Scotland is a land of mountain wildernesses, incredible wildlife, lonely sea lochs and islands, remote fishing villages, Gaelic speaking communities and deep glens. The country is famed for its long and dramatic history, archaeology and the warmth and kindness of its people. Scotland’s capital is Edinburgh and its castle, which dominates the city, is home to Scotland’s crown jewels. The city is a delightful mixture of medieval, Georgian and neoclassical buildings. On Scotland’s west coast is the port city of Glasgow rightly famous for its vibrant culture, museums, and Victorian and art nouveau buildings.
Visiting Scotland by both land and sea allows the visitor to truly appreciate the multi-faceted depth of this wonderful country: from Highlands to Lowlands; from city to village; and the rugged beauty of the Hebridean Islands. It is a unique experience when you spend part of your holiday on land and the other part at sea.
Scotland by Sea (The Inner Hebrides Wildlife Cruise): This five night Scottish cruise takes you along the majestic Sound of Mull, famous for its wildlife and bordered by the Isle of Mull and the Morvern Peninsula, and along historic Loch Linnhe. Our voyage will give you the full flavour of Scotland from the sea: its sheltered sea lochs, tranquil anchorages, picturesque harbours, ancient castles and even a whisky distillery. The mini cruise is a wonderful introduction to the breath-taking Hebrides and Islands.
The price includes all meals, fruit on demand, coffee breaks, afternoon teas, continental lager and house wine (half a bottle) with the pre-dinner aperitif and evening meal and the services of your crew. We are also pleased to offer to our passengers a complementary visit to Duart castle.
Please note that your voyage is weather dependent. Weather doesn't just mean good or bad weather. There are many considerations such as tidal gates, wind direction and strength, the strength and direction of currents, overfalls, and fetch. Depending upon the weather and nature’s conditions, wildlife viewing varies.
Scotland by Land: You will travel by land through those must see-parts of Scotland. Each trips comes with a driver-guide who knows the scenic views, Scotland's romantic and violent history and those special, tucked away places. The land tour includes all accommodation (with breakfast) and entry to key sites. Our partner Clans and Castles will be organising the land part of the voyage .
The 11 night voyage splits into two main parts. We first spend five nights discovering 'Scotland by land' and then we spend five nights discovering 'Scotland by sea'. The final night, after the five night cruise, is spent on land. Guests can choose to book the entire voyage or just the sea or land section. There is also the option of a 'self-drive' tour for the land part.
Example of the 11 night itinerary:
Day 1 (land): Experience teaches us that people prefer to give themselves at least a full day to recover from the flight, adjust to the time zone and explore a little on their own. We are therefore including a night at a chic Bed and Breakfast close to Edinburgh city centre before you meet your tour guide.
While in the City, visit he National Museum of Scotland to see key West Highland artefacts such as the sculptures, weaponry and the sections on the Lordship of the Isles and the Highland clans.
Day 2 (land):We all meet in the foyer and set off for the West Highlands. Past Loch Lomond and over the ‘Rest and Be Thankful Pass and into the Argyll Highlands. A visit to Inveraray with its magnificent castle – seat and home of the Chiefs of Clan Campbell and Dukes of Argyll. We stay in a nearby Inn.
Day 3 (land): We drive deeper into the West Highlands. A seaside visit to the ancient crosses at Kilmory and Castle Sween – Scotland’s first stone-built fortress. Then on to Saddell, one of the original centres of the Macdonald Lords of the Isles.
Day 4 (land):We tour the legendary Kilmartin Glen, capital of Dark Age Dalriada. Then up the stunning West Coast of Argyll to the fishing port of Oban and then our West Coast castle for two nights.
Day 5 (land): Exploring the West Coast. Ardchattan, dramatic GlenCoe, scene of the infamous massacre, and back via Glenorchy and Kilchurn castle on Loch Awe.
Day 6 (land/sea): Time to take to the waves, your departure point will be Oban (Dunstaffnage Marina), the gateway to the Hebridean isles. After a short introduction to life on board our small ship we set sail to our first destination which is Loch Linnhe. We travel past Lismore Island for the sheltered anchorage off Shuna Island. We can go ashore and visit the local nature reserve on the mainland and admire the famous Castle Stalker. There are lovely walks across the causeway bridge to Port Appin.
Day 7 (sea): A narrow entrance leads us in to the tranquil waters of Loch Spelve (on the beautiful Isle of Mull) with its surrounding ancient oak forest. If we are lucky we might spot an otter along the loch shore. We can also pick up some local grown mussels in the morning before we leave to our next destination.
Day 8 (sea): First stop is at our daytime anchorage in Duart Bay which is below the spectacular 13th century Duart Castle, the ancestral home to the Maclean clan. You can go for walks along the shore and visit the castle and learn about its rich clan history.
Then on to Tobermory, one of the most picturesque towns in the Hebrides Isles with its famous whisky distillery and colourful waterfront. We anchor in the bay where a Spanish galleon was sunk with all its treasure!
Day 9 (sea): Across the Sounds of Mull and into the mouth of Loch Sunart. Here, just south of Oronsay island, lies secluded and remote Loch Drumbuie. A squeeze between high sided cliffs and we are in a perfectly sheltered anchorage. We can spend a tranquil afternoon and night here.
Day 10 (sea): South to picturesque Loch Aline, where there are woodland walks and, at the head of the loch, Ardtornish estate and gardens. Old Ardtornish castle - fortress of the Lords of the Isles and scene of the infamous treaty between them and the English king - is on the headland above.
Day 11 (sea/land): We return to Dunstaffnage marina by 12:30. Collected to hook up with a glorious train journey back through the Highlands to Edinburgh for a comfortable last night.Enquire now
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We all had a great time on board the St Hilda. Ella says it was her best holiday ever!