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2021 SEASON: In the Wake of the Vikings – Hebrides, Orkney, Shetland, Faroes & Iceland

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2 berth cabin ensuite -pp under 26yrs

Limited places

€3520.00

2 berth cabin ensuite – pp over 25yrs

Limited places

€3960.00

Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Fri 21-05-2021, 16:00Ullapool, Scotland Fri 11-06-2021, 08:00Reykjavik, Iceland Tecla 21 NightsTC-210521

A 23 day sailing journey on tall ship Tecla following in the wake of the Vikings and an ancient sea trade routes between the Hebrides and Iceland. A journey stringing together several mini expeditions where you can spend 2-4 days in each island group and really explore with some day long walks and guided history tours. Orkney and Shetland are an archaeologist’s dream, Fair isles is perfect for bird watchers, Faroes is for those with a head for heights and Iceland is unique.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the Outer Hebrides or Shiant Isles for puffins
  • Orkney – awesome sailing ground – described as the ‘Scillies of the North’
  • Fair Isle – famousin the shipping news but few sailors have ever been there
  • Shetland – Best beaches in Europe (with a Shetland Jumper on)
  • The Faroes – A landfall to make Vikings nervous
  • Iceland – Land of Ice and Fire
  • All food included
  • Heated 2 person cabins with en-suite shower and WC

Tecla

Vessel type / Rig Gaff Ketch
Guest Berths 12
Beam 22ft
Draft 8.9ft
Deck Length 90ft
Overall Length 124ft
Tonnage 92 tons
Year Built 1915
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR…

Sailors with a sense of history and legend. Those who like a bit of rough in terms of challenging sailing. Those in the know, who realise this is a journey stringing together several mini expeditions where you can spend 2-4 days in each island group and really explore with some day long walks and guided history tours. Orkney and Shetland are an archaeologist’s dream, Fair isles is perfect for bird watchers, Faroes is for those with a head for heights and Iceland is unique.

Classic Sailing Director Debbie sailing on this epic voyage in 2018 and took some great photos. She had many adventures ashore with her crewmates and was blown away by the wildlife and the ancient history on each island. The route is steeped in myth and legend and follows the old Viking trading routes. 

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit the Outer Hebrides or Shiant Isles for puffins
  • Orkney – awesome sailing ground – described as the ‘Scillies of the North’
  • Fair Isle – famous in the shipping news but few sailors have ever been there
  • Shetland – Best beaches in Europe (with a Shetland Jumper on)
  • The Faroes – A landfall to make Vikings nervous
  • Iceland – Land of Ice and Fire
  • All food included
  • Heated 2 person cabins with en-suite shower and WC

 

Sailing in the Faroes. A test for your sea legs after sailing to the Faroes
A test for your sea legs after sailing to the Faroes

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

21 day sailing adventure in ‘Viking Territory’

The crew of Tecla like to immerse themselves in the culture of each place they visit, so this three week voyage allows enough time to explore each island group. The many islands of Orkney and the huge Scarpa Flow offers shelter for many wind directions, so it is always possible to explore here. Fair Isle is a bit more tenuous and the port entrances of the Faroes are downright exciting, but it is unlikely these highlights would be missed as they are part of the purpose of the voyage.

On a sailing voyage we never use the word itinerary, as skippers will always be aiming for the best sailing and shore landings for the forecast and most idyllic or sheltered anchors and ports. They are as keen as you to include some of the highlights described below, but you have to go with Mother Nature, not fight her. The description below is based on what we think might be possible, based on past trips, or experience, but nothing is guaranteed on a sailing voyage….and this trip is more expedition like than most.

Setting sail from Ullapool a course north is set to first visit Stornoway, the Orkneys and then onwards to the Shetland Islands. Fair Isle is the first stop, then on to Foula or the mainland of the Shetlands. When the winds are good, a crossing of less then 24 hours will take you to the unmistakable landfall of the Faroe Islands.

Stopping on the Faroe Islands is always special. At least two or three islands will be visited, depending on wind and weather. Picture yourself on top of the Enniberg on the island Vidoy!

Vertigo? or the best place to be for a tall ship sailor? Faroes summit
Vertigo? or the best place to be for a tall ship sailor? Faroes summit & seabirds

Expedition Style Voyage

Tecla is visiting a few places she has cruised before like Orkney, but much is new territory to explore and her skippers have been checking out the best places to go, so for her multinational professional crew it is as much as an expedition as it is for the guests.

This sailing voyage leads to sparsely inhabited islands, tiny fishing villages, deep lochs and rugged cliffs that will be appealing to nature lovers looking for puffin, sea and white tailed eagles, whales and other cetaceans. The hundreds of islands of the Hebrides have their own character, are very isolated and therefore entirely self-reliant. This area is rich in seabirds, which usually breed on the steep cliff faces. With the Tecla, a relatively small tall ship, we will visit unique places that cannot be reached by anything but boat or ship.

Whilst cruising these amazing sailing grounds you can help setting the big gaff sails on main and foremast. There are no square sails but she has proper ratlines so you can climb the mast and enjoy the view.

Tecla for ocean crossings. Photo by Howard Gear
Tecla for ocean crossings. Photo by Howard Gear

Well Proven Ocean Sailing Ship

Tecla sailed around the world in 2012-13 with Europa and Oosterschelde. She crossed the South and North Atlantic, Indian Ocean, the wild seas of South Australia, raced in the Tasman Sea and sailed across the Pacific to round Cape Horn. She is a fast ship that does well in tall ships races. Run by two Dutch families she likes to create unusual sailing programmes and her crews like to explore ashore with as much energy as they sail the ship.

Ullapool – Tecla’s Favourite Base 

The crew of Tecla were made very welcome by the local community in Ullapool in 2015, so the ship is back in the harbour in 2016 and starting all her Outer Hebrides and St Kilda voyages from here. Even further North than Eda Frandsen’s summer base in Mallaig. Ullapool is North of Skye, North of Torridon and level in latitude with the Shiant Islands. 

Stornoway for Standing Stones

The first hop is likely to be to the Shiant Islands or Outer Hebrides. Callanish standing stones are a reminder of a past when Viking long boats roamed and waterborne trade used each island group to exchange goods and take shelter before the next stretch of open water. The crew are keen to also visit the Gearannan black houses with their thatched roofs held down with large boulders against the high winds.

Sail Scotland. Outer Hebrides. Neolithic standing stones of Callanish on Lewis
Liz amongst the Neolithic standing stones of Callanish on Lewis

 

Orkney for Sea Stacks

The next evening you will set sail for the Orkney Isles, probably Hoy. Orkney’s second largest island rises dramatically from the sea with ward hill towering 480 metres above sea level.  If you anchor off Hoy the crew can hire a minibus to get to the other side of the island with its red sandstone cliffs and stacks and a walk to the famous Old Man of Hoy.  There are white tailed fish eagles nesting on Hoy and most the island is owned by the RSPB.  The organic Scapa Flow Ale is good too.

Stromness is a port worth exploring. The Orcadians were a hardy breed and many travelled the world as whalers, fishermen, sailors, fur traders and Arctic explorers. The standstone streets have narrow alleyways and private wharves, with a waterfront that has not really changed in centuries.

Kirkwall has St Magnus Catherdral with a Viking longship on the altar. Magnus and his men were massacred on the Island of Eday, but when Tecla crew visited it was a tranquil island with a ruined church, skylarks, farming and seals sunbathing.

sandstone cliffs and surf breaks on Orkney
sandstone cliffs and surf breaks on Orkney

Buy a knitted hat in Fair Isle

Fair Isle is allegedly a very friendly place for visitors….but then you are a rare commodity in this remote island between Orkney and Shetland. Famous for its fisherman’s colourful jumper patterns and the shipping forecast, but when you meet the people it becomes as fascinating as all isolated communities. If you can’t afford a jumper the hats are rather fine.

Everyone has a skill or two and several jobs. The tiny harbour is hard to see into but is a real gem once you get inside. Steep cliffs full of nesting fulmars surround you, and seals and black guillimot swim in the turquoise blue harbour. The island is easy to walk around with puffins, skuas and many visiting birds using this tiny island as a stepping stone between Orkney and Shetland.

“We had a magical evening BBQ on the quayside with just us and a few visiting twitchers from the RSPB Bird Observatory” Debbie

Little secret harbour on Fair Isle
Little secret harbour on Fair Isle

Sail a Herring Drifter to Shetland

Tecla was originally a Herring Drifter, fishing for Herring all around the North Sea, so she looks at home in Lerwick – once a major herring port. You can get your fix of internet cafes here or buy another hat. 

Mousa is a perfect evening anchorage with a bronze age broch or double walled fortress home virtually intact to visit. In the spring storm petrels nest inside the walls and only come out at dusk. Keep your eyes peeled for otters.

 

On a storm petrel evening safari on Mousa. Photo by Debbie
On a storm petrel evening safari on Mousa. Photo by Debbie

On the Edge of the Gannet’s Northern Kingdom – Muckle Flugga

Tecla generally visit Unst in Shetland for the Hermaness National Nature Reserve.  Sail in past the Muckle Flugga lighthouse and then ashore you have to walk through a skua dive bombing area to get to the cliffs where the gannets and puffins breed.

“Sitting amongst the gannets was one of the best wildlife experiences I’ve ever had and I felt I was almost flying with them” Debbie again.

Gannets by the thousands on Shetland
Gannets by the thousands on Shetland

The Faroes for Viking Culture

Whatever you might think of the whaling, the Faroes are a place of dramatic sea cliffs, swirling mists and legend. The cliffs of Slaettaratindur are 882 metres high and the tallest sea cliffs in Europe. Ashore there are Viking village remains to visit at Kvalvik. Maybe find a sauna to relax in at Torshavn. The ship will be well stocked with Dutch beer so chatting to the locals with a beer on deck, will help preserve your ‘pocket money’. Look out for the colourful turf roof houses.

Summits in the Faroes. An awaesome trek for sailors on Tecla
Summits in the Faroes. An awaesome trek for sailors on Tecla

Landfall Iceland

Much of the land ‘North of the wall’ in Game of Thrones TV series was filmed in Iceland, but in summer this is less of an icy wasteland, with flower meadows, fresh water off the glaciers creating huge waterfalls, hot water geysers and geothermal natural pools to bathe in. Reykjavik is Europe’s most Northerly Capital. A stylish place with great fashion shops, bookshops and cafes. There are now many cheap flight options back to many cities in Europe from nearby Keflavik Airport.

Ideal time of Year for Wildlife & Seabirds

The waters surrounding the Hebrides and further North – all the way to Iceland – are rich in sea life and nutrients. During the crossings between the different island groups the chances are high that we will spot whales or dolphins and this is a great time of year for ocean seabirds as they come into the high cliffs to breed.

Waterfalls in Faroes and Iceland
Waterfalls in Faroes and Iceland

Iceland – A Naturalist’s Paradise

As well as coastal seas rich in cetaceans and fish, Iceland is a stopping off point for a wide variety of birdlife. Even those who cannot tell a gannet from a seagull, may find themselves developing an interest in ornithology…or at least reaching for a bird guide. Around 70 bird species breed in Iceland and over 370 different species have been spotted here.  There are millions of puffins here in the summer (roughly May to August), skuas and terns that will dive bomb you if you get too close to their nests.

The Barrow’s Golden Eye, Great Northern Diver and Harlequin duck are common in America but Iceland is a good place to spot them. Gyrfalcons have been in Iceland for centuries and much prized for falconery across Europe. White tailed eagles are now protected in Iceland with about 65 breeding pairs.

Iceland has plenty of bog and marshland so there are many waders, geese and ducks.

 

Photo by Tecla guest Maria Cerrudo from Spain. Puffins in the Shiant Islands, Faroes and Iceland
Photo by Tecla guest Maria Cerrudo from Spain. Puffins in the Shiant Islands, Faroes and Iceland

 

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

Sailing from Ullapool provides a chance for some flatter water in the lee of Skye or the Outer Hebridean Chain. The passage from say Lewis to Orkney is via the Pentland Firth and Cape Wrath so the tides run fast and can kick up rough seas. Hopefully you will get a window with tide and wind behind you!  The Orkneys have a huge range of sheltered anchorages once amongst the islands. The biggest bit of open water is the 600 miles from the Faroes to Reykjavik. With modern weather forecasting you should be able to pick your timing to set off and reach Iceland in the best conditions.  This voyage is quite early season, so although there is very little dark, there could be quite a bit of wind chill so pack plenty of layers and waterproof footwear. Your cabin has radiators so you can dry stuff.

HANDS ON HOLIDAYS

Whether you are an experienced sailor or a complete beginner, the professional crew will train you to be guest crew from the moment you arrive, with the intention that everybody works together to sail the ship. The common thread to all Classic Sailing holidays is ‘Hands on’ participation on ships that use ropes, blocks and tackles and ‘people power’ to set sail.

SAILING STYLE & LIFE ON BOARD

We cater for a wide range of ages and physical abilities and how much you are expected to do varies a bit between vessels. See the vessel tab above which explains all about the ‘sailing style’ and what to expect in terms of hands on participation. There is a lot of information about day to day life, the ships facilities and accommodation on the vessel pages.

AGILITY & FITNESS

Every customer sailing with us will need to fill in basic medical questions on their booking application. If you are not sure if your current level of fitness and agility are up to a voyage, then please ring the Classic Sailing Office on 01872 58 00 22 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Skipper & professional crew
  • Personal Safety Equipment
  • Sailing Instruction
  • All meals, snacks and refreshments
  • Port and landing fees
  • Linen and duvets
  • Third Party liability insurance

WHAT’S NOT INCLUDED

  • Travel to Joining Port
  • Travel from end port
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Towels
  • Waterproofs

 

 

Start & End Port

Ullapool, Scotland

For Joining any vessel, head to the harbour where your ship will more than likely be the only sailing vessel. Address: The Pier, Ullapool IV26 2UH

Ullapool – The Port

As a base for starting a sailing holiday, Ullapool rewards those who take the trouble to travel this far North. On the entrance to Loch Broom are the Summer Isles and if you head out West you come to the Shiant Islands before your reach Harris and Lewis. From here, it is a relatively short hop to St Kilda, or the Flannan Isles. The sailing grounds are virtually empty and in June it feels like the sun hardly sets. At nearly N 58 degrees latitude Ullapool is further North than Moscow. Its a long way up from Edinburgh, but not as difficult to get to as you might think.

Ullapool is nestled on the shores of Loch Broom. Whatever the weather, you are immediately struck by Ullapool’s whiteness and by its regularity of design and layout. This is a legacy of the town’s origins, being designed and built in 1788 by Thomas Telford and the British Fisheries Society to exploit a boom in herring fishing at the time.

The town is also the main terminus for the car and passenger ferry to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis. The ferry operates seven days per week so all the public transport to Ullapool is good and there are plenty of accommodation options in the town.

Ullapool Town Facilities

As a base for exploring the north west of Scotland, Ullapool is ideal. It has accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets, including one of the best (and best located) campsites in this part of Scotland. And since the upgrading of most of the roads further north it is within reasonable reach of many parts of the region that twenty-five years ago would have needed a major expedition to reach.

Ullapool offers some very nice pubs, including the Ferry Boat Inn. It also has a range of shops from the smallest right up to a well-stocked supermarket: anyone on a self catering holiday is sure to be visiting the latter at some point during their stay.

For those wanting to know more about the area the excellent Ullapool Museum & Visitor Centre on West Argyle Street can be highly recommended. This is in the old parish church, and tells the story of the people of Loch Broom and the history of Ullapool.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Reykjavik Port Pdf

Join Tecla in Reykjavik by heading to the yacht harbour in front of the opera house where you will find your ship. When Tecla arrives back into Reykjavik, she is more likely to be in the Old Harbour. Both are next to each other and within walking distance, you can get a bus or taxi right to the boat.

Joining location for Blue Clipper is likely to be similar to the map below.

Any changes will be communicated to you before your voyage start date. Make sure you make a note of the ship’s number found in your confirmation email in case of any problems on the day.

Kit List

Kit List for Tecla 

THIS IS TECLA standard voyage kit list. Specialist Antarctic kit list to follow shortly

Included

  • Sailing instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to including refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet, pillows and towels. 

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from the start and end port. 
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore
  • Meals ashore
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Personal towels

 

What to bring

There is limited storage space on Tecla so please pack all you belongings in a soft rucksack or bag.

  • Footwear: Shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. (Sandals are great for beaches but you do need toe protection for sailing). Tecla has steel decks so waterproof walking boots are fine at sea in moderate winds and dry conditions and great for voyages where you might do some rough terrain walking like Iceland and Scotland. 
  • Rubber Boots or second pair of shoes for wet weather or getting in/out of dinghies. 
  • Swim suit & beach towel
  • Suntan lotion & sunglasses
  • Sun hat / warm hat, scarves, gloves
  • Clothes that dry quickly like fleeces and thermals. Mix of warm, waterproof & windproof layers. Wool jumpers are warm, even when wet, but can take a while to dry. Merino wool type shirts are good for under layers.
  • Small rucksack for going ashore
  • Travel insurance documents/any travel tickets
  • Personal medicines/ spectacles/ seasick tablets –check which brand if you suffer from asthma or are on regular medication.
  • Camera/binoculars etc
  • Modest quantity of alcohol for evening meals
  • You are welcome to bring musical instruments

 

Review

What did you enjoy the most? Very difficult to separate out the various events but certainly the fjord voyage was better due to the increased variety of the programme. What was the worst bit? A shore-to-ship rib transfer in rough and windy conditions. Why do you sail? Freedom, adventure, commonality of purpose. Summary of the voyage. Any initial doubts as to the number and experience of the crew were very quickly dispelled and we were impressed with the knowledge and the handling skills of the skipper and the 2 mates. Every opportunity was taken to enhance our enjoyment on both voyages and at every stage we were made to feel relaxed and under no obligation to crew the ship under sometimes testing (but enjoyable) conditions. As an observation, we must congratulate the skipper for her culinary skills under difficult conditions..........the food was perfect for the voyage. Two voyages on Tecla Spring 2019
This was a great voyage.  A great mix of sailing in Scottish waters, some super hikes and an opportunity to see some of the immensely important historical sites in the Orkneys and Sheltands.  Mooring alongside in Fair Isle was a great privilege.  The ocean passage to the Faroes was quiet but as a result we were blessed with clear skies whilst slinking in and out of the islands and some of the best coastal views one could hope to see anywhere.  The ocean passage to Iceland was a bit of a bimble until we were 60 miles off and then it got exciting.  Thanks to a great skipper and permanent crew we snuggled into a fjord whilst the cruise ship ran aground in Reykjavik harbour.  A good holiday, an adventure and fun. K Barker, Tecla Ullapool to Reykjavik, May 2018
What was the best bit? Sailing under the Skye Bridge on a windy, sunny morning. .. What was the worst bit? Being sea sick on the first day, but I can't blame the boat or the crew for that - just the stormy weather. Why do you sail? I have never sailed before, this was a 'give it a try' holiday - it hasn't put me off doing it again sometime Any other comments An enjoyable week in less than ideal weather conditions. The crew was competent and friendly, the catering excellent - I wouldn't hesitate to recommend a voyage on Tecla." Jonathan E. Sailing in Scotland
"Brilliant, I would do it again tomorrow. And good value too. Food was excellent. I loved the spicy meat balls and my wife loved the fresh langoustines." Steve.
The voyage was " a delight. A competent and engaging professional crew, an interesting voyage with some challenges and some great rewards. Good companions to make the log spin around." Mike
What aspects did you enjoy most? "The sailing from Faroes isles to Iceland in perfect weather." What aspects did you enjoy least? "cannot answer this question as enjoyed every single moment"  If you could sum up the trip? "It was my first voyage. I just thought I like being out, I like being active, and I like the sea, so I will have a look at sailing.  After that marvellous experience I will certainly continue." Annon feedback form  May 2015
Sailed on Tecla to St Kilda in June - amazing crew (Gijs, Janet, Barbara) and great company. I loved everything about the trip and strongly recommend to join the Tecla folks. Most enjoyable classic sailing with great food, true sense of teamwork, great guidance and good sense of humour. Can't get any better." Cheers, Thomas M.
"Best Experience Ever (5 stars for sailing, crew and food) " David on TC28/04/14
I sailed aboard Tecla from Oban to the Scillies in very early May. It was cold, wet and mostly pretty windy. It was thoroughly excellent. The Tecla is a great little ship, but it was the skipper and crew (paid and "trainees") that made it for me. Great job, thanks guys. I plan to come again. Steve W
I‘d never been sailing in Iceland or on Tecla so this was a double first for me. What I like about remote places is that the people you meet are welcoming and pleased to see you. They seem to be secure in their communities and proud of where they live. In 8 days in Iceland I only saw one policeman very very briefly. Not at the airport but following us for about 30 seconds in a police car in Reykjavik. Was it cold in Iceland, Yes and No, on arrival there was no need for more than 2 layers on top and one below. But later when sailing and the wind picked up from the north it did require 5 top layers and 2 below but we were less than 30 miles from the Arctic Circle!  Overall I really enjoyed the voyage and the wildlife. Adam Purser June 2018

Vessel Gallery

Globe trotting Tall Ship Tecla in action and images. This historic gaff ketch is our Iceland Specialist and also has Greenland Sailing Expeditions. Photos from Classic Sailing customers, ships crew and professional photographers. We hope it gives a flavour of her sailing, life on board, the people that come, her beautiful sailing grounds and what it is like to live below decks.

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