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Award-winning travel writer
Mark Frary

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Sail the Scottish Hebrides

Our verdict:

The isles of Western Scotland are some of the most amazing places in Britain – part fantasy movie backdrop, part Robinson Crusoe paradise. You can’t get a much more fulfilling holiday than spending your time exploring these magical islands with your family by boat, fishing, wildlife watching, kayaking and spending time looking out at the wide seas and skies from the deck.

Recommended company: St Hilda Sea Adventures

St Hilda Sea Adventures says

Our unique, fun and informal voyages around the most beautiful islands, sea lochs and mountains of the Hebrides are truly unforgettable adventures for families of all ages, from wildlife encounters to sea-fishing, kayaking to exploring ancient castles.

  • adventure for all ages
  • private charter available
  • wildlife encounters

Operating between April and October, our cruises are based on board our own vessels, both of which have been converted to create a very special small boat experience with a maximum of just eleven guests.

One of the secrets to the magic of our voyages is that our small ships let you explore places most cruise ships can’t access. We anchor in sheltered bays and small harbours from where you can explore remote Scottish islands such as Mull, Jura, St Kilda, Staffa, Iona and Skye.

Each day is as action-packed or relaxing as you want it to be. You can fish, swim, dive, set lobster pots and sail the sea and lochs with the chance to spot dolphins, porpoises, basking sharks, otters, sea eagles and the occasional whale.

The ships’ tenders can also take you ashore for some challenging coastal and cliff walks or some peaceful beach combing and snorkelling.

The atmosphere is relaxed and informal on both ships, with a skipper and chef to take care of the hard work. All meals and snacks are included in the price.

You can charter the boat for your family’s own exclusive use or join others for a relaxed, sociable and fun adventure.

Seahorse II is ideal for families and accommodates up to eleven guests in two new double/twin en-suites, three singles, and two twin cabins. She has a pair of sea kayaks and a paddle board for guests to use.

Alternatively, ex-tallship St Hilda is a traditional 54ft ketch which accommodates six guests in one double en-suite and two twin cabins. Learn some seamanship first hand, hauling up the main and mizzen sails, setting the jib and learning to tie sailing knots.

Both ships have plenty of deck space, ideal for wildlife-spotting and soaking up the incredible sights and sounds. You can also bring your own bicycle, paddle board or windsurfers if you wish.

Delicious meals, generally based on fresh local produce, are social events enjoyed in the deck saloon at anchor.

Visit St Hilda Sea Adventures to see details of our itineraries and to check our calendar for berth availability.

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