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Cathy Winston
Award-winning travel writer
Cathy Winston

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Sail the Hebrides

Our verdict:

Whisky, wildlife and the wonderful scenery of Scotland’s Western Isles makes for a perfect informal cruise with a helping of adventure, especially on board small ships which can hunt out the secret corners. Designed for intimate groups of up to eight, there are single cabins and no supplement options too.

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 all ages, from wildlife encounters to (free) whisky tours.

  • house party atmosphere
  • spirit of adventure
  • wildlife

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 eight guests and the crew.

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 simply some peaceful beachcombing.

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 (great value, too, with prices from £750 for five nights).

You could set sail on board the spacious St Hilda, a traditional 54ft ketch accommodates six guests in one double and two twin cabins. We offer a free twin-share option as well as single occupancy (extra price).

Seahorse II accommodates up to eight guests in one double, two singles, and two twin cabins. The double cabin can be booked for solo occupancy with no supplement. Seahorse II has its own pair of dinghies, sea kayaks and a paddle board for guests to use.

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 windsurfer if you wish.

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

Check out our calendar of 2018 cruises, from five up to 11 nights, such as “Scottish Castles & Sheltered Sea Lochs” and “Malt Whisky & Wildlife” and our latest special offers.

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