The Sea Lochs of Argyll & Crinan Canal Cruises

Wed 25th April 2018

From £1,050 p/p

From £1,050 p/p

7 nights / 4 spaces

Departs: Holy Loch Marina

The Sea Lochs of Argyll & Crinan Canal Cruises

7 nights

This trip is a unique in that it is a combined salt and fresh water boating experience - perfect for families, couples and singles. The cruise itinerary combines sailing the beautiful, sheltered sea lochs of Argyll with the fun of cruising the tranquil, fresh water of the Crinan Canal and makes this trip a perfect, varied, relaxing holiday on the West Coast of Scotland.

Before entering the Canal at Ardrishaig, which is situated on the famous Loch Fyne, we cruise some of the most spectacular sea lochs of the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll on the West Coast of Scotland and watch for rare birdlife and marine mammals. We spend time at the Kyles of Bute where there is a remarkable rare, common seal and bird colony. The Kyles of Bute are beautiful stretches of water and considered to be one of the most scenic sailing areas in the UK.

The Crinan Canal cruise meanders through truly magnificent scenery and is rich in history, with many world-class heritage sites. It is a designated wildlife reserve with miles of forest walks and cycle ways. If you bring your own bike (or you can rent one in Ardrishaig) you can cycle the towpath and explore the canal's surroundings. To find out more about the Crinan Canal have a look at www.scottishcanals.co.uk/canals/crinan-canal.

This cruise is reversed later in the season when we embark at the north side of the Crinan Canal (Crinan Basin) and disembark at Holy Loch marina.

Day

1

After boarding at 3pm and following a safety briefing we depart, heading south west along the magnificent Firth of Clyde. We head for the Kyles of Bute, past Ardlamont Point, where there are often sightings of minke whales and basking sharks. We are sometimes accompanied by pods of dolphins or small families of harbour porpoises. We pass through the famous coastal waters of the Kyles of Bute with its natural harbours, islands, sheltered beaches and fast-running tidal narrows. There is a rare colony of the misnamed "common" seal on Burnt island. At around 8pm we drop anchor in secluded Loch Riddon and our first dinner aboard is enjoyed in the loch's peace and tranquillity.

Day

2

After a leisurely breakfast we can fish over the side for our dinner. We can also learn how to tie knots or just sit back (and photograph) and enjoy the wildlife - often observing as many as 24 bird species in one day. After lunch we up anchor and pass through the tidal "narrows" of the Kyles of Bute. We anchor close to the Burnt Island's bird sanctuary and observe Greater and Lesser Black Backed Gulls nesting with Oystercatchers, Herring Gulls, Cormorants, Eider Ducks, Canada Geese and many other species. If there is time we can launch the tender and shoot a lobster pot.

Day

3

We head down the beautiful West Kyle and out over the Sound of Bute cruising towards the Isle of Arran. We lunch on the way and, once out in the open sea and weather permitting, we hoist the sails. There are basking sharks close to Arran's shore, plunging gannets and we can sail so close to Manx Shearwaters, Guillemots, Razorbills and three metres long "Lion" Jellyfish that we can almost touch them!  We return to our secluded and beautiful anchorage off the Burnt Islands to enjoy a well-deserved dinner.

Day

4

After breakfast we launch the tender and pick up our lobster pot – hopefully full of crabs and lobsters and all sorts of unusual sea creatures! Then set out for Loch Fyne and our next destination the sea lock at Ardrishaig at the entrance of the Crinan Canal. Loch Fyne is the longest sea loch on the Scottish West Coast and the Crinan Canal connects it to the Sound of Jura. The Canal was built in 1801 for seafarers to avoid rounding the stormy Mull of Kintyre. Queen Victoria travelled though the Canal and a Crinan Canal trip became a very popular Victorian pastime. We spend the first night in the Canal and close to Ardrishaig sea lock.

Day

5

The Crinan Canal has 15 locks and meanders through truly magnificent scenery. It is a designated wildlife reserve with miles of forest walks and cycle ways. You can cycle, go for walks, help the St Hilda's crew and the Canal staff manage the locks, or just sit back and enjoy the scenery. Managing the locks and the camaraderie of meeting others along the route is great fun. About halfway through the Canal we moor for the night.

Day

6

We have time today take to enjoy the great walks, the many birds (sea and land) and the historic sites with their ancient standing stones, which are all within easy reach. There are also nice pubs serving real ale. We moor for the night at a convenient pontoon after the day's activities.

Day

7

We slowly wend our way along the Canal towards the Crinan Basin - our final destination. 

Day

8

Disembark the Crinan Canal Basin after breakfast. The end of a truly unique and varied cruise.

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Prices

Twin Cabin (p/p)£1,050.00
Twin Cabin En-suite (p/p)£1,393.00
Double Cabin En-suite (p/p)£1,750.00
Private Charter (whole boat)£8,386.00
2018 Accommodation Layout

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Reasons to book

  • Extraordinary wildlife
  • Ex-tall ship with skipper and chef
  • Hoist the sails
  • Great value for money
  • Cruises through the Crinan Canal
  • Maximum of 6 guests per cruise
  • Breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner
  • Organised whisky tour
  • Organised activities for free
Holiday Tips

Wonderful wildlife and scenery - especially Loch Striven.

Marilyn Hands, 2016