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Exploring St Kilda Outer Hebrides and the Shiants

Berth Type

2 Berth Ensuite Cabin Per person

Available

£2205.00

Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Tue 05-07-2022, 16:00Oban, Scotland Thu 14-07-2022, 09:00Oban, Scotland Blue Clipper 9 Nights BC050722

Exploration of the Hebrides from Oban over 9 days gives you good time to explore the Outer Hebrides. This is a fantastic opportunity to explore these enchanted islands like St Kilda the Shiants. You should be able to sail to the outer Hebrides and for Bara, Mingulay and for those in the know Vatersay and Barra. There is always another amazing view around the next headland or appearing from behind a nearby island.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

IDEAL VOYAGE FOR…

A voyage to discover the islands of the Inner and Outer Hebrides of Scotland, Mingulay, Lewis or Harris could be visited, certainly some of them if not all of them.

Please note the Puffin image is likely to be bigger than life size on a laptop!

VOYAGE HIGHLIGHTS

  • 9 day Adventure Sailing in Scotland
  • Sailing to the Outer Hebrides
  • St Kilda weather permitting
  • Sea bird life spectacular
  • Maybe the Shiants?
  • Sailing in the Hebridean Sea
  • This voyage begins and ends in Oban

Blue Clipper

Vessel type / Rig Gaff Schooner
Guest Berths 18
Beam 24ft
Draft 13ft
Deck Length 104ft
Overall Length 144ft
Year Built 1991
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

Sail on Tall Ship Blue Clipper aiming for St Kilda with Classic Sailing
On hirta main street, st kilda

FULL VOYAGE DESCRIPTION

Aiming for St Kilda.

St Kilda is an extraordinary island and inhabited until 29th August 1930 when the 36 islanders were evacuated to the mainland.

Any sailing voyage aiming to reach St Kilda will have to reach the Outer Hebrides first, so you have an island chain of staggering wild beauty to explore on route. These sailing voyages are adventurous expeditions leading to uninhabited islands, sparsely inhabited islands, tiny fishing villages, deep lochs and rugged cliffs that will be appealing to nature lovers and sailors alike.

Why we love St Kilda

St Kilda as a Sailing Destination

Originally settled by humans between four and five thousand years ago, St Kilda’s distance from the rest of the Outer Hebrides allowed for the development of a unique style of self-sufficient island life, that remained much preserved until the archipelago’s eventual abandonment in 1930.

Tens of thousands of birds were caught every year, especially Auks, Northern Fulmars and Northern Gannets. For food they would make dangerous climbing expeditions to catch the birds and there eggs on the incredibly steep cliffs; especially on the island sea stacks of Boreray, Stack and Stack Armin.

One hundred and eighty people lived on the islands towards the end of the 17th century but they only had 16ft boats as transport. There was not enough timber to build their own larger craft so these tiny boats regularly crossed to the Outer Hebrides and on to the mainland – a passage of the eighty miles in an open boat.

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.

Sail on Tall Ship Blue Clipper aiming for St Kilda with Classic Sailing
to get the scale ‘spot’ the three people in the photo

Turf Houses & Parliament in the Village Street

Living in St Kilda

The St. Kildians lived in houses with walls made of boulders and roofs made of turf and hay. The earliest houses had no chimneys or windows and they must have been very damp, dark and dingy to live in. In the 1830’s wood and glass were introduced into new dwellings and the old houses became stables and stores. The old feudal Celtic community of St. Kilda was gradually destroyed by the influence the Anglo Saxons from the mainland but the morning “Parliament” persisted. Every morning the men folk would meet on the Village Street and decide what had to be done that day and who would do it.

Religion

Strict Christianity had always been part of life on St Kilda and they also were responsible for the education of the children. At the start of the 20th century stone houses with sanitary facilities were introduced and an attempt was made with charity and tourism to keep the islands going; the main aim of which was to get them enough food to live on. But still the inhabitants were poverty stricken and near to starvation most of the time so that on August 29th 1930 the British government removed the last 39 inhabitants.

National Trust for Scotland

In 1957 the National Trust for Scotland became the owner and made St. Kilda a nature reserve. In 1986 St. Kilda became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Restoration

In recent years the National Trust for Scotland has restored some of the houses, the church and the school for accommodation and education on the life of St Kilda. Tourism has been encouraged in so far as it does not conflict with preserving the flora, fauna and wild life of the St Kilda Islands.

Outer Hebrides

Thirty miles off the North West coast of Scotland lie the Outer Hebrides, an idyllic chain of over 40 islands that offers spectacular coastline, stunning mountain scenery, abundant wildlife and a rich and vibrant culture. Each holds its own individual charm and rich history. The Atlantic facing coast is home to some of the finest white sandy beaches while the east coast is deeply indented with a maze of impressive lochs and anchorages.

Hirta abandoned village on St Kilda
The Village of hirta, St kilda

Other Wonderful Places you could get to

VATERSAY AND BARRA

Sitting at the southern end of the Island chain of the Outer Hebrides, Barra and Vatersay offer an exciting mix of contrasting island experiences with something on offer for every. Feel the strong sense of community created by crofters and seafarers who live side by side on these isolated islands.

Understand the importance of past on present with visits to sites such as the iconic Kisimul Castle at Castlebay on Barra or the deserted village of Eoradail on Vatersay and listen to the lessons that history has taught these Outer Hebridean islands, allowing them to adapt their existence and survive across the centuries.

View the Barra seals at Seal Bay for a stunning snapshot of the islands natural heritage or stroll amongst the wildflowers on the Vatersay machair to truly understand the allure of Outer Hebridean isolation.

ISLES OF SOUTH UIST AND ERISKAY

Experience some of the best that the islands’ outdoors has to offer at Loch Druidibeg on the West Side of South Uist. Here fans of horticulture can explore the abundance of plant life, while ornithologists can find ample opportunities for birdwatching, with chances to spot species such as redshank, dunlin, lapwing and greylag geese.

Explore the heights of the Hebrides on South Uists East Side, where hillwalking opportunities include the peaks of Hecla, Beinn Mhor, Beinn Corradale and Ben Kenneth, with gentler trails available at ground level for those wishing to explore without the exertion!

Follow in the footsteps of South Uist’s first settlers with a trip to the island’s South End, where Hebridean hospitality awaits on the shores that welcomed early incomers to the area, or cross to the connected Isle of Eriskay to learn more about these island people’s audacious endeavours.

ISLES OF NORTH UIST, BERNERAY AND GRIMSAY

Immerse yourself in this area’s inspirational offerings as you tour the East Side of North Uist, where art and environment come together in a uniquely Hebridean harmony and attractions such as the Hut of the Shadows installation or Taigh Chearsabhagh Arts Centre provide the perfect starting point for your journey of discovery, or head for the island’s West Side to discover the wonders of the wild at the Balranald RSPB reserve and the many beautiful Atlantic beaches.

Gaze out across the endless blue ocean to the abandoned islands of St Kilda and feel the pride in these islands’ past which is carried forward by those who remain here in the present; marvel at the achievements of these close communities in the face of adversity with landmarks such as Scolpaig Tower and the Committee Road standing as testament to their tenacity.

ISLE OF HARRIS

The outer Hebridean island of Harris is one that has offered inspiration for generations. With its rich traditions, stunning shifting scenery and strong sense of community. Harris offers a unique introduction to island life on the edge. Visit the village of Tarbert, home to the Harris Tweed Shop and the recently opened Isle of Harris Distillery.

Gaze out across the West Harris sands to the famous uninhabited Castaway island of Taransay and experience a glimpse of the isolation from which the proud self-sufficent communities of the Outer Hebrides were born, or tour the adjoining Isle of Scalpay with its strong seafaring connections to understand more about the symbiosis of islanders and ocean.

Standing Stones at Callanish on Lewis
Standing Stones at Callanish on Lewis

ISLE OF LEWIS

The largest of the Outer Hebrides, Lewis offers amazing opportunities to explore all the elements life on the edge in the Atlantic Ocean – with history, heritage, wilderness, wildlife, arts and crafts.

See the ancient Callanish Standing Stones rising from the Lewis landscape to give an imposing outline against the endless island skies and hear the echoes of the past murmuring round these monoliths – an eternal testament to islanders enduring spirit and ingenuity.

Explore the sea caves and stacks at Garry Beach to better understand how the relentless seas have shaped the island environment and the lifestyles of those who live here.

WINDS, WAVES & WEATHER

Mostly flat seas between the islands with some more exposed dashes or longer sails in open water to St Kilda and to the Outer Hebrides.

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 01326 53 1234 and we can chat through your concerns and possibly find options that might suit you better.

 
 

Start & End Port

Oban, Scotland

For joining your vessel in Oban, the North Pier in the map shown below will be the best place to meet the crew. Your vessel will either be tied up alongside the wall, or out at anchor. Make sure you take a note of the ship’s number found in your confirmation in case of any problems on the day.

Kit List

 Included

  • Sailing Instruction 
  • Safety Equipment (Life jackets and harnesses)
  • All meals to include cooked breakfast, lunch, two course evening dinner and refreshments throughout the day.
  • Bed linen, duvet 

What is Not Included

  • Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Towels
  • Travel to and from the start and end port
  • Optional trips or tours taken ashore unless otherwise stated
  • Alcoholic Beverages , but there is a TAB system onboard so you can purchase drinks from the bar. 

What to Bring

In Europe, on transatlantic trips or in the Arctic warm and waterproof clothing is very important, as it can get very cold during sailing, especially at night, even in the summer. A waterproof and windproof jacket is recommended to help keep warm and dry. Waterproof rubber soled boots or shoes are also recommended to keep your feet dry and warm. It is a good idea to bring two pairs of shoes in case one gets wet!

In the Caribbean or on ocean passages in the tropics, then a lighter waterproof jacket should be fine. Waterproof trousers are probably not needed if you have several pairs of shorts. You can get occasional torrential rain in the Caribbean but it is short lived and clothes dry quickly (if it is only rain water on them and not a large dollop of salt water). 

Please remember that space on board is limited and pack accordingly. Pack comfortable and practical clothing for all weather circumstances, the key is layers!! It is recommended to pack in a soft bag that can be easily stored away as there is no room on board for suitcases. Electricity on board is European 2 pin sockets, please be sure to bring any adaptors you may need. 

LAUNDRY

We are able to do laundry on longer passages, depending on the sea conditions. If you would like to do laundry on board please speak to the hospitality manager or stewardess on board. The fee for laundry service is £5 per load. Please note that the ship's operators do not accept liability for damage to clothing caused by this service.

Passports, Visas and Insurance

If you voyage is sailing in foreign waters, you will require a full passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the end of the voyage. You will be responsible for obtaining any necessary visas.

We have Third Party Liability Insurance and recommend all those sailing with us to take out relevant travel insurance to cover their voyage. 

Medical Conditions and Special Diets

Please inform us in advance of any medical conditions you have and medication which you might need to bring with you. If you have any special dietary requirements it is essential you inform us prior to your voyage. We will make every effort to cater for all diets with prior notice.

Personal Items

This is a list of the items we recommend you bring with you.

  • Warm hat and gloves (or sun hat and very good sunglasses for Caribbean)
  • Wet weather clothing – waterproof and windproof jacket and trousers for Europe.  (Caribbean - a waterproof jacket for occasional tropical downpours)
  • Clothing – enough clothing for all weather circumstances (think layers for Europe or cotton for tropics)
  • In Caribbean you might need long sleeves and trousers against sunburn or mosquitos ashore in evening (or a good repellant).
  • Trainers or deck shoes (2 pairs handy if not bringing boots)
  • Toiletries
  • Towels
  • Sun cream
  • Sunglasses
  • Sea sickness medication
  • Personal medication
  • Book
  • Small torch (head torches are good!)
  • Camera
  • Binoculars
  • Log book (if you have one)
  • Valid passport (voyages outside the UK)
  • Travel insurance

Review

Blue Clipper - Customer Comments

Excellent!

What did you think of the safety briefing?

Excellent

 

What did you think of the accommodation onboard?

Excellent

 

Did you have enough personal attention?

Excellent

 

Did you think of the Captain/Skipper and the paid crew?

Excellent

 

What did you think of the food quality?

Excellent

 

How was the sailing?

Just right

 

Did you have any rough weather?

Some

 

Did you feel the voyage had?

A good mix of sailing and ashore.

 

What was the best bit?

The first 2 days in F 5-6 & getting 12 knots in parts

 

What was the worst bit?

I can't think of any worst bits, it was all brilliant

 

Why do you sail? It really helps us to know your specific reasons.

It's just great fun

 

Any other comments

Looking forward to another trip sometime

By Dave 

More Adventurous than Visiting Tourist Traps

What did you think of the safety briefing?

Excellent

 

What did you think of the accommodation onboard?

Excellent

 

Did you have enough personal attention?

Excellent

 

Did you think of the Captain/Skipper and the paid crew?

Excellent

 

What did you think of the food quality?

Excellent

 

How was the sailing?

Just right

 

Did you have any rough weather?

Some

 

Did you feel the voyage had?

A good mix of sailing and ashore.

 

What was the best bit?

Seeing whales, exploring the tiny fishing towns of northern Iceland or visiting the Faroes

 

What was the worst bit?

Got a tad seasick

 

Why do you sail? It really helps us to know your specific reasons.

I enjoy doing something a bit different and more adventurous than the usual tourist traps when I'm travelling

Thanks Charlotte B for the feedback! Summer 2019

 

Guest Photo feedback from Liverpool to Ullapool trip 2019
Guest Photo feedback from Liverpool to Ullapool trip 2019
Shiant Islands

What was the best bit?

The views generally, but views of Scottish islands in the sun and /or covered in dramatic clouds were spectacular. The Shiant islands were an amazing place to stop and get off the boat (careful not to disturb the birds though). Another highlight was dolphins swimming alongside. The crew were wonderful.

 

What was the worst bit?

Finishing the voyage and heading home. - voyage feedback from Liverpool to Ullapool 2019

Scottish Islands
Spotting an Orca!

Over the first couple of days we got to go out onto the bowsprit with a member of the crew. It was wonderful to sit there and watch the sea stretch for miles ahead, and see the whole boat behind us. The best bit came a few days later when I got to go out on the bowsprit again but this time to help bring down some sails. The seas were a little choppier this time round, but wrestling the jibs against the winds was truly exhilarating!

Best bit? Spotting an Orca on the 4am watch, off the coast of Ireland. Plenty of dolphins, and my first great skua. The last day was a fantastic sail, beautiful weather, perfect conditions, (we had an awful lot of rain) The crew were super; friendly, supportive, good fun, and professional. They obviously get on well together, which makes a huge difference. They were particularly helpful in an unobtrusive way, bearing in mind that I have one arm. I can't praise them highly enough - guest crew from Liverpool to Scotland 2019. 

Remote Islands

I sailed this time because I never had and wanted to try something new. When I was 11 I had read Swallows and Amazons and had become a little obsessed with the idea of sailing, but I couldn't sail then. So part of me wanted to give my 11 year old self a gift! I will be sailing more now that I've experienced it. In particular I enjoyed the large amounts of learning on board the vessel. I loved learning about knots, the weather, the stars, course plotting, the different lines and sails. I also like the idea of visiting remote islands, and sailing seems like a good way to do that over the next couple of years. Visiting the Pacific Islands would be particularly exciting! Ludo T 30 March 2019

Guiness - Whisky

I thoroughly enjoyed the voyage with Steve, Emma and their crew. We were well looked after, the cabins were warm, the beds comfortable, the food was great. Particularly Emma was very keen to get us involved and to increase our boating/sailing knowledge. the hospitality was phenomenal. The boat is clearly well looked after and the crew function well as a team. they went out of their way to teach us Gaelic, Scottish songs (much appreciated!) and organise day trips on land. Victoria Janes (Guinness – Whisky TS Blue Clipper)

Crew were amazing!

Just a quick note to say that myself and Marika really enjoyed our trip. The staff were amazing so please do pass on my thanks especially to Ezmay for her amazing food (although have gone up about two dress sizes in about a week!) and to the two Kats and Katie who really looked after us. The scenery was also out of this world. – Vicky Adnitt (Guinness – Whisky TS Blue Clipper)

Blue Clipper on the horizon
Blue Clipper on the horizon

Thank you for providing one of the best experiences of my life. It was too short, guess I will need to do more voyages. - (J Whistler, 2018)

Best bits: Taking the helm and holding the ship to the wind as we ripped along. Working with ropes and being part of a team. (M Lewis)

 

What was the best bit?

It's hard to choose one best part as it was a wonderful trip with a lovely crew. But if pushed I would say going out on the bow sprit with the sun shining and the turquoise sea below my feet - definitely the best place be when sailing.

What was the worst bit?

Discovering for the first time in my life that I do actually suffer from seasickness. Boooo

Why do you sail?

I sail primarily to see the world in a different way, to slow down and arrive in ports they way they are intended to be seen. I like going to parts of the world not primarily to sit around, but to be active and for the journey to be as important (or more important) than the destination. And to sail tallships is always to be smug about arriving on the best vessel in the bay :)" - Jan B - Caribbean voyage

Blue Clipper in the sunset by Jan Broderick - Guest crew in the Caribbean
Blue Clipper in the sunset by Jan Broderick - Guest crew in the Caribbean

Vessel Gallery

Three masted schooner Blue Clipper in action. 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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