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Sailing in the Stunning Hebrides

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Embark Disembark Vessel DurationVoyage No
Wed 24-05-2023, 14:00Oban, Scotland Thu 01-06-2023, 10:00Oban, Scotland Provident 8 NightsPV240523

By the end of May the Inner Hebrides are alive with seabirds regrouping after a winter at sea. While including all the usual delights of Provident’s Hebridean cruising, this trip also focuses on bird watching. Canna for the puffins and guillemots, Rum for the manx shearwaters, Treshnish for fulmars, storm petrels and razorbills. Great skua flypasts and the chance of a sea eagle….oh, and some fantastic sailing to boot.

  • Voyage
  • Vessel

Ideal Voyage for …..

Seabird and scenery lovers

Anyone keen for some traditional sailing in relatively sheltered waters


  • Stunning scenery
  • Puffins and other seabirds galore
  • Exploring ashore
  • Easy travel planning, with a round trip and great transport links to 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

Fingal's Cave Staffa CC BY-SA 3.0,
Fingals cave on staffa


Embarking in Oban

The unofficial capital of the West Highlands, Oban’s transport links make travel planning nice and straightforward, and there are some glorious landscapes to travel through en route to join the ship. We’d recommend arriving early to explore the town, perhaps visiting McCaig’s Folly with its stunning views across the bay, or nip into the distillery for a bottle to share with your fellow sailors.

Once on board you’ll enjoy a familiarisation from the crew before setting sail. It is only a few miles of open water before you are sailing in the Sound of Mull which has high mountains on either side and mostly flat water. 

There are some stunning anchorages on the Atlantic side if conditions allow. Look out for otters and sea eagles, the perfect way to wrap up your first day on board!

Sail on Maybe in search of puffins
canna is home to a huge puffin colony

Ornithologists delight in May

By the end of May the seabirds have arrived and the islands are alive with birds getting back together after their winter at sea. This trip will visit the seabird colonies and so there will be plenty of time ashore.

We will aim for Canna and the puffins and guillemots; the manx shearwater colony on Rum. The main Treshnish island is a bird reserve with fulmar, manx shearwater, storm petrel, puffin, guillemot and razorbills all breeding on the island. Great Skua are relatively commonly seen and gannets fly past the boat – although their breeding grounds are further north.

Sea eagle nests are a closely guarded secret but we have a few friends in the know!

Lots to Explore

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. Great anchorages and beautiful sailing grounds through the Sound of Mull and up the coastline towards Ardnamurchan point. You might visit the abbey at Iona or take the dinghy ashore at Fingals Cave on Staffa.

There are lovely walks ashore to be had, such as the hill on Eigg with its beautiful views, and the Treshnish Islands are a paradise for birdwatchers (as is the huge puffin colony on Canna). Coll and Rum are also possible islands to explore ashore.

The history of these islands is there for all to see too, stretching back to ancient times. From the dinosaur footprints on the shoreline, to Pictish round towers built over 2000 years ago.

Sailing voyages will always include opportunities to explore ashore and discover this history for yourself. As a means of visiting these islands, 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 right up to the clan chiefs. 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.

adjusting the headsails


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

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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