Outer Hebrides and Shiant Isles cruise, Scotland

“On this top-rated Scottish cruise you will explore the remotest parts of the wild and untamed Outer Hebrides aboard a uniquely repurposed small-sailing vessel, skippered by an expert sea-faring family with unrivalled local knowledge. ”


Tobermory | Canna, the Small Isles | Lochboisdale, South Uist | Lochmaddy | East Loch Tarbert, Isle of Harris | Shiant Isles | Loch Torridon | Plockton village | Loch Nevis | East coast of Skye | Loch Aline | Sound of Mull |

Description of Outer Hebrides and Shiant Isles cruise, Scotland

Explore the Outer Hebrides on a small ship cruise and you’ll instantly understand why these islands mean so much to so many people. Artists, photographers, poets and wildlife watchers flock to the Northwest Scottish coast like proverbial puffins however, if you’re expecting crowds then you’re sorely mistaken. Everything is relative and this region is still as wild and untamed as the day it was created. A kaleidoscope of turquoise sea, soft white sand and emerald hills await with thousands of sea birds occupying the remote Shiant Isles whilst sea eagles circle overhead.

Elsewhere the Small Isles of Muck, Eigg, Rum and Canna remain undaunted and unscathed by the ocean crashing against their cliff faces whilst the Isle of Skye sits silently opposing the jagged mountainous form of the Scottish Highlands.

From Mingulay and Barra to South Uist, Benbecula and Taranay, the 200 islands of the Outer Hebrides are regarded as one of the best in the world for wild and remote small ship cruising.

The Shiant Isles, too, are no slouch when it comes to scenic seclusion with majestic mountains and deep dark sea lochs conjuring atmospheric anchorages from where to spend a night afloat or down the local pub in the village of Plockton that overlooks Loch Carron.

Accommodation throughout this 11 day cruise will be on board one of our fleet of small ships: St Hilda (a traditional wooden sailing ship), Seahorse II (a former ferry cruiser from Norway) or Gemini Explorer (a converted North Devonshire lifeboat cruiser).

Guests can choose to book St Hilda (maximum 6 passengers), Seahorse II (maximum 11 passengers) or Gemini Explorer (maximum 8 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.

All ships feature their own chef who will present a selection of locally sourced and freshly cooked dishes to keep spirits soaring no matter whether it’s cold and dark or bright and breezy.

Talking of the weather, please remember: this is Scotland’s Outer Hebrides we’re talking about here. If the wind’s not in the right direction or it’s blowing way too strong; if sea currents aren’t in our favour or tidal gates aren’t safe for sailing then that’s that. We sail on the skipper’s orders and stop and start when the winds and tides allow although, wherever possible, we’ll keep to an itinerary similar to the one detailed below.

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23 Apr 2022
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05 Jun 2022
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01 Jun 2023
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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

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We do all that we can to "leave only a wake" as we travel through the islands of the west coast of Scotland. Our stated aim is to protect the wonderful marine environment and the wildlife it supports.

We are proud to say we have recently been awarded The Green Tourism's Silver Award.

We are also a gold member of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) so we will only be serving fish, from local fish-mongers, which are sustainable and approved by the MCS.

We are a corporate member of the Shark Trust, and have adopted the magnificent basking shark. Our adoption is helping fund vital basking shark research in our cruising area.

We are also a corporate partner of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust which means we foster environmental awareness and we work to safeguard the future of Scottish seas and cetaceans.

Our crew are officially WiSe Scheme Trained which means they are taught about watching marine wildlife the wildlife-safe way in our cruising area.

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 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. To achieve our “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.

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 onboard 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.

The Impacts of this Trip

We 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.


1 Reviews of Outer Hebrides and Shiant Isles cruise, Scotland

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 06 Sep 2019 by

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

The variety and beauty of the Inner Hebrides islands and lochs. The light. The water.

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

Each day is lovely. The walks are great

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


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

Terrific holiday. We rate the staff particularly highly. Peter and his great captaincy: adjusting the trip to get the best out of each day. Leo for his cheery support of us all and his great competency. And Andrea for excellent food: better than most restaurants

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