Sounds of the Hebrides: Crinan Canal Basin to Tobermory

5 nights

Departs: Crinan Canal Basin

Sounds of the Hebrides: Crinan Canal Basin to Tobermory

5 nights

Travel along the world famous Sounds that separate some of the most picturesque islands of the Inner Hebrides and listen to the myriad sounds of the sea.

Sail by the spectacular islands of the Inner Hebridean Islands: Mull, Oronsay, Luing, Shuna and Jura. Anchor in tranquil, remote bays. See the incredible wildlife  - soaring sea and golden eagles, basking sharks, orca and minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, seabirds and seals. On some of the Hebridean cruises we look at nature through the eyes of a marine biologist and even get out the plankton nets and microscopes!

Do as little or as much as you want. Sit back and enjoy the trip as you travel through the Sounds and sea lochs; view the spectacular mountains and fast running tides that make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea; marvel at the headland lighthouses and castles  and all the wildlife and, if you want, become involved in working the ex-tall ship St Hilda.

The sheltered waters are perfect for learning to sail against a spectacular backdrop of pristine coastline, mountains and forests. For extra fun, bring your kayak and windsurfer, swim from the boat or go ashore on remote islands to explore. Also don't forget your walking boots for spectacular island walks with wonderful views of the Sounds.

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

Please note that the below itinerary is an example only and is weather dependent.  



Arrive at the Crinan Canal basin (north side of the canal). If you arrive early you will have the time to visit the coffee shop or the nearby hotel and enjoy beautiful views of the Sounds of the Hebrides. After a short introduction to life on board our small ship, there is afternoon tea (clotted cream and scones!). We will set sail and pass the northern headland of Jura, where George Orwell’s cottage can still be seen where he wrote 1984, to sail down the Sound of Jura. The magnificent Munro mountains, the three “Paps of Jura”, can be seen rising over Jura to dominate the southern end of the Sound of Islay. Our destination is an anchorage in the upper reaches of beautiful Loch Sween - its seal population lining its banks to watch us as we pass by.



After breakfast up anchor and we pass the natural anchorage of Tayvallich, once a famous Viking harbour, back down Loch Sween to head up the Sounds of Jura and Shuna to our next destination, the remote island of Shuna. Our quiet anchorage off the north coast of Shuna Island is a spot where otters frequently play along the shore-line. On the way, and at anytime during the trip, we may see soaring sea or golden eagles (Mull is the best place in the UK to see eagles), basking sharks, whales, porpoises and dolphins, as well as many types of seabirds. Tidal planning is critical as we will pass the notorious Gulf of Corryvreckan with its six knot tides which can be heard roaring 30 miles inland when there is a storm of wind against them.



Up anchor and down the Shuna Sound. We then pass the southern tip of Luing Island and enter the Sound of Luing. We shoot with the tide in our favour, (a must as the currents can run at five knots in these parts) past the famous Fladda lighthouse, the over falls and eddies of these fast running waters make extraordinary spiral patterns and glassy runs in the sea. Into the Firth of Lorn and into the Sound of Mull. Our destination is a delightful little sea loch, Loch Aline, on the coast of Morvern. In Loch Aline there are woodland walks and, at the head of the loch, is ancient Ardtornish castle and woodland gardens.



After breakfast we lift anchor and set sail for the Isle of Oronsay. Just south of Oronsay island lies secluded Loch Drumbuie situated between the island and the mainland. A squeeze between high sided cliffs and we are in a perfectly sheltered anchorage. We spend a tranquil night here.



On our last day we head to Tobermory, one of the most picturesque towns in the Western Isles, where we will finally anchor for the night in the most sheltered of natural harbours. Aperitif on deck and then dinner.



Disembark by dinghy after breakfast at around 11am at Tobermory - the end of a perfect voyage. If you are joining the trip in reverse you will disembark at the Crinan Canal basin.

Enquire now

Dates don't suit?

Get in touch and we will do our best to meet your requirements


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

It was all wonderful - watching over 100 gannets divebombing again and again like WW2 fighter pilots.

Sue Fletcher, June 2012