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One of Scotland’s Most Remote Treasures

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Thu 15-06-2023, 10:00Mallaig, Scotland Thu 22-06-2023, 12:00Mallaig, Scotland Leader 7 NightsLD150623

St Kilda is an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean, and while the last islanders left almost 100 years ago, it is currently home to nearly 1 million seabirds – including the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic puffins. One of very few places in the world to be recognised internationally for both its natural and cultural qualities as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Ideal Voyage for…

Anyone keen to see how people lived in the old days, they weren’t all good. Watch the Gannets as they circle their huge colonies and dive into the cold green sea.

If you are looking for remoteness then you can’t get any further away from the mainland if you tried.


  • Potential for night sailing
  • Chance to see the Arora
  • Visit the Museum on St Kilda
  • Step back in time
  • Walk up to to the col, or the Gap as it was known to the St Kildans, to view the bird colonies.
  • Explore other Outer Hebrides Island on the way there and back


Vessel type / Rig Gaff Ketch
Guest Berths 12
Beam 19ft
Draft 10.5ft
Deck Length 80ft
Overall Length 97ft
Tonnage 108 tons
Year Built 1892
More about the Vessel

Voyage Description

St Kilda on the Horizon


Embarking From Mallaig

Joining the ship in the thriving port of Mallaig, if you’re able to, we recommend arriving early and making the most of the chance to explore this beautiful fishing town! Maybe jumping aboard the Jacobite team train which operates in the summer months between Mallaig and Fort William. 

An you embark on your voyage, keep your eyes peeled – a pod of Orca are often spotted off Mallaig and the entrance to Loch Nevis – no doubt using the Scottish fishing fleet to help round up their supper!

St Kilda as a Sailing Destination

Your destination, 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 en 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. 

St Kilda is a wonderful archipelago of islands and one of Scotland’s remotest treasures. Clues to the St Kilda way of life still remain, carefully maintained by the National Trust for Scotland. There is a huge gannet colony and even more puffins. In midsummer it barely gets dark in June and given clear skies and a soft breeze a night time sail to St Kilda is utterly magical.

St Kilda is remote, you can feel the sense of isolation the past inhabitants lived with all their lives. 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 their 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. You won’t have to worry about that though, aboard the beautifully restored Brixham Trawler, Leader!

Sailing to St Kilda with Classic Sailing

Brixham Trawler Leader

Leader is an 1892 Brixham Trawler, one of the oldest National Historic Ships still operating in the UK. The crew on Leader are passionate about teaching and sharing their love for maritime heritage with anyone who joins them on board. You can expect to learn a lot, while enjoying fantastic sailing in great company.

Having had a long career sailing on the South Coast of England, and with a huge following of fans who’ve previously sailed aboard, it’s lovely to see Leader settling in to her new home to continue this brilliant work.


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: A Captivating Coastal Retreat


Nestled on the picturesque shores of the West Highlands in Scotland, Mallaig is a charming coastal village that offers a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and warm hospitality, Mallaig is an idyllic destination for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike.


As you arrive in Mallaig, you’ll be greeted by stunning vistas of rugged mountains, pristine beaches, and sparkling azure waters. The village itself is a quaint and welcoming place, known for its colourful fishing boats and charming harbour. Take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, soak in the tranquil atmosphere, and savour the freshest seafood delights at one of the local eateries.


Explore the surrounding area and discover the natural wonders that Mallaig has to offer. Hike through the majestic Glenfinnan Viaduct, famous for its appearance in the Harry Potter films, or embark on a boat trip to the remote and breathtakingly beautiful Knoydart Peninsula. Wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled to spot seals, dolphins, and a variety of seabirds on their excursions.

Getting to Mallaig is a breeze, with various transportation options available. From Scotland, you can travel by train on the scenic West Highland Line, which connects Mallaig to Glasgow and Fort William. The train journey itself is a treat, offering spectacular views of mountains, lochs, and glens along the way. You can also have some fun on the Hogwarts Express from Fort William to Mallaig, properly known as the Jacobite Steam train.

If you’re coming from southern England, you can reach Mallaig by car via the A82 and A830 roads. The drive takes you through some of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes, including the majestic Loch Lomond and the awe-inspiring Glen Coe.

For those preferring to fly, the nearest airports to Mallaig are Inverness Airport and Glasgow Airport. From there, you can hire a car or take a train to complete your journey to Mallaig.

By selecting sustainable travel options and actively participating in carbon offset initiatives, you can make a positive impact while journeying to your voyage, where an unforgettable adventure awaits you. So pack your bags, get ready to travel and join your adventure in Mallaig.

Kit List

What to pack for a sailing holiday on Leader

What is Included:

  • All meals and soft drinks aboard
  • All safety equipment, including lifejackets. Please don't bring your own lifejacket, as it may not comply with Leader's commercial safety standards.
  • Your bunk, a sheet, blanket and pillow (but you WILL NEED A SLEEPING BAG)

What is Not Included:

  • Travel to and from your voyage
  • Personal travel insurance (see our advice on Travel Insurance)
  • Alcohol- you can bring a moderate amount with you if you wish- consumption is always at the discretion of the Skipper, and is never permitted whilst the ship is underway.
  • Waterproofs - If this is your first voyage, good walking waterproofs will be fine. We only recommend buying sailing waterproofs if you are frequent sailors. If you don't have a waterproof jacket and / or trousers, do let us know. Leader has some sets that can be borrowed but only if arranged in advance.

What to Bring

  • Please, no valuable jewellery or other valuables, unless you have got specific travel insurance to cover it.
  • Waterproofs - see above.
  • A sleeping bag and 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 and suntan lotion.
  • Flat shoes with a good grip e.g. trainers or sailing deck shoes. Sailing boots or wellies are also helpful.
  • A small amount of cash for jaunts ashore.
  • 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, a musical instrument...
  • 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 bunks) and waterproof cases for any electronics. A rechargeable battery pack for your phone / camera can be really helpful, as the power supply on board is not 24 hours.

N.B. BOATS HAVE LIMITED STORAGE SPACE SO PLEASE LIMIT YOURSELF TO ONE SOFT BAG OR RUCKSACK. Please don't use a rigid suitcase or a bag with a rigid frame. Soft bags are much easier to fold up and stow.

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