To make your small boat cruising holiday as enjoyable as possible we highly recommend that you take note of these holiday tips.
Baggage: Storage space is limited on board so we advise soft bags for ease of stowing your luggage.
Dress: Casual wear is best onboard. Layered clothing will cope with all temperatures and a waterproof jacket and lightweight, waterproof trousers are necessary for when out on deck or in the tender. You could bring a pair of gloves to help you work the ropes and sails.
Footwear: Please bring a clean pair of shoes for wearing on deck and inside the boat (ideally non-slip, slip-in, such as proper deckshoes or Crocs); and either a pair of clean, light, walking boots or wellingtons for trips in the tender and to go ashore. To protect the wooden decks, ropes and sails all footwear brought on board should be clean of mud and grit and high-heeled shoes should not be worn on board.
Berths: There are two cabins below decks for guests, the fore cabin sleeps four and the en-suite aft cabin sleeps two. All berths in the fore cabin are single and the en-suite cabin has a double bed. All bedding and towels are provided.
Health and medical services: Let us know of any special medical conditions e.g. allergies. If you need to keep any medication refrigerated, or have any medical devices that will need charging etc, let us know and we will check their availability and compatibility with the ship’s electrical system. The boat is never far from land, therefore there is no requirement for a doctor or nurse on board. Guests should ensure that, to their knowledge, they are fit to take a holiday during which immediate medical assistance may not be available. The Skipper is a qualified First Aid Officer and there is a comprehensive First Aid kit on board. Guests should bring any medicines or pharmaceutical products they are likely to need during their time on board. If you suffer from seasickness don’t forget the Kwells just in case, and don't forget the sun cream!
Life jackets and liferaft: Life jackets are provided for each passenger. Their use and the liferaft will be demonstrated during the safety briefing. Buoyancy aids (provided) are required to be worn when in St Hilda's tender. If windsurfing or canoeing we suggest you bring your own “mini lifejackets” with you.
Midgies: While on board you are safe from the infamous Scottish midge which is around in June, July and August. However you may need to apply repellent when you go ashore. You may have your own preference but we will have on board a stock of the one we find most useful.
Itinerary: The itinerary is flexible to suit the prevailing and forecast weather conditions, to follow the most sheltered and safe option. This is discussed with the passengers each day but the final decision rests with the Skipper.
Boat operations: Guests are usually keen to learn about the running of the boat and you are very welcome to join the Skipper in the wheelhouse to steer and learn about navigating the local area. Navigating the boat on their own is something children are unlikely to forget. He will also be happy to take you round the engine room and educate you on his pride and joy, a 6 cylinder Kelvin diesel engine! You will be able to help with mooring; to work the locks in the Crinan Canal; raising and lowering the anchor; and with the sails (if you want to hoist them).
Coffee/Tea: Coffee, tea, fruit and biscuits are freely available all day.
Going ashore: The tender will take you ashore and pick you up at a prearranged time or signal. We want you to be able to do as much or as little exploration ashore as you wish and we can plan daily trips ashore. The Skipper has good local knowledge of the best walks and attractions and any specialist activities. There is plenty to see and do which is free; but because our guests have different preferences, any entrance costs for local attractions and activities are at your own expense. For insurance and safety reasons, only the Skipper operates the tender.
Meals: Please let us know in advance of any particular food and drink likes and dislikes, allergies and food intolerance. All meals are prepared by your onboard cook and served in the saloon. Each day there is a new menu, which can be flexible to suit any dietary preferences or requirements
Library: The library is in the deck saloon. It has a range of informative books/leaflets on the local area as well as novels and board games. Remember to take your own favourite games and any extra reading material.
Sailing: We anchor at night (or moor alongside in the Crinan Canal) and tend to motor or sail after breakfast and lunch to allow our passengers time to relax and enjoy the scenery. We only set the sails when conditions are right (ideally a broad reach) and do not sail in the very narrow sea lochs or beat into heavy weather! We do not travel at night for safety reasons. If they so require, guests are shown how to operate the engines, sails and how to navigate and steer the boat.
Walking on shore: There are opportunities to explore villages and coastal areas, therefore bring suitable footwear (see above). Don't forget to bring lightweight waterproof trousers and jacket.
Alcohol: House Wine is complimentary with dinner, otherwise feel free to bring your favourite tipple on board. There is a limited supply of ice!
Binoculars. The boat has two pairs of binoculars but you may wish to bring your own as there are lots of opportunity to spot birds and other wildlife.
Fishing: There are rods and hand lines on board but you can bring your own. We will almost certainly catch fish that can be eaten for dinner or used to bait the creels!
Cycling, Canoeing and Windsurfing: Feel free to bring your own windsurfers and canoes. Bikes can be brought for the Crinan Canal trip only. There is plenty of storage area on deck.
Communications: The cellular system in the Highlands and Islands can be irregular; however during every day at some time you should be able to use your mobile phone and there are phones on shore. The boat has access to emergency services via VHF radio. It is most of the time possible to access the internet from local hotels, pubs, or use your 3G phone as personal hotspot whenever the network allows it.
Electricity supply: The ships electricity is 24V DC when away from the shore. There is a generator for 240 V AC but this is usually not run, especially not at night to keep the vessel quiet and peaceful and in tune with the environment. In port, standard 240 V AC UK 3 pin sockets are provided in the main cabins and galley.
Emergency contact: You will have to communicate us 2 emergency contacts, which will be collected during the booking process. Alternatively for you to be reacheable during your stay onboard, you may be reached on our phone : 07745 550988 and urgent messages can be sent via our office email: firstname.lastname@example.org marked for your attention.
Smoking: No smoking is allowed anywhere down below in the St Hilda including all the cabins and deck saloon.
Valuables: Please keep your valuables safe below. On deck, please make sure you secure all personal belongings to avoid loss overboard.
Weather: The weather can be quite localised and can change from sun to rain and back again from hour to hour not just day to day! This type of weather system is of course what makes the landscape so stunning and dramatic. Our guests assure us it is worthwhile putting up with occasional rain to enjoy spells of glorious weather and spectacular scenery. Our itineraries and activities are flexible to get the best of the weather on each day.
Please contact us regarding any queries, we are happy to answer any questions to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.