A Fresh Start for Provident…a New Adventure for you
As the country gears up for a new academic year, thoughts turn to the next chapter, fresh starts and learning new things. 1924 Brixham Trawler Provident is starting her next adventure, and its a great time for you to think about yours.
Provident is a well known and much loved ship, having spent recent years as a cornerstone of the UK Sail Training industry on the South coast. Following the closure of the Trinity sailing foundation, she was in limbo, waiting for a sense of purpose. Enter Steve and Morag, a lively and passionate pair, who are building a new life for her on the West coast of Scotland. Sailing these beautiful waters is in their blood, and we’re excited to see Provident stretching her wings in a new stomping ground.
You can join Provident on her first full sailing season next year, and with a delectable selection of Hebridean adventures to choose from, you might be hard pressed making up your mind!
A Provident Choice
While Provident was built for sailing and fishing in the English Channel, she may as well have been designed for West coast island hopping. Strongly built, and with a deckhouse to protect you from changeable Scottish weather, she takes these waters in her stride.
The crew are also fantastic local guides, as both Morag and Steve grew up here. They know all the best places to explore ashore, and if you’re lucky a trip aboard might include a visit to Loch Kishorn and Morag’s family island. There’s no better place for a beach fire and a picnic in perfect Hebridean seclusion.
A sailor’s paradise, the West coast of Scotland and the Hebridean Islands offer limitless opportunities for exploration. There’s just so much to see, from the rugged and beautiful scenery to the abundant local wildlife, fascinating history and lively port stops.
Provident’s voyages in 2023 tick a lot of boxes, and there’s an adventure for everyone in the schedule. For those who prefer sheltered waters you can join for a trip through the Caledonian Canal, traversing Neptune’s Staircase and sailing the steep-sided expanse of Loch Ness. Or perhaps you’d rather strike out for the islands of St Kilda, one of Scotland’s most remote treasures.
The summer days are long at these latitudes, and sailing through the night is a possibility on quite a few of Provident’s 2023 trips. Clear skies, a fresh breeze, and miles ticking by beneath the keel. You’ll never have sleep like it! There’s also the chance to stand watch with the crew, helming through gorgeous sunsets and starlit skies.
Scotland’s seabird colonies are second to none, and sailing in this area is a must for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers. Canna for the puffins and guillemots, Rum for the manx shearwaters, Treshnish for fulmars, storm petrels and razorbills. Great skua flypasts and the chance to spot sea eagles.
Mammals abound too. Scotland is a real European stronghold for otters, and the Inner Hebrides are a particular hotspot. Provident’s voyages ensure plenty of time exploring ashore and the crew can show you some of the best places for otter-spotting. The otter hide near Broadford on Skye, for instance, overlooks the Kylerhea narrows and gives a phenomenal vantage point to watch them frolicking on the shoreline.
Wildlife watching is also great whilst under sail: porpoises, several dolphin species, minke and killer whales are all regular visitors. A large, heavy ship quietly sailing along is a curiosity for these animals, so often they will come to you to play in the bow wave or follow in your wake. The chance to climb the rigging, under the supervision of the crew, allows you to spot marine creatures much more easily, and watch as they investigate this peculiar wooden whale sharing their waters.
The history of the West coast and Hebridean islands stretches back to ancient times. From the dinosaur footprints on the shoreline of Skye, and Pictish round towers built over two thousand years ago, through to more recent industrial heritage like the wonder of Neptune’s Staircase on the Caledonian Canal. First built in the 1820s this engineering marvel solves the problem of raising ships over 20m in under half a mile.
Everywhere you sail, the history of humans creating footholds in remote landscapes is there for all to see, and there are some fantastic museums to visit along the way. The small but perfectly formed fossil museum at Staffin is a treat, with the curator having collected most of the exhibits himself. The Skye Museum of Island Life is also worth a visit, detailing Hebridean life through the ages.
St Kilda’s Museum is great too, and perfectly located in one of the restored houses on the street of Hirta. Nowhere are Scotland’s layers of history more visible than St Kilda. Provident has several voyages to this remote archipelago next year, and you can get a real sense of the isolation previous inhabitants lived in. Originally settled by humans over four thousand years ago, islanders here were the epitome of self sufficiency right up until St Kilda’s eventual abandonment in 1930.
Port Stops and Harbours
Most of Provident’s voyages in 2023 set out from either Oban or Mallaig, fantastic jumping off points for a Hebridean adventure. The inlets, sea lochs and islands you’ll visit have each have their own unique towns and villages to explore.
You might have a pint in the most remote pub in Britain, the Old Forge in Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula, or get ashore in the colourful town of Tobermory on Mull. The whisky distilleries of Jura and Islay, and the abbey at Iona are also worth a visit. Wherever your voyage takes you, you can be sure to make a scene, sailing in aboard such a beautiful historic ship.
Travel planning is straightforward too. Both Oban and Mallaig have good public transport connections, and you could even add a jaunt on the Jacobite steam train to your holiday (these days more commonly known as the ‘Hogwart’s Express’), which puffs its way between Mallaig and Fort William.
Most Importantly…Some Fantastic Sailing
In amongst all of the shoreside delights, the biggest draw of a voyage on Provident is the sailing. This is a real hands-on holiday, and within a day or two you’ll be setting and stowing Provident’s eight sails like a pro. Taking the wheel and helming her through a landscape this beautiful is a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The crew are passionate about sailing, and the engine will be used as little as possible. Steve and Morag’s excitement about Provident is infectious, and they create a friendly and open atmosphere on board. They believe that everyone has something to give and something to gain from sailing, so whatever your age, experience level or particular interest, you will be welcomed with open arms and soon feel part of the crew.