off at Barra, Vatersay, Canna, Tobermory and Loch Aline.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


We were all good sailors but sea sickness pills are needed if you are susceptible.


3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not many people get out to St.Kilda which is supervised by the national trust for Scotland. We were encouraged to take nothing on to the island and leave
nothing behind. At our stopping off points we all used the local shops for souvenirs and coffees etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We enjoyed every moment of the holiday. We were with like minded travellers who were good company. The crew looked after us so well.

Reviewed on 11 Jul 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Reaching the ultimate destination StKilda in fine weather

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be prepared for some long hours at sea - and take sea sickness tablets , even in fine weather the North Atlantic swell is significant

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


This trip was a fantastic opportunity to observe birds and sea animals in pristine environments, no rubbish was left behind and a contribution was made to the local economy with purchases from the crew and passengers for each stop en route.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I rate this holiday as one of the best I’ve had. Everything worked to perfection. The crew were helpful, friendly and skilful. It was a very happy band of travellers who were privileged to visit a seldom visited, beautiful part of the world.

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