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The Inner Hebrides in Summer: from Mallaig to Oban

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Sat 12-08-2023, 14:00Mallaig, Scotland Sun 20-08-2023, 10:00Oban, Scotland Provident 8 NightsPV120823

An 8-night trip allowing plenty of time to make passage from Mallaig to Oban, exploring some of the delights of the Inner Hebrides along the way.

Stops at Canna, with its seabird colonies, as well as the islands of Rum and Coll, and the West Coast of the Isle of Mull would all be on the cards. Weather permitting Provident would also sail into Loch Na Keal, where any budding Munro baggers can climb Ben More, often known as the ‘Last Munro’. Because of its inaccessibility, many ‘baggers’ leave it until after they have climbed all the other 283… travelling by ship does have its advantages! For the less intrepid, the island of Ulva has gentle woodland walks and an excellent cafe. Further on towards Oban, sightings of sea eagles and otters are far from unheard of.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

Ideal Voyage for …..

Explorers who enjoy hard-to-reach and little-known places

Birdwatchers and wildlife lovers

Anyone keen for some traditional sailing in relatively sheltered waters


  • Stunning scenery
  • Exploring ashore
  • The ‘Last Munro’
  • Easy travel planning, with great transport links to both Mallaig and Oban


Vessel type / Rig Gaff Ketch
Guest Berths 8
Beam 18ft
Draft 9.2ft
Deck Length 70ft
Overall Length 92ft
Tonnage 85 tons
Year Built 1924
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

Sound of mull


Embarking in Mallaig

Mallaig, at the terminus of the West Highland railway, is known as the ‘Road to the Isles’ for its fantastic positioning as a base from which to explore Skye and the rest of the Hebrides. The views here are stunning, across Loch Nevis to Knoydart.

We’d recommend arriving in good time to explore this beautiful fishing town, maybe jumping aboard the Jacobite steam train which operates in the summer months between Mallaig and Fort William.

Once on board you’ll enjoy a familiarisation from the crew before setting sail. Starting from Mallaig, the choices of places to visit are endless if you love natural beauty, tranquility and harnessing the winds to sail properly.. The Small Isles of Rum, Canna, Muck and Eigg can be seen across the water, Skye is a few miles to the west, the remote Knoydart peninsula is on our doorstep and the beautiful Inner Hebrides lie further south on our way to Oban. 

sea eagle territory near mull
sea eagle

Why we love Skye

The largest and furthest North of the Inner Hebrides, Skye is a popular destination for hikers, historians and wildlife lovers alike. Famous for its stunning scenery and 12 munros (peaks above 3000 ft), the island offers fantastic walking, and the chance to spot otters, seals, whales, dolphins, red deer, sea eagles and more.

Sailing to and around Skye allows you to experience the wild beauty of the island, straying off the tourist trail and finding seclusion in hard to reach places.

Skye’s history is there for all to see, stretching back to ancient times. From the dinosaur footprints on the shore at Staffin, to Pictish round towers built over 2000 years ago, and the 12th century clan stronghold of Dunvegan Castle (the oldest inhabited castle in Scotland).

Sailing voyages will always include opportunities to explore ashore and discover this history for yourself. As a means of visiting Skye, traditional sailing has the added advantage of complete immersion in the landscape, often out of site of human influence. This landscape was the same that was gazed upon by everyone from the Picts and forcibly cleared peasants to the chiefs of Clans MacLeod and MacDonald. Waking up to the rugged coastline each morning, you feel a newfound respect and kinship with the people who’ve been surviving up here for thousands of years.

Other Wonderful Places You’ll Visit

Sailing from Mallaig provides the opportunity to visit some of the Northern sea lochs, such as Lochs Nevis and Hourn with their dramatic landscapes, and stretches of the mainland coast that are otherwise near impossible to reach. The Knoydart peninsula, one of Scotland’s great wildernesses, has no access roads at all, and so is only accessible by boat. If you’re lucky a sailing voyage may include a stop off at the Old Forge in Inverie, the most remote pub in Britain.

explore the hebrides aboard provident

The whole of the Inner Hebrides will be your playground for this voyage, and the possibilities are endless. 

Beautiful unspoilt beaches, abundant wildlife and wild landscapes greet you. Step ashore on the shores of Colonsay or visit the Whisky distilleries of Jura or Islay. Great anchorages and beautiful sailing grounds through the Sound of Mull and down the coastline south of Ardnamurchan point.

If you sail around the outside of Mull there are some great fine weather anchorages where you will have the beauty to yourself. You might visit the abbey at Iona or take the dinghy ashore at Fingals Cave on Staffa.

Disembarking in Oban

The unofficial capital of the West Highlands, Oban’s transport links make onward planning nice and straightforward.. There are good rail links and some of the most glorious landscapes to pass through en route home again. Standard disembarkation time for Provident is 10am, so following a hearty breakfast you can have time to explore ashore before making your onward journey.


Mostly flat seas between the islands with some more exposed stretches. Expect a real mixture of conditions, as things can change quickly, but the crew are incredibly knowledgeable and familiar with all the sheltered anchorages and hiding places around the islands. The itinerary is kept loose to make the most of the conditions at the time, and the focus is on enjoyment, rather than ticking off any particular destinations. 


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.


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.


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

Mallaig, Scotland

Mallaig is easy to get to by train. (Many fans of Harry Potter may be on the train!) It is a very scenic train line and the viaduct featured in the Harry Potter series, Glenfinnan Viaduct, is in fact the first mass concrete bridge constructed in the UK by Robert McAlpine & Sons and opened in 1901.

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

Provident - Kit List

What is Included:

  • Bedding
  • All meals and soft drinks aboard.
  • All safety equipment, including lifejackets
  • Fantastic sailing

What is Not Included:

  • Travel to and from your voyage
  • Personal travel insurance.
  • Alcohol (although reasonably priced wine, beer and whisky will be available to purchase on board). Consumption of alcohol is always at the discretion of the skipper
  • Waterproofs - If this is your first voyage good walking waterproofs will be fine. We only recommend buying sailing waterproofs if you are frequent sailors.
    • You will find exploring ashore in walking gear much better than struggling around in sailing kit!

What to Bring

  • Enthusiasm!
  • Waterproofs - see above.
  • Your own towel.
  • Hats for sun and cold weather.
  • At least two sets of warm clothes - layers e.g. tracksuit bottoms, shirts, fleece jacket, wool jumpers, thick socks, and neck scarf. It can get cold at sea even in mid summer.
  • Swim suit, towel, and suntan lotion.
  • Flat shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. Sailing boots or wellies are also helpful.
  • (An alterative to boots in summer is to bring another pair of flat shoes with a good grip in case the first pair get wet).
  • All terrain type Sandals are great for dinghy trips ashore – but you do need shoes which protect your toes for sailing.
  • Camera, binoculars, sketchbook, a relaxing read.
  • Any medication, spare spectacles. Seasickness tablets or pressure-point wrist bands (talk to your pharmacist)
  • Your own logbook if you'd like to keep track of your sea miles
  • Tech chargers (USB sockets are available in all the cabins) and waterproof cases for anything valuable


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